These 6 Titles Just Scored A Major Honor From We Need Diverse Books

by Kerri Jarema

The literary non-profit We Need Diverse Books has announced the winners and honorees of the fourth annual Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children's Literature, and if you haven't read them yet you're going to want to add them to your 2019 to-be-read pile immediately. The Walter Dean Myers Award, also known as “The Walter,” is named for prolific children’s and young adult author Walter Dean Myers — writer of classic children's books including Monster — who was an early champion of diversity in children's books.

It's only fitting, then, that this year's award winners and honorees deal with some of the biggest issues of our time: the refugee crisis, police brutality and the killing of unarmed Black people, life as an Latinx-American in the age of the immigration crisis, mental health, and more.

WNDB will also be donating a minimum of 2,000 copies of each of the 2019 Walter Award-winning titles, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo and Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, to schools with limited budgets across the United States, helping to insure that these crucial books get into the hands of the kids who need them most.

The Walter Awards Ceremony will be held Friday, March 29, 2019, in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. The event will be free to the public. To find out more info on how to RSVP, check out We Need Diverse Books on Twitter. But you don't have to wait until March to start reading all of the winning books. Check out more details on each title below:

2019 Walter Award, Teen Category: 'The Poet X' by Elizabeth Acevedo

When young Afro-Latina Xiomara discovers spoken word poetry, she uses it to cope with life in her Harlem neighborhood, and to begin understanding her complicated relationship with her strict religious mother.

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2019 Walter Honors, Teen Category: 'Monday’s Not Coming' by Tiffany Jackson

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. Why is Claudia the only one who cares?

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2019 Walter Honors, Teen Category: 'The Astonishing Color of After' by Emily X.R. Pan

When Leigh travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time after her mother's death by suicide, she chases after ghosts and uncovers family secrets to forge a new relationship with her grandparents.

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2019 Walter Award, Younger Readers Category: 'Ghost Boys' by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the aftermath.

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2019 Walter Honors, Younger Readers Category: 'They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems' by David Bowles

Twelve-year-old Güero is Mexican-American, at home with Spanish or English and on both sides of the river. Life is tough for a border kid, but Güero figures out how to cope through poetry.

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2019 Walter Award, Younger Readers Category: 'The Night Diary' by Veera Hiranandani

The Night Diary is set in 1947 after India secures its independence from British rule. It follows half-Muslim, half-Hindu Nisha and her family as they attempt to escape the violence between Muslims and Hindus in Pakistan.

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