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Announcing the 2022 Walter Award Winners and Honorees!

The​ ​We​ ​Need​ ​Diverse​ ​Books​ ​Walter​ ​Awards​ ​Judging​ ​Committee​ ​has​ ​selected​ ​the​ ​Winners​ ​and Honorees​ ​for​ ​the​ seventh​ ​annual​ ​Walter​ ​Dean​ ​Myers​ ​Awards​ ​for​ ​Outstanding​ ​Children’s​ ​Literature.

The ​Awards​ ​comprise two​ ​categories:​ ​Teen​ ​(​ages​ ​13-18​)​ ​and​ ​Younger​ ​Readers​ ​(​ages 9-13​).​ ​One Winner​ and two Honor Books ​in​ each ​category​ ​have​ ​been​ ​named.

2022​ ​Walter​ ​Award,​ ​Teen​ ​Category

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Henry Holt and Co.)

2022 ​Walter​ ​Honors,​ ​Teen​ ​Category

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (Dutton Books for Young Readers)

Revolution in Our Time by Kekla Magoon (Candlewick)

2022 ​Walter​ ​Award,​ ​Younger​ ​Readers​ ​Category

Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca (Quill Tree Books)

2022 ​Walter​ ​Honors,​ ​Younger​ ​Readers​ ​Category

Borders by Thomas King and illustrated by Natasha Donovan (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Root Magic by Eden Royce (Walden Pond Press)

The​ ​Walter​ ​Dean​ ​Myers​ ​Award,​ ​also​ ​known​ ​as​ ​“The​ ​Walter,”​ ​is​ ​named​ ​for​ ​prolific​ ​children’s​ ​and young​ ​adult​ ​author​ ​Walter​ ​Dean​ ​Myers​ ​(1937-2014).​ ​Myers​ ​was​ ​the​ ​third​ ​National​ ​Ambassador for​ ​Young​ ​People’s​ ​Literature,​ ​appointed​ ​in​ ​2012​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Library​ ​of​ ​Congress.​ ​He​ ​was​ ​a​ ​champion of​ ​diversity​ ​in​ ​children’s​ ​books.​ ​The​ ​Walter​ ​Awards​ commemorate ​Myers’​ ​memory​ ​and​ ​his​ literary legacy,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​celebrate​ ​diversity​ ​in​ ​children’s​ ​literature.

The​ ​seventh annual Walter Awards ​will​ ​be​ ​held on ​Friday,​ ​March​ ​11,​ ​2022. The two-part event will include a symposium on children’s literature followed by the awards ceremony. The event will be livestreamed and tentatively held in person at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. The final decision will consider the COVID-19 situation and align with recommended CDC guidelines for indoor gatherings. 

The​ ​2022 ​Walter​ ​Awards​ ​Judging​ ​Committee:​ Alicia K. Long (Committee Chair, Access Services Supervisor/Librarian, State College of Florida; Bradenton, Florida), Lindsay Hall (Library Media Specialist, Alexandria City High School; Alexandria, Virginia), Gregory Lum (Library Director, Jesuit High School; Portland, Oregon), Jennifer Bonilla (Librarian, Billy Mills Middle School; Lawrence, Kansas), J. Tyler Chadwell-English (Teen Services Librarian, Urbana Regional Library, Frederick County Public Libraries; Urbana, Maryland), Ariana Hussain (Lower School Teacher Librarian, The Blake School; Wayzata, Minnesota), Rachel L. Rickard Rebellino (Instructor, Department of Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University; Columbus, Ohio).

Seventeen Talented Creative Voices Named 2022 We Need Diverse Books Mentees

After combing through hundreds of manuscripts and portfolios for the 2022 We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Program, the committee and mentors have made their winning selections. This is the largest cohort since the inception of the Mentorship Program. To learn more about this year's cohort of mentees and the selection process, visit our website.

The reader teams also noted many remarkable applications, naming over sixty finalists across the categories. The seventeen creators selected to receive a year-long mentorship include: Alana Ladson, Ariana Padron, and Gabriela Vega (Illustration); Remi Kathawa, Ashley Murray, Jane Palmer, and Melanie Singer (Picture Book); Kris Fields, Madhuri Mukhtyar Messenger, Crystal Roget, Rita D. Russell, and Maureen Tai (Middle Grade); and Alexandra Bazrafshan, Marianna Leal, Meg Rao, Silvia Rodriguez Kembel, and Elle Zhang (Young Adult). Photos and bios of the mentees and their mentors are available online.

The We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Program has now awarded over 85 twelve-month mentorships since the first round of applications were received in 2015. Current and former recipients have gone on to publish or contract over 70 books for children and teens. Angeline Boulley, a 2019 mentee who worked with author Francisco X. Stork, sold her debut YA novel The Firekeeper’s Daughter after a 12-bidder auction. Boulley was also awarded a 2022 Walter Award in the Teen Category. Several past mentees have given back by returning as mentors in 2022, including Valerie Bolling and Olivia Aserr.

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