Update: Myer’s publisher Sholastic Books has a released a statement on the author’s death.
Walter Dean Myers, a beloved author of children’s books, died on Tuesday following a brief illness, according to the Children’s Book Council. He was 76.
Myers’s career spanned over 45 years, during which he wrote more than 100 books. Some of his best-known work includes Monster, a fictional 1999 account of an African-American teenager on trial for a felony murder in New York, and Fallen Angels, a 1988 novel about the Vietnam War.
Myers was born in West Virginia but spent much of his teenage life in Harlem. He frequently set his fiction in there, including a picture book titled Harlem. He was also a staunch advocate for diversity in children’s literature, arguing for a wider array of representation in a March opinion piece in The NewYork Times.
“My favorite quote from Walter is a clarion call to embrace the power of books to inform and transform our lives – he said, ‘Once I began to read, I began to exist,” Richard Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO, Scholastic Inc. said in a statement. “He will be missed by us all.”
Myers published two Newbery Honor Books, three National Book Award Finalists, and six Coretta Scott King Award/Honor-winning books. In 2012, he was appointed the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and served a two-year tenure in the position.
Myers lived in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is survived by his wife and his two sons.