Walter Dean Myers Best Books 📚

Walter Dean Myers has over a hundred books to his name and masterpieces like ‘What They Found’, ‘Bad Boy’, ‘Harlem’, and ‘Fallen Angels’ are some of them. But above all, he was best known for the timeless ‘Monster’.

Walter Dean Myers

(1937-2014), American

Myers was a renowned American writer known mostly for writing children’s and young adult books. A good number of his books were illustrated by his son, Christopher Myers. Let us go on a journey to his archives for some of his best books.

Fallen Angels

Walter Dean Myers won the 1988 Coretta Scott King Award, ‘Fallen Angels’ is a young-adult novel about the Vietnam War. It is a masterpiece. It is a war story originally published in 1988.

This three-hundred-and-twenty-eight-paged coming-of-age story is set in the trenches of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s. It is arguably Myers’ bestselling book. Myers ‘Fallen Angels’ tells the story of a Harlem teenager, Perry, who volunteers to serve when his college ambition fails. At the war front, he faces the horrors of war. He also tries to fully rediscover himself and questions why black military officers are assigned more dangerous missions than their counterparts.

Although ‘Fallen Angels’ has no definite film adaptation, there’s a film that tells a story similar to the one it tells. The film is titled Platoon. In ‘Fallen Angels’, the protagonist is named Richie Perry, while in Platoon, Chris Taylor is the protagonist. Both focus on the Vietnam War.


It doesn’t come as a surprise that Walter Dean Myers would have a book titled ‘Harlem’. His beloved Harlem, where he grew up in. He was born in West Virginia.

Originally published in 1997, ‘Harlem’ is a poem, a picture book, and children’s literature. Just like most of Walter Dean Myers’ illustrated books, this book’s illustrations were done by his son, Christopher Myers. The poem not only focuses on Harlem’s history, it also talks about Harlem’s present. It tells the story of how blacks migrated there to form a community. Harlem became a buzzing city after that, with many movements.

Bad Boy

Originally published on May 8, 2001, ‘Bad Boy’ is a memoir. This funny one from Walter Dean Myers about himself remains unforgettable. In ‘Bad Boy’, Walter Dean Myers tells his own story. A story about his childhood, teenage years, his years in the army, his love for and career in writing, and so on. We also get to know that he dropped the name ‘Milton’ and started answering ‘Dean’ in honor of his foster parents. We also get to know how his teacher, especially Bonnie Liebow encouraged him to write more as a way of expressing himself. Furthermore, we get to know how he always had to return to writing because he was happier writing. He also tells us how his discovery of James Baldwin’s ‘Sonny Blues’ inspired him to start writing stories from his own experiences.

What They Found

This is a collection of stories focusing mainly on love. It is a fiction published in 2007. It is also a suitable recommendation for Valentine’s season because of the collective theme that it explores. That theme is ‘love’. In one story, a lady finds a way to help her brother and her family. In another story, Letha finds beauty in loving her child. In yet another story, Curtis while struggling to stay alive in Iraq finds love. This collection of short stories shows how love can be found in the strangest of places, times, and ways.


Published in 1999, ‘Monster’ tells the story of Steve Harmon, a fourteen-year-old boy on trial for participating in a felony murder. ‘Monster’ is fictitious, but is also as real as it gets. This is because the themes it explores are timeless. It is a crime drama that focuses on justice and race, and how prejudice can infiltrate the system, affecting the administration of justice. ‘Monster’ has some film adaptations and prominent amongst them is the 2018 film, Monster. It was directed by Anthony Mandler. It tells the story of a seventeen-year-old student whose life begins to dip when he finds himself in the middle of a felony murder case as one of the accused. Just like its book counterpart, Monster (the film) is likely to remain relevant.


Which is Walter Dean Myers’ most popular poem?

Walter Dean Myers’ most popular poem is ‘Harlem’. It tells the story of how blacks moved to Harlem, New York City, and formed a formidable community. ‘Harlem,’ published in 1997 won Walter Dean Myers a Caldecott Medal.

Which of Walter Dean Myers’ books is considered his best?

Walter Dean Myers had many ‘best’ books, however, his most popular book would be ‘Fallen Angels’. It was published in 1988 and won Myers the Coretta Scott King Award in the same year. It tells a story about the Vietnam War. It is a young adult’s book and a coming-of-age story.

Apart from ‘Harlem,’ did Walter Dean Myers write other poems?

Yes, Walter Dean Myers wrote other poems, some of which are: ‘Scorpions,’ ‘Somewhere in the Darkness,’ ‘Sunrise Over Fallujah,’ ‘Harlem Summer,’ ‘Hoops,’ ‘Street Love,’ and ‘Crystal.’ He has at least twenty-one poems to his name.

Which award did ‘Monster‘ win Walter Dean Myers?

Walter Dean Myers’ masterpiece ‘Monster,’ won him the Michael L. Printz award in 2000. ‘Monster’ is timeless and tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy on trial for allegedly participating in a robbery that led to the death of Mr. Nesbitt, a middle-aged drugstore owner in Harlem.

Chioma Julie
About Chioma Julie
Chioma is a graduate of Mass Communication. With an unwavering love for music, movies and books, sometimes, she also writes to unwind.
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