Some of the best writing – and therefore reading – is written for Children’s, Middle Grade and Young Adult readers: interesting, creative, lively, well-researched books.
Just Loved Reading:
Myers, Walter Dean. Bad Boy A Memoir. New York: HarperCollins, 2011.
Walter Dean Myers’ coming of age memoir about growing up in Harlem in the 1940s and 1950s captures the mood, colors, sights and sounds of that neighborhood. The book begins with his complicated family tree (he was unofficially adopted by his father’s first wife and her second husband) which he doesn’t begin to reconcile until his adolescent years, and continues with his childhood misadventures as a “bad boy.” (He was more “high-spirited” than really bad until high school.)
Myers narrates his boyhood from birth through his experiences serving in the military. Bright, athletic and gifted, he dropped out of high school only to become one of the most distinguished writers of Young Adult fiction and nonfiction.
WHY I LOVED READING THIS BOOK:
One of my favorite Young Adult writers, Walter Dean Myers narrates his birth, his complicated ancestry, and his struggles growing up black in a white society. His descriptions of Harlem make you feel the energy of the community in the 1940s and 1950s (the street musicians; the acts at the Apollo Theater; the colorful characters in the neighborhood). Myers’ narration of his and his parents’ bouts with depression and his attempts to overcome a speech impediment are touching. He doesn’t say if he ever did overcome his speech impairment but he surmounted many other obstacles.
His life spirals down during his teen years but his love of reading and writing saves his life. The book ends just as he is becoming a successful Young Adult writer.
OTHER BOOKS I READ BY WALTER DEAN MYERS (There were many but I selected these two):
The Journal of Scott Pendalton Collins: A World War II Soldier