BETHESDA, Md. – The​ “​We​ ​Need​ ​Diverse​ ​Books​ ​Walter​ ​Awards”​ ​judging​ ​committee​ ​has​ ​selected​ ​the​ ​winners​ ​and honorees​ ​for​ ​the​ ​eighth​ ​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. 

The book “Man Made Monsters” by Cherokee Nation citizen Andrea L. Rogers and illustrated by fellow CN citizen Jeff Edwards, won the 2023 Walter Award, Teen Category.

“Man Made Monsters” features creatures such as werewolves, vampires, goat men and even ghost cats and brings them to life during important periods in Cherokee history.

Rogers, who is working on a doctorate degree in English with a focus on Native Literature at the University of Arkansas, said she worked to make sure it was clear that the stories follow a main Cherokee family with other families tying in while also bringing in some of her own family stories.

While Rogers’ written words taking readers on an adventure, Edwards also helps paint a picture while weaving in Cherokee syllabary within his illustrations for the book. She said felt “super lucky” to be able to convince Edwards to illustrate her book. 

“I mean, he got it. He got me, he got the stories. Seeing those fantastic illustrations; it blew me away,” she said. 

The​ ​Walter​ ​Awards ​Ceremony​ and Symposium ​will​ ​be​ ​held​ ​Friday,​ ​March​ ​17 ​at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C.​ ​The event will begin at 10:30 a.m., is open to the public and will be livestreamed. 

The​ ​ceremony​ ​will​ ​be​ ​preceded​ ​by​ ​a​ symposium​ ​on​ ​diversity​ ​in​ ​children’s​ ​literature.​ The​ ​symposium,​ ​titled​ ​“Books Saves Lives,”​ ​will be​ ​moderated​ ​by​ WNDB f​ounding member, CEO, and award-winning writer Ellen Oh.

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. 

For a full list of 2023 Walter​ ​Dean​ ​Myers​ ​Award winners, visit https://diversebooks.org/programs/walter-awards/.