Press contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

April 19, 2012 (REVISED April 25, 2012)

National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Walter Dean Myers to Be Featured in Program for Young People

Event to Include Book Discussion and Launch of Summer Reading Program

Walter Dean Myers, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature 2012-2013 and a renowned author of books for young people, will tell stories, read from his books and talk with members of the audience in a program that marks the Library’s celebration of Children’s Book Week. Myers is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and has received two Newbery Honors.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be on Friday, May 11, at 11 a.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium, located on the ground floor of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. No tickets are required. The Jonah S. Eskin Memorial Fund is supporting this event.

The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The co-sponsor is the Children’s Book Council, which also sponsors Children’s Book Week, established in 1919. Each year, books for young people and the joy of reading are celebrated with author and illustrator appearances, storytelling and other book-related events at schools, libraries, bookstores, museums and homes nationwide.

During the event, representatives from the District of Columbia Public Library will introduce this year’s summer reading program, themed "Dream Big – Read!" The Library of Congress and D.C. Public Library have planned fun programs to keep kids engaged in reading all summer long. Children who join the summer library program keep their brains active and enter school in the fall ready to learn and ready to succeed. Kids can sign up for the summer reading program at any neighborhood library in the District of Columbia starting May 14 for a chance to win prizes.

Walter Dean Myers boasts more than 100 published books, including the New York Times best-seller "Monster," the first winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, a National Book Award Finalist and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. He is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults and in 2009 delivered the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, a distinction reserved for an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of children’s literature. He is among today’s most-honored authors. Myers grew up in Harlem, which is the setting for many of his books, and currently resides in Jersey City, N.J.

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (www.read.gov/cfb/ambassador/) is named by the Librarian of Congress for a two-year term, based on recommendations from a selection committee representing many segments of the book community. The selection criteria include the candidate’s contribution to young people’s literature and ability to relate to children. The position was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.

Funded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through it website at www.loc.gov.

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress (www.Read.gov/cfb/) has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for 52 affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading promotion partners and plays a key role in the annual National Book Festival. The center also oversees the Library’s Read.gov website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.

The Children’s Book Council, established in 1945, is the nonprofit trade association of publishers of trade books for children and young adults in the United States. The CBC promotes the use and enjoyment of trade books for young people, most prominently as the official sponsor of Children’s Book Week, the longest running literacy event in the country. The goal of the Children’s Book Council is to make the reading and enjoyment of books for young people an essential part of America’s educational and social goals, as well as to enhance the public perception of the importance of reading by disseminating information about books for young people and about children’s book publishing. The CBC’s foundation, Every Child a Reader, administers Children’s Book Week. For more information about the CBC, visit www.cbcbooks.org.

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PR 12-075
04/19/12
ISSN 0731-3527

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