what was walter dean myers first job

what was walter dean myers first job

Walter Dean Myers And His First Job

Walter Dean Myers was an acclaimed American writer of children’s books. His first published book, Where Does The Day Go?, was released in 1969 and he went on to write over 100 books throughout his career. Before becoming a successful writer, Myers had a variety of jobs that would help him gain the experience he needed to become a successful author.

Early Years and His First Job

Walter Dean Myers was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia on August 12, 1937. His family moved to Harlem, New York when he was three and then to the Bronx when he was eight. Growing up in the Bronx was tough for Myers and his first job out of high school was a great opportunity to escape from the pressures of his neighborhood.

Myers’ first job was at the American Payments Council where he worked as an interviewer. Myers was tasked with interviewing new applicants for the council. While the position was not writing-focused, Myers was able to use the knowledge he gained from his job to inform his writing. He was able to observe and understand people’s stories, needs, and motivations.

How His First Job Influenced His Writing

Myers’ job as an interviewer gave him exposure to real people’s stories, struggles, and experiences. He drew upon the access he had to the stories of everyday people to help inform his writing and shape his characters. Throughout his career, Myers wrote about the triumphs and tragedies of the working-class, people of color, and many other marginalized populations that are often ignored by mainstream authors.

Furthermore, Myers also relied on his exposure to the written word as an interviewer to inform his writing. By reading many job applications, Myers was able to understand how people write and speak. He was able to form an idea of how to write in an approachable, convincing, and truthful way.

Legacy After His First Job

Myers’ job as an interviewer gave him the experience and exposure he needed to become a successful author. After his first job, Myers would publish a number of children’s books such as Hoops, Fallen Angels, and Scorpions. He was a five-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award and a three-time winner of the NAACP Image Award. Every year, his legacy lives on through the work of the Walter Dean Myers Grant which furthers his dedication to diversity and inclusion in literature.

Walter Dean Myers was an influential voice in children’s literature due, in part, to his experience gained from his first job. He was able to draw upon the stories of everyday people to craft his diverse and powerful characters. His legacy lives on through the stories he told and continues to impact people around the world.

Works Cited

  • Davis, Donald. “Walter Dean Myers.” Walter Dean Myers | Biography, Awards, & Facts, Encyclopædia Britannica, 22 Jan. 2021, www.britannica.com/biography/Walter-Dean-Myers
  • “Walter Dean Myers.” The Official Website of Walter Dean Myers, walterdeanmyers.net/.


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