Walter Dean Myers, 74, will be announced as the national ambassador for young people’s literature on Tuesday, succeeding Katherine Paterson in the position. The NYT says “the choice of Mr. Myers represents a departure from his predecessors and is likely to be seen as a bold statement. His books chronicle the lives of many urban teenagers, especially young, poor African-Americans. While his body of work includes poetry, nonfiction and the occasional cheerful picture book for children, its standout books offer themes aimed at young-adult readers: stories of teenagers in violent gangs, soldiers headed to Iraq and juvenile offenders imprisoned for their crimes. While many young-adult authors shy away from such risky subject material, Mr. Myers has used his books to confront the darkness and despair that fill so many children’s lives.”
Romance author Penny Jordan, 65, died recently of cancer. The author of 188 books for Mills & Boon and Mira (and still more for other publishers) since 1981, Harlequin says that “almost 70 million copies of her novels have been sold worldwide.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette book editor Bob Hoover has retired, though he will continue to review and write on a freelance basis for the newspaper. John Allison now oversees book reviews for the newspaper, but no one is taking over Hoover’s column and regular reporting on the local literary scene.