Walter Dean Myers, children's author, dead at 76

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NEW YORK (AP) — Walter Dean Myers, a best-selling and prolific children's author and tireless champion of literacy and education, has died. He was 76.

Publisher HarperCollins says Myers died Tuesday after a brief illness.

His books included "Monster" and "Lockdown" Myers was a onetime troublemaker who dropped out of high school. He spent much of his adult life writing realistic and accessible stories about crime, war and life in the streets.

He was a three-time National Book Award nominee and in 2012-13 served as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, a position created in part by the Library of Congress. Well before that, he traveled the country, visiting schools and prisons and advocating books. His encounters with students and inmates even inspired some of his own books.

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