Fallen Angels


Fallen Angels is a 1988 young-adult novel written by Walter Dean Myers, about the Vietnam War. It won the 1988 Coretta Scott King Award. Fallen Angels is listed as number 16 in the American Library Association's list of 100 most frequently challenged books of 1990–2000 due to its use of profanity and realistic depiction of the war.[1][2]

Influence of author's military experience on its writing

Walter Dean Myers was born in West Virginia in 1937. Myers’s mother died three years after his birth, and his father, too poor to raise him, put him into foster care. His foster parents lived in the African-American neighborhood of Harlem in New York City, and he spent most of his childhood and young adulthood there. Though Myers describes his young life as happy—filled with basketball games, a loving upbringing, and good books—he suffered from a speech impediment that made it difficult for him to communicate with others, and at first filled him with rage. Unable to reach out verbally, Myers turned to writing, pouring out his thoughts in poems and short stories. He spent hours in the public library, reading anything he could get his hands on. By the time Myers reached high school, he knew he had intellectual potential, but also knew that his family was too poor to send him to college. Discouraged, he dropped out of school at age fifteen, and though he was persuaded to return, he dropped out again at sixteen. In 1954, on his seventeenth birthday, he joined the army.

Upon his release from the army, Myers had few job skills and little education, and he still suffered from his speech impediment. He took a job loading trucks and then worked in a number of odd jobs in places such as the New York State Department of Labor, a post office, and a rehabilitation center. Myers also kept writing throughout this time, submitting his work to various magazines and periodicals. In 1969, Myers’s career received a boost when his novel Where Does a Day Go? won a contest sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children. Since then, Myers has been able to support himself with his writing, turning out a large number of books for children and young adults.

Plot summary

The plot follows a soldier named Perry, through his experiences in Vietnam, at war, and through his life.[3]

Critical reception

The novel initially received mixed reviews.[4]

It would receive the 1988 Coretta Scott King Award from Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table, which is part of the American Library Association.

  • Fallen Angels, Walter Dean Myers. New York: Scholastic Press, 1988. ISBN 0-590-40942-5
  1. ^ "Marshall University Libraries - Banned Book - Walter Dean Myers' Fallen Angels". marshall.edu
  2. ^ "American Booksellers for Free Expression - American Booksellers Association". abffe.org. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. 
  3. ^ "Children's Book Review: Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers". PublishersWeekly.com
  4. ^ "Walter Dean Myers on Fallen Angels". The Horn Book
External links
  • Walter Dean Myers discusses Fallen Angels
  • Fallen Angels at Scholastic Books teacher website

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