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Dream Bearer by Walter Dean Myers is a colorful
novel about a boy learning to cope with his father's mental illness and the adult
world around him. The story is set in Harlem. David
Curry is the 12-year old African-American protagonist. His life is not easy. His
mother is the primary wage earner. She wants to convert a neighborhood building
into a homeless shelter. His father is on medication to control his mental
illness, but frequently goes off it. He is only able to work as a day laborer,
and unfortunately is employed by the owner of the building his wife wants to
convert. His brother, 17-year old Tyrone, is involved with something unsavory.
David thinks that it might be drugs but is not sure. Whatever it is, it has Tyrone
on the run. Sessi Mutu is
David's African friend and neighbor. She is building a traditional African hut
on the roof of her tenement. Her parents have applied for American citizenship,
but Sessi and David are both worried what will happen
if their application is rejected? There is only David's childhood friend,
Loren, to talk to about his worries until he meets a homeless man named
Littlejohn Moses. Mr. Moses tells David that he is a "dream bearer". After
living 300 years, Mr. Moses is tired and is looking for another person to be
the new "dream bearer". As tensions grow at home between his mother
and father and his brother does not returned home, David find comfort and
insight in the dreams that Mr. Moses shares with David.
The novel presents a colorful
tableau of the urban world of Harlem. Parents struggle
to get by in the world. Young men get involve with gangs, drugs, and gambling. African
immigrants struggle to become American citizens, yet are reluctant to give up
their native ways and customers. Homeless people sit on benches in the park. Boys
grow up. This is an eye-opening book for anyone who does not live in an urban
Walter Dean Myers
is the author of more than 75 books for young people. Myers was born in West
Virginia but raised in Harlem.
His autobiography which was written for young people is entitled, Bad Boy: a Memoir (2002). He has
received many awards, including National Endowment of the Arts grant (1982
& 1989); the MacDowell Fellowship (1988);
American Library Association (ALA) Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime
Achievement in Writing for Young Adults (1994), and ALAN Award (1994). Many of
his books have received awards including, Where Does the Day Go? (1968 Council on Interracial Books for Children
Award); The Dancers (1972 Child Study
Association of America's Children's Books of the Year); Fast Sam, Cool Clyde and Stuff (1975 ALA Notable Children's Books
List); Ain't All for Nothin'
(1978 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1978 ALA Best Books For Young Adults
List); The Young Landlords (1980 Coretta Scott King Award, 1979 ALA Notable Children's Books
List, 1979 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Legend of Tarik (1982 Notable Children's
Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies from the National Council for Social
Studies and the Children's Book Council, 1981 ALA Notable Children's Books
List,1981 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Hoops (1994 Margaret A. Edwards Award, 1982 Edgar Allan Poe Award
runner-up, 1982 ALA Notable Children's Books List, 1982 ALA Best Books For
Young Adults List); Won't Know Til' I Get There (1982 Parents' Choice Foundation
Award); Tales of a Dead King (1983
New Jersey Institute Technology Authors Award); The Outside Shot (1984 Parents' Choice Foundation Award); Motown (1985 Coretta
Scott King Award); Didi (1985 Coretta Scott King Award); Adventure in Granada (1987 Child Study Association of America's
Children's Books of the Year); Fallen
Angels (1989 Coretta Scott King Award, 1988
Parents' Choice Foundation Award, 1988 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Me, Mop, and the Moondance
Kid (1988 ALA Notable Children's Books List); Scorpions
(1989 Newbery Honor Book, 1988 ALA Notable Children's
Books List, 1988 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Now Is Your Time (1992 Coretta Scott King
Award,1992 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List); Somewhere in the Darkness (1993 Newbery
Honor Book, 1993 Coretta Scott King Award,1993 ALA
Notable Children's Books List, 1993 ALA Best Books For Young Adults List,1992
Boston Globe/Horn Book Award,); Malcolm X
(1994 Coretta Scott King Award); Slam! 1997 Coretta Scott King Award; Harlem (1998 Caldecott Honor Book, 1998 Coretta Scott King Award, 1998 ALA Best Books For Young
Adults List); and Monster (1999
Michael L. Printz Award, 1999 Coretta
Scott King Author Honor Award, and 1998 National Book Award Finalist). Mr.
Myers lives in New Jersey with
his family. Shooter (2004) is his latest novel.
The Dream Bearer by
Walter Dean Myers is a well written novel. The book is
recommended for Age 10 years
and up. I recommend this book.
© 2004 Su Terry
Su Terry: Education:
B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from
Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral
Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in
Professional Ministry from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in
Spirituality/Spiritual Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a
Licensed Minister of the United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in
Library Science at Dowling College,
Long Island, NY.
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