Bad Boy

Bad Boy

by Walter Dean Myers

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New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers traveled back to his roots in this memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable. Don’t miss this memoir by a former National Ambassador of Books for Young People!

As a boy, Myers was quick-tempered and physically strong, always ready for a fight. He also read voraciously—he would check out books from the library and carry them home, hidden in brown paper bags in order to avoid other boys' teasing. He aspired to be a writer (and he eventually succeeded).

But as his hope for a successful future diminished, the values he had been taught at home, in school, and in his community seemed worthless, and he turned to the streets and to his books for comfort.

Here, in his own words, is the story of one of the most important voices of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061974939
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 310,965
Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Walter Dean Myers was the New York Times bestselling author of Monster, the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award; a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature; and an inaugural NYC Literary Honoree. Myers received every single major award in the field of children's literature. He was the author of two Newbery Honor Books and six Coretta Scott King Awardees. He was the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, a three-time National Book Award Finalist, as well as the first-ever recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Read an Excerpt

Bad Boy MOBChapter OneRoots

Each of us is born with a history already in place. There are physical aspects that make us brown-eyed or blue-eyed, that make us tall or not so tall, or give us curly or straight hair. Our parents might be rich or poor. We could be born in a crowded, bustling city or in a rural area. While we live our own individual lives, what has gone before us, our history, often has some effect on us. In thinking about what influenced my own life, I began by considering the events and people who came before me. I learned about most of the people who had some effect on my life through family stories, census records, old photographs, and, in the case of Lucas D. Dennis, the records of the Works Progress Administration at the University of West Virginia.

The Works Progress Administration was a government program formed to create jobs during the Depression years. It did this by starting a number of projects, including state histories. Among the notes of the interviewers putting together a history of West Virginia, I came across this entry.

Lucas D. Dennis was one of the one hundred and fifty slaves that Steve Dandridge owned before the Civil War. This slave is ninetyfour years old. He was born in Jefferson County. His mind is very bright, he still has two of his own teeth, his hair is gray and he wears a heavy beard which is also gray.

After the Civil War he came to Harpers Ferry and built himself a house, which is on one of the camping grounds used during the war. This house is on Filmore Ave. and the corner of a lane leading to where many soldiers were buried and later taken up and carried to their burial ground inWinchester.

He lives with his wife, she is eighty-four. He saw John Brown and remembers well the day he was hanged.

Lucas D. Dennis was my great-great uncle. Prior to the Civil War, when West Virginia was still part of the state of Virginia, these ancestors of mine were slaves on a plantation called The Bower in Leetown, Virginia. The 1870 census still listed had Lucas D. Dennis as living on the plantation, but I knew, from family stories, that he did indeed move to Harpers Ferry and that part of the Dennis family moved to Martinsburg, West Virginia, less than ten miles from 'Me Bower. At the time of the interview with Lucas D. Dennis, the Dennis family in Martinsburg had merged with the Green family. One of the women of the Green family, Mary Dolly Green, later became my mother.

I have no memory of Mary Dolly Green. I know that she gave birth to me on a Thursday, the twelfth of August, 1937. 1 have been told that she was tall, with a fair complexion. Mary had five children: Gertrude, Ethel, George, me, and Imogene. Shortly after the birth of my sister Imogene my mother died, leaving my father, George Myers, with seven children, two of them, Geraldine and Vida, from a previous marriage. When I imagine her, I think of an attractive young woman with the same wide smile my sisters had. I wish I could have known her. However, today, when I think of mother, I think of another woman, my father's first wife, Florence Dean.

Florence Dean's mother emigrated from Germany in the late 1800s. A cook by profession, Mary Gearhart settled outside Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in New Franklin, Pennsylvania. There she met and married a Native American by the name of Brown. The couple had one daughter, Florence. Mary Gearhart, a small, pleasant woman, worked at a number of restaurants before finding a job in a German hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

When Florence was old enough to work, she also came to Martinsburg. It was while working at the hotel that she met a young black man, George Myers. The two young people began to see each other socially and were married when Florence was seventeen. From this marriage came two children, Geraldine and Viola. Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce, and Florence returned to Pennsylvania. The fact that Florence had married a black man did not sit well with her German relatives, and she was made to feel unwelcome. She decided to move to Baltimore, Maryland, where she met Herbert Dean.

Herbert Dean lived in Baltimore with his father, stepmother, two sisters, Nancy and Hazel, and his brother, Leroy. His father, William Dean, was a tall, handsome, and opinionated man who had little use for formal education aside from reading the Bible, and even less use for women.

He ran a small hauling business in Baltimore that consisted of several wagons and teams of horses. He expected his sons to enter the business when they were of age. When trucks began to replace horses and wagons, he scoffed at the idea, labeling the trucks as a mere fad that would never last. Even as his business declined, he stubbornly stuck to his beliefs. By the time he was nine, Herbert Dean was already working, pulling a wagon through the streets of the city, collecting scraps of wood, cutting it for kindling, and selling it door to door to light the fires in the old coal stoves that most people had at the time. Herbert had left school after the third grade, realizing that he was needed to help support the family.

By the time Herbert reached manhood, his father's hauling business was no more than a way of making a few dollars on occasion, and when William Dean still declined to invest in trucks, both of the boys struck out on their own. Leroy decided to remain in the Baltimore area, and Herbert decided to try his luck in New York City . . .

Bad Boy MOB. Copyright © by Walter Myers. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Let's Hear It for the First Grade!17
Arithmetic Summer27
Bad Boy35
Mr. Irwin Lasher48
I Am Not the Center of the Universe65
A Writer Observes78
Sonnets from the Portuguese90
Heady Days at Stuyvesant High101
The Garment Center114
God and Dylan Thomas130
Marks on Paper142
The Stranger155
Dr. Holiday165
Being Black174
Sweet Sixteen188
The Typist199
Books I've Typed207

Customer Reviews

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Bad Boy 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 140 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gonna read it again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really good and you will love this story and this one it is very funny :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love the book if you like books that are based on older times you will like it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ausome book i love it
Tricia_Pless More than 1 year ago
A very intriguing cover brought me to a not such an interesting book. A story about Walter Dean Myer talks about the details of his Harlem childhood in the 1940s/1950s. He loved home life with his adopted parents, Bible school, street games, and the livelihood of his neighborhood. Although, Myer spent much of his time either getting into trouble or on the basketball court, secretly he was an eager reader and a hopeful writer. But as his picture for a successful future weakened, the values he had been taught at home, in school, and in his community seemed insignificant, and he turned to the streets and his books for comfort. It had a reoccurring theme over growing; learning and growing. For example, when he has to understand hitting someone when they make fun of his speech impediment is not always the right thing to do, and most the time get's him in trouble, but the right thing to do is to just ask them to stop. Even though I did not find the book to be as interesting as I hoped, it was new to learn about someone like Myer to me. His obstacles and ways of overcoming them are unique to what I have seen in my life. It could be the different cultures and times we grew up in or just show how different people can truly be. Much otherwise it was not more than average, not very intriguing, and didn't keep me hooked to want to keep reading. It truly depends on what you like to whether or not you should read this book, for me, not a first pick. But for someone who enjoys history and biography's, this might be your cup of tea.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can reate to some of the things he went through. Its a very nice memoir, if you get past the fact that its a memoir...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You guys are all a bunch of idiots this was an amazing book habe some respect
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow a hit!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Walter Dean Myers, the author of 'Bad Boy', wrote a great story about him and his life that he has lived. A young boy growing up in Harlem who has a love for reading and writing. Growing up he has always wanted to become a writer and now he is the author of many great books. Bad Boy was a great life story about Walter Dean myers and learning about his experiences and adventures was great. He went through tough times and good times and came out successful. This book inspired me to do what i need to do to get by in life and work hard for what you believe in. I'm a senior in high school about to graduate or at least i hope so. I fell behind in a class and now i need to work harder to pass. Reading this book during the class has really pushed me to do my work and get everything done that i need to. I recommend this book to anyone who is having trouble in their life. Reading about a man who grew up knowing what he wanted to do in his life and then becomming successful with it is an absolute amazing goal to achieve and i respect Walter Dean Myers a lot.
J.Rod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This Autobiography shows how Walter struggled on his way to be a men, he had to choose from right and wrong to succeed. Walter also wanted to do the best to be a good man and succeed. Walter was also a great writer, Everyone always likes to hear about a kid growing up black in Harlem, and the struggles of a family trying to do their very best to take out a good living life. Once he was disgusted of how he was living life and so then he remembered a fellow teacher back in elementary school that once told him, ¿Whatever you do don¿t stop writing¿. Walter Didn¿t stop he wrote a book and then became an award winning author. I recommend this book because it shows how people lived life back then and also how little money they had to survive the hard times, I also recommend it because it shows how hard working was Walter to succeed
cassiusclay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
personal response: After reading about his life, particularly his early childhood, I am amazed Walter Dean Myers is still alive. He sounds like he took a lot of stupid risks as a kid. Overall, it was nice to see where he came from and how he became the person that wrote wonderful stories like Monster. When he describes his friend throwing away a stack of comic books every month I cringed. How could someone do that? I wonder what treasures were discarded.curricular connections:a must to include in an author study. reflection of mid-20th century domestic history
BGMSTeachers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For older students who get in trouble a lot, this autobiography by Walter Dean Myers has good lessons about rising above what you have been dealt and moving on. Boys who have been in trouble like this book.
CircusTrain on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
4Q - some sentiments and descriptions are well beyond most of the YA range, although very beautifully rendered, and with a naked honesty that is deeply touching.3P - sadly, this is not likely to appeal to mainstream YA very strongly, although it really does deserve to.
snash on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting memoir recounting the difficulties of growing up smart and black, both adding to his sense of alienation. Writing simple and straightforward which nonetheless left me anxiously anticipating what would happen next. Includes good depictions of Harlem in the 1940's and 50's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oasis is better than Blur
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
7th grade novel experience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hit my period today
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think it is a really good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We need more unny reviews its the only thing i do class
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ur "dumb"