Son of Walter Dean (an author) and Constance Myers. Education: Brown University, degree.
Illustrator and author. Also works as a photographer, fine-arts painter, and clothing designer.
Coretta Scott King Honor Book designation, 1998, for Harlem, 1999, for Black Cat; Michael L. Printz Award, Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book designation, and National Book Award finalist, all 2000, all for Monster by Walter Dean Myers.
Black Cat, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.
Wings, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.
Fly!, Jump at the Sun (New York, NY), 2001.
(Adaptor) Zora Neale Hurston, collector, Lies and Other Tall Tales, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.
Walter Dean Myers, Shadow of the Red Moon, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.
Walter Dean Myers, Harlem: A Poem, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.
Arlene Harris Mitchell and Darwin L. Henderson, selector, This I Know: Poetry across Black Cultures, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.
Walter Dean Myers, Monster, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.
Walter Dean Myers, A Time to Love: Stories from the Old Testament, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003, revised edition, 2004.
Walter Dean Myers, Autobiography of My Dead Brother, HarperTempest (New York, NY), 2005.
E.E. Cummings, Love: Selected Poems, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2005.
Walter Dean Myers, Jazz, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2006.
Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky, Jump at the Sun (New York, NY), 2007.
Walter Dean Myers, Tribute, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2008.
A graduate of Brown University, Christopher Myers started his work in the field of children's publishing while researching various topics for his father, award-winning author Walter Dean Myers. After graduating from Brown University and obtaining further art training in New York City, Myers made his own publishing debut with his illustrations for his father's 1995 picture book, Shadow of the Red Moon. In addition to additional father-son collaborations that have followed, such as Blues Journey, Monster, and Jazz, the younger Myers has also written and illustrated original stories such as Black Cat, Wings, and Fly! Using an unique mix of paints, cut-paper collage, and photographs, he has also brought to life the works of writers as varied as Zora Neale Hurston, E.E. Cummings, and Lewis Carroll. His illustrations for the elder Myers' Blues Story prompted Horn Book contributor Roger Sutton to comment that Myers' images "are impressively composed and imaginatively varied in design," and in School Library Journal Wendy Lukehart concluded of the same book that "artist and author push the [blues] idiom—and the picture book—to new dimensions."
Based on a text by his father, Myers' 1998 picture book Harlem: A Poem received a Caldecott Honor designation for its "bold collages," which a Publishers Weekly contributor dubbed "both stark and lyrical." The book is also one of several titles that have earned father and son a shared Coretta Scott King Honor Book designation. His first original self-illustrated picture book, Black Cat, earned a solo Coretta Scott King Honor Book des-
ignation when it was published a year later. The story follows a lithe black cat as it makes its way along a city's streets, over rooftops, and even through the subway toward an unknown destination. Adding to the drama of the cat's nocturnal journey are Myers' photo-collage illustrations, which, "all angles and concrete, photos and paint, are a maze of intriguing perspectives," according to Booklist contributor Stephanie Zvirin. Myers tells his story using a simple refrain, while his "mixed media images revere the starkness and beauty of the city streets," in the view of a Publishers Weekly reviewer. A "dazzling book," Black Cat "captures the rhythms of the city and the gritty beauty of the urban landscape," concluded a Horn Book contributor.
In Wings Myers recasts the mythic story of Icarus in a modern light, as a new boy in school is ignored by his classmates because he wears wings. While the original Icarus suffered because his pride prompted him to fly too near the sun, in Myers' version young Ikarus Jackson falters in flight because of the jeering of his classmates. In a happy ending, Ikarus's talent for flight inspires a new friendship and a new appreciation of differences. Myers "imaginatively refutes the myth of Icarus and champions the nature of the artist," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor, adding that in Wings the author/illustrator "demonstrat[es] … a masterful use of collage." Also praising the book's art, Alicia Eames noted in School Library Journal that Myers' "compelling illustrations evoke an urban environment in unexpected, almost magical ways."
Another story inspired by friendship, Fly! introduces readers to a lonely boy named Jawanza. Living in the top floor of a city apartment, Jawanza has no yard to play in; when he watches the pigeons fly freely past his window he wishes that he could be outside like them. When the boy meets an old man named Roderick Jackson Montgomery, his new friend introduces Jawanza to the slower-paced rooftop world that he shares with flocks of pigeons, swallows, and other city birds. "Eloquently told, the seemingly simple story suggests hidden layers of meaning," wrote Marie Orland in School Library Journal, the critic adding that "Myers's dramatic paintings … both underscore the mystery" and draw readers' attention to "the extraordinary visual experience." Reviewing Fly! for Kirkus Reviews, a writer dubbed the picture book "a beautiful exploration of urban friendship in unexpected places."
Discussing his creative inspirations on the Scholastic Canada Web site, Myers noted: "I'm fascinated with work, what work is, who does work, how much our identities are wrapped up in what we do with our hands. Shoeshine boy, ditchdigger, painter. My grandfather laughed at my father's hands because they were too soft. Still I think he was proud of the fact that my father didn't have to work with his back. This is progress."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, April 15, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Black Cat, p. 1531; May 15, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Wings, p. 1754; May 1, 2001, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Monster, p. 1611; February 15, 2002, Gillian Engberg and Hazel Rochman, review of Black Cat, p. 1028; September 15, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Lies and Other Tall Tales, p. 62; September 1, 2006, Bill Ott, review of Jazz, p. 127.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 1995, review of Shadow of the Red Moon, p. 135; February, 1999, review of Black Cat, p. 210; January, 2006, Karen Coats, review of Lies and Other Tall Tales, p. 234.
Horn Book, March, 1999, Mary M. Burns, review of Black Cat, p. 199; May, 1999, review of Monster, p. 337; May-June, 2003, Roger Sutton, review of Blues Journey, p. 363; September-October, 2005, Michelle Martin, review of Lies and Other Tall Tales, p. 592.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2001, review of Fly!, p. 1554; July 1, 2005, review of Autobiography of My Dead Brother, p. 740; September 1, 2005, review of Lies and Other Tall Tales, p. 975; December 1, 2005, review of Love: Selected Poems, p. 1273.
Publishers Weekly, January 13, 1997, review of Harlem: A Poem, p. 76; March 29, 1999, review of Black Cat, p. 104; September 11, 2000, review of Wings, p. 90; December 3, 2001, review of Fly!, p. 58; September 19, 2005, review of Lies and Other Tall Tales, p. 66; December 5, 2005, review of Love, p. 53; September 17, 2007, review of Jabberwocky, p. 53.
School Library Journal, October, 2000, Alicia Eames, review of Wings, p. 130; December, 2001, Marie Orlando, review of Fly!, p. 108; April, 2003, Wendy Lukehart, review of Blues Journey, p. 188; May, 2003, Patricia D. Lothrop, review of A Time to Love: Stories from the Old Testament, p. 158; September, 2005, Barbara Auerbach, review of Black Cat, p. 59; November, 2005, Margaret Bush, review of Lies and Other Tall Tales, p. 117; January, 2006, Marilyn Taniguchi, review of Love, p. 148; August, 2007, Kirsten Cutler, review of Jabberwocky, p. 130.
Scholastic Canada Web site,http://www.scholastic.ca/ (October 27, 2007), "Christopher Myers."