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Extended Audio Sample Bad Boy: A Memoir Audiobook, by Walter Dean Myers Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.6 out of 53.6 out of 53.6 out of 53.6 out of 53.6 out of 5 3.60 (25 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Walter Dean Myers Narrator: Joe Morton Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2005 ISBN: 9780060839161
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Into a memoir that is gripping, funny, heartbreaking, and unforgettable, Walter Dean Myers richly weaves the details of his Harlem childhood in the 1940s and 1950s: a loving home life with his adopted parents, Bible school, street games, and the vitality of his neighborhood. Although Walter spent much of his time either getting into trouble or on the basketball court, secretly he was a voracious reader and an aspiring writer. But as his prospects 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 his books for comfort. Here in his own words is the story of one of the strongest voices in children's and young adult literature today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Myers paints a fascinating picture of his childhood growing up in Harlem in the 1940s.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[A] superb memoir. Young writers will find inspiration here.”

    School Library Journal

  • “[From] one of the most important writers of children’s books [comes a] glimpse into his own childhood [that] is wonderfully valuable, fascinating…inspiring.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Beautifully written, inspiring and as riveting as any of Myers’ fiction, Bad Boy is…a vibrant memoir of the Harlem 60 years ago.” 

    Detroit Free Press

  • “This memoir joins the ranks of stellar literary autobiographies, such as Fleischman’s Abracadabra Kid and Zindel’s Pigman and Me.”

    Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

  • “A powerful read. Will make the reader laugh out loud and sigh with satisfaction.”

    VOYA

  • “His description of his narrow escape from a criminal path is harrowing. Most compelling of all is the revelation of his struggle as a black teen to imagine a future that involved books when nearly all the adults in his life worked at menial jobs.”

    Buffalo News

  • “Myers was a great reader from an early age, and escaped into books to assuage some of his anxieties and feed his interest in writing. Titles remain fresh in his mind: Bad Boy catalogs many, perhaps inviting today’s young readers to look at them.” 

    The New York Times Book Review 

  • “A thoughtful, cautionary, and inspiring tale.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Teen readers…will identify with the pain in his coming-of-age story…an excellent model for young people attempting to write pieces of a memoir.”

    Houston Chronicle 

  • “Many teens will see themselves in Myers’ account.”

    ALA Booklist (boxed review)

  • “Many of the individual scenes have power…and the author’s voice and heart are consistently heard and felt throughout.”

    Horn Book

  • “Intricately juxtaposing, with wit and candor…Walter Dean Myers, in his familiar, charming voice, has crafted yet another insightful read.” 

    Ruminator Review 

  • “This memoir from a well-regarded and popular author is intriguing, surprising, funny, and almost tragic before we get to the end and discover that this “bad boy” we have been reading about really does turn out to be Walter Dean Myers.” 

    Riverbank Review 

  • “There’s a lot for teens to relate to and identify with in this funny, poignant memoir that reads like fiction.” 

    Wiregrass Times 

  • Winner of theParents‘ Choice Gold Award
  • A New York Public Library Book for Teens
  • A National Book Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Franky Kuan | 2/18/2014

    " This book is one the those books that I really like it. It brings out Walter Dean Myers writing style and lesson he could teach us in life. Since this book reflects his life and a timeine for readers to understand. This book can really make readers understand Walter Dean Myers life and how he have started his writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ms. Majerus | 2/12/2014

    " I love most of the books that Walter Dean Myers writes, but this is one of my favorites. It tells about his life as a kid and teenager. He was smart, but not always a good student and he got himself into trouble sometimes. It reminded me a lot of some of the students I teach :). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ezekiel Evans | 2/3/2014

    " This book is funny at times to me. The book tells about his childhood. I think anybody who wants to know about others childhood should read this book. Walter Dean Myers was a very interesting young man as he grew up. But mostly everybody grew up getting in trouble as a young one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Breanny711 | 1/20/2014

    " For a memoir assignment, I've just finished reading Bad Boy. This book is great! Tis book has to do with a boy who has had a very troubled childhood. When he was a child he always got into fights and broke things when he didn't get people's attention. However once he got older, he began tonsee the world differently, "the way an author would see it". Once Walter got older he found something that suited him, that connected to his way of life, writing. During his childhood Walter began to see how the world really is. He noticed that whites were treated better than blacks and that whites had a better opportunity for success when blacks didn't. He then considered himself to be without a race, because he would rather be himself than what the whole world thinks he his. A black boy. Writing has helped Walter connect with others even if they couldn't read, like his father. Walter called it " a wall that forever separated us". Even though his father couldn't understand the words, he still knew how Walter felt about his writing , which is how he lived his way of life. Walter's story taught me that there's always something that can help you find a better path in life. And to separate yourself from everyone else, the world. Be your own person, it's who you're meant to be. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anthonie Owen | 1/12/2014

    " The book Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers was awesome .It sort of reminded me of when I was young because some of the choices he made i probably would have made the same choice. He seemed like the ordinary youngster from Harlem. I can definitely connect to him and his child hood based on what i read from his memoir. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 K.t. T.d.u | 1/12/2014

    " 1:This story is about a boy who grew up in harlem with a loving mother who worked everyday and got paid everyday.His family grew up poor,but his mom worked hard to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melissa Rau | 1/11/2014

    " This book is my homework for subbing in Mac's class next week. I only hope it as good as my homework was from Ms. Sprick. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki Traverso | 1/6/2014

    " A great exploration into identity by an author I love. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Myriam | 12/10/2013

    " this memoir book was very a unique way to write a memoir book. the different chapters are filled with descriptive details about Walter's life. I'm not a memoir-reading fan, but this book was pretty good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dequan Cade | 10/18/2013

    " bad boy should be walter dean myers nickname "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joy | 8/10/2013

    " This was a fantastic autobiography. Myers has a very transparent writing style that is quite engaging. I was disappointed that the book only covered his childhood, I would like to read more about his life after high school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa Miers | 1/12/2013

    " I love Walter Dean Myers as an author, so I thought it would be fun to read his memoir. It was. It flowed even better than some of his novels. I really enjoyed reading about his life and how he became an author. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Naomi | 1/10/2013

    " This book is not good and it's not great. I dont really like memoirs so I didn't like the book that much. What I like about it is that he is trying to survie though his childhood and that he is findind himself as a reader. I recomend this book to people who like memoirs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Duffy | 12/24/2012

    " This book highlights the value of hope. I felt connected to Myers as he describes a life permeated by a love for reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 3/25/2012

    " This is the second autobiography I have read by a YA author. I think it's has a lot of good messages about racism and individuality but I don't think many kids would read it because it's not terribly exciting. I think I would recommend Hole in My Life (Jack Gantos-other YA author) over this one. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Diana Uofm | 2/7/2012

    " I didn't really care for the book. Sure, his life was tough. Isn't everyone's life tough? I mean, come on. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mercedes H. | 12/31/2011

    " It was ok throughout, but at the end when he joined the army and had a bad life (it seems like that, anyway), it was a total letdown "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam | 11/9/2011

    " this was a pretty good tooo. i think its kinda sad. this kid went through so much in his lifetime. i like it. its sad tho "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jackie | 10/21/2011

    " this book is basically about Walter dean myers' life.all the struggles he went through.he goes from first grade till now.he even joins the army and lies that his parents are dead.he climbed on a taxi,got hurt and blamed it on his mom.he said his mom beat him which wasn't true. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susie Pozgay | 3/30/2011

    " Did not enjoy this book, written in first person. Another classic young adult piece for those who can relate. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melissa | 2/18/2011

    " This book is my homework for subbing in Mac's class next week. I only hope it as good as my homework was from Ms. Sprick. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kait | 2/16/2011

    " I like reading books that are true stories anyway, but this was a quick, interesting read that was actually informative and historical. I really enjoy memoirs like that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josue | 2/4/2011

    " i like this book because it tells about a boy life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jaimerin | 12/13/2010

    " i think that thismemoir is very good because it is written by the real person and it is great if your doing a report on him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 11/16/2010

    " For this life in New Yrok City, I don't sympathize. In Nwe York City, it's true, even now, although it's more of a it's-behind-the-curtain kind of thing. So, basicly, read it, but if you are the sentimental type, grab a tissue or two before you read. "

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About the Author
Author Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers (1937–2014) was the acclaimed author of over fifty books, primarily for young adults. His notable works include Fallen Angels, Monster, Crystal, and Scorpions. He won numerous awards for his works, including five Coretta Scott King Awards for African American authors. He also won the first Michael L. Printz Award for his book Monster. In January of 2012 he became the Library of Congress’ National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

About the Narrator

Joe Morton is an award-winning actor who made his Broadway debut in Hair and has gone on to perform in many other plays and over seventy films, made-for-TV movies, and mini-series. He and his wife Nora have two children.