August 11, 2021 7:36 AM EDT

The author of more than 100 books for teens and children and a six-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, Walter Dean Myers knew how to write for young people with respect. His talents are best exemplified in his 1999 novel, which won the inaugural Michael L. Printz Award and was a National Book Award finalist. Monster traces the horrific circumstances surrounding Steve Harmon, a 16-year-old on trial for murder. An aspiring filmmaker, Steve presents his plight, and everything that brought him to his current place in life, as a movie script. The narrative, like many of Myers’ best, grapples with the difficulties of growing up Black in America, and asks young readers to consider, in the most accessible terms, the realities of racism. —Annabel Gutterman

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