Cover image for Street love
Street love
Myers, Walter Dean, 1937-2014.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Amistad, [2006]

Physical Description:
134 pages ; 19 cm
This story told in free verse is set against a background of street gangs and poverty in Harlem in which seventeen-year-old African American Damien takes a bold step to ensure that he and his new love will not be separated.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.4 2.0 111559.

Reading Counts RC High School 9.2 7 Quiz: 40690 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



This story told in free verse is set against a background of street gangs and poverty in Harlem in which seventeen-year-old African American Damien takes a bold step to ensure that he and his new love will not be separated.

Author Notes

Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsberg, West Virginia. When he was three years old, his mother died and his father sent him to live with Herbert and Florence Dean in Harlem, New York. He began writing stories while in his teens. He dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Army at the age of 17. After completing his army service, he took a construction job and continued to write.

He entered and won a 1969 contest sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children, which led to the publication of his first book, Where Does the Day Go? During his lifetime, he wrote more than 100 fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. His works include Fallen Angels, Bad Boy, Darius and Twig, Scorpions, Lockdown, Sunrise Over Fallujah, Invasion, Juba!, and On a Clear Day. He also collaborated with his son Christopher, an artist, on a number of picture books for young readers including We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart and Harlem, which received a Caldecott Honor Award, as well as the teen novel Autobiography of My Dead Brother.

He was the winner of the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award for Monster, the first recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. He also won the Coretta Scott King Award for African American authors five times. He died on July 1, 2014, following a brief illness, at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In short lines of free verse, teens in Harlem tell a story of anger, loss, and love across social-class lines. Damien, 17, is a basketball champion and academic star, accepted into a top college. His parents want him to date middle-class Roxanne, but he falls in love with gorgeous Junice, 16, who is desperate to protect her little sister after their single-parent mom is sentenced to 25 years for dealing drugs. Written with rap beat and rhyme but no invective or obscenity, the switching viewpoints make this great for readers' theater--from Damien's furious manhood jam when he confronts his rival, and Junice's anguished visit to her raging mama in prison (a wolf caught in a trap ) to the lyrical simplicity of the teens' love (Flying through an endlessly / Expanding universe / Away from the me that was / Toward a me that is beyond / understanding ). The young people also invoke their history in the tradition of Langston Hughes and other great writers (these hands have scrubbed mats on the banks of / the Congo ). The realistic drama on the street and at home tells a gripping story. Readers will want to reread the lines they loved. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2006 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Myers's (Monster) compellingly readable novel in verse unfolds through an array of characters, all linked by Damien Battle and Junice Ambers who both live in Harlem but come from very different worlds. Damien has been accepted to Brown University; Junice's mother has been sentenced to 25 years for possession and drug dealing. A pair of early rap poems set up a rivalry between Damien and Sledge (whose "crew... wore their colors"), and also Damien's fascination with a "beauty" who "walks darkly, as if her mind weighs down/ Her steps," later revealed to be Junice. Myers crafts some memorable moments here, as when Junice describes her mother ("She gave freely/ To those in need, or to those who, like/ Her, were broken, and needed a fix") or when Miss Ruby, Junice's grandmother, expresses grief for her convicted daughter in a blues poem ("Yeah, it's hard, baby/ It's hard right down to the bone/ I said Oh, it's hard baby/ It's hard right down to the very bone/ It's hard when you're a woman/ And you find yourself all alone") and the banter between Damien and a buddy. Yet some readers may wish for a deeper understanding of what draws Damien to Junice, and why he risks his own family's upheaval and his future at Brown for this new romance. Though both Damien and Junice come off as sympathetic characters, their attraction to each other remains a mystery. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-The swift flow of these short poems carries readers along in thoughts, conversations, and scenes as Damien and Junice's romance begins. He is a high achiever who has been accepted to Brown University and is expected to go far. Junice has just lost her mother to prison and is trying to keep her younger sister and her grandmother together as a family. Damien and Junice question who they are and who they will become. Hip-hop-style phrases feel like Shakespeare telling of these African-American teens in Harlem, struggling to keep it together. Intellect meets Street as true love conquers all. This is a quick and satisfying read, simple and timeless.-Corinda J. Humphrey, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Street Love Harlem Autumn in Harlem. Fume-choked leaves, already Yellowed, crack in the late September Breeze. Weeds, city tough, city brittle, Push defiantly along the concrete edges Of Malcolm X Boulevard. On 137th Street A toothless sidewalk vendor neatly stacks His dark knit caps beside the plastic cell Phone covers. Shadows indistinct in August heat Now deepen and grow long across The wide streets. Homeless men sniff the air and Know that somewhere the Hawk stirs. Harlem is not an easy place To grow old, and so the young Are everywhere, Pouring from the buses, city dancing To the rhythms of the street, City dancing to the frantic spin of life In the fast lane. Street Love . Copyright © by Walter Myers. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Street Love by Walter Dean Myers All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.