The Dream Bearer Book Poster Image

The Dream Bearer

Compelling novel of boy's 12th summer in Harlem.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

David's brother, Tyrone, is on the path to drugs and gangs.


Reuben strikes his son. A lynching in the past is described. Reuben's unpredictable and sometimes violent behavior might be unnerving for some children.


David's parents wonder if the old man has touched him inappropriately.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drugs and drinking are mentioned. It's implied that Tyrone is using and/or dealing drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the author raises more questions than he answer in this quiet novel about a boy trying to deal with an increasingly messy home life.

What's the story?

David's life in Harlem is not easy. His father, Reuben, is, at least, emotionally disturbed: David's brother, Tyrone, says he's just crazy. His unpredictable and sometimes violent outbursts keep everyone on edge. But Tyrone, angry and rebellious, isn't doing too well either: he's hanging with the wrong crowd, catching the interest of police, disappearing for days at a time, and may be involved with drugs.

As David tries to understand and cope, he meets Mr. Moses, an old homeless man in the park, who claims to be 300 years old and the bearer of dreams, which he proposes to pass on to David. These turn out to be stories of the past, compelling in their own right, and mysteriously relevant to David's life.

Is it any good?


This compelling novel of an empathetic boy's 12th summer is a bit like David's summer vacation: It wanders a bit, at times seems to lose focus, and doesn't seem to get much of anywhere. By the end of the story, not much has changed -- except David, who has deepened his understanding of and sympathy for his father.

Punctuated with vivid moments, especially Mr. Moses' stories, it holds readers through the vague, unresolved suspense that David feels every day as he watches his family fall apart and wonders why, and what he can do to save it. At times poignant, at times didactic, it raises many questions that are unresolved, and ends realistically. Though the situation hasn't really changed, David has grown, and therein lies hope.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what's wrong with Reuben, what's happening to Tyrone, why Mr. Moses lives the way he does, and many other issues.

Book details

Author:Walter Dean Myers
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:November 30, 2003
Number of pages:181

This review of The Dream Bearer was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bydamituh May 10, 2011

Great for teens, not kids.

I LOVED this book. Walter Dean Myers is my Favorite author! But about the book, some parts might not be for kids, like about the drug usage and hitting. I thnk it's more for teens and up (even though i'm 12).
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byJoyneciaB May 14, 2009

That Book of Mine