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Matt de la Peña        

Critically-Acclaimed Young Adult Author Known for "Mexican Whiteboy" & "Last Stop on Market Street"

Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of seven young adult novels and five picture books. De la Peña’s debut novel, "Ball Don’t Lie," was published by Delacorte in 2005. The book was made into a major motion picture starring Ludacris, Nick Cannon, Emelie de Ravin, Grayson Boucher, and Rosanna Arquette. The book was named as an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults and an ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.

In 2008 de la Peña’s second novel, "Mexican WhiteBoy," was released by Delacorte, and his short story “Last Red Light Before We’re There” appeared in the anthology "Does This Book Make Me Look Fat." "Mexican WhiteBoy" was a ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults (Top Ten Pick), a 2009 Notable Book for a Global Society, a Junior Library Guild Selection and it made the 2008 Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Literature Blue Ribbon List.

De la Peña’s third novel, "We Were Here," was an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, an ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, a Junior Library Guild Selection and was named to the 2010 NYC Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age list. In 2010 de la Peña’s fourth novel, "I Will Save You," was released by Delacorte and was named an ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, a Junior Library Guild Selection and was a finalist for the 2011 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award.

In January 2011 his first picture book, "A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis" (Illustrated by Kadir Nelson) was released by Dial Press. His first middle grade story “Believing in Brooklyn” appeared in "Guys Read: Thriller," edited by Jon Scieszka.

In 2013 de la Peña’s fifth young adult novel, "The Living," was released along with two books in Scholastic’s popular "Infinity Ring Series:" "Curse of the Ancients" and "Eternity."

In 2016 de la Peña was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. In 2017 his third picture book, "Miguel and the Grand Harmony" (illustrated by Ana Ramirez), was released by Disney in both English and Spanish. The book is a tie-in to the wildly popular Pixar movie Coco.

He has also published short fiction and essays in various newspapers and literary journals, including: Time Magazine, The New York Times, NPR.org, The Writer, Pacific Review, One Teen Story, The Vincent Brothers Review, Chiricú, George Mason Review, and Allegheny Literary Review.

De la Peña received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. In 2019 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from UOP.

De la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, NY — he teaches creative writing and visits schools and colleges all over the country.

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