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Matt de la Pena        

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

Matt 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.

Matt’s third novel, "We Were Here," released by Delacorte in 2009, 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 Matt’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 Matt wrote a book in Scholastic’s popular Infinity Ring Series called "Curse of the Ancients." Later in the year, his fifth young adult novel, "The Living," was released by Delacorte.

In 2015 Matt’s second picture book, "Last Stop on Market Street "(illustrated by Christian Robinson), was released by Penguin and was awarded the 2016 Newbery Medal. His sixth young adult novel, "The Hunted" (a sequel to The Living) was released by Delacorte.

In 2016 Matt was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award.

In 2017 Matt’s 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.

In January of 2018 Matt’s fourth picture book, "Love" (illustrated by Loren Long), was released by Penguin. His fifth picture book, "Carmela Full of Wishes" (illustrated by Christian Robinson), was released by Penguin in October 2018.

In 2019, Random House published Matt’s seventh young adult novel, "Superman: Dawnbreaker."

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

Matt 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 Matt was awarded an honorary doctorate from UOP.

De la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn. He teaches creative writing and visits schools and colleges all over the country.

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