Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of six young adult novels: Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You, The Living and The Hunted. He’s also the author of the critically-acclaimed picture books A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis (illustrated by Kadir Nelson) and Last Stop on Market Street (illustrated by Christian Robinson). 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 basketball scholarship. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn NY. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.
*The New York Times followed Matt into Tucson High School after his book was banned from the curriculum (along with the work of several other Hispanic authors). Read article here.
*Matt shares his views on the saving powers of literacy and creativity in an NPR essay. Read essay here.
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 (to be released in the fall of 2011) starring Ludacris, Nick Cannon, Emelie de Ravin, Grayson Boucher, and Rosanna Arquette (Night and Day Pictures). 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 Amlia 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’s fifth young adult novel, The Living, was released by Delacorte. He also wrote two books in Scholastic’s popular Infinity Ring Series: Curse of the Ancients and Eternity.
In 2015 Matt’s second picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, was released by Penguin, and his sixth YA novel,The Hunted (a sequel to The Living) was released by Delacorte.
He has also published short fiction and essays in various newspapers and literary journals, including: 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.
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.
de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, NY — he teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges all over the country.