Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of seven young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and Superman: Dawnbreaker) and six picture books (including Milo Imagines the World and Last Stop on Market Street). In 2016 he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. 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. In 2019 Matt was given an honorary doctorate from UOP. de la Peña currently lives in Southern California. He teaches creative writing and visits schools and colleges throughout the country.
*Read Matt’s NPR essay about the saving powers of literacy and creativity — especially in working class communities.
*Read Matt’s essay in Time Magazine about exploring tough topics in picture books.
*Read Matt’s Newbery acceptance speech.
*Listen to Matt and Christian talk about their latest collaboration, Milo Imagines the World, on NPR.
*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 de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of seven young adult novels and six picture books. Matt’s debut novel, Ball Don’t Lie, was published by Delacorte in 2005. The book was made into a major motion picture (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 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’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 (illustrated by Christian Robinson), was released by Penguin and was awarded the 2016 Newbery Medal. His sixth YA 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 YA novel, Superman: Dawnbreaker.
In 2021, Penguin published Matt’s third collaboration with Christian Robinson, Milo Imagines the World.
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.
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 Southern California. He teaches creative writing and visits schools and colleges all over the country.