The digital magazine of J. Sterling Morton West High School

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Author Matt de la Peña visits Morton West

Acclaimed author from Brooklyn talks to sophomores about his life as an author

Camila Fernandez Longoni, Staff Writer

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author 2Matt de la Peña is the writer of many novels for young adults including Ball Don’t Lie, We Were Here, I Will Save You, The Living, The Hunted, and Mexican WhiteBoy. This author of New York Times Bestseller List books came to Morton West High School on August 25, 2016 for a presentation to all sophomores about his life as an author. The author was brought here through the use of federal Title I funds.  In one of the books he wrote, Mexican WhiteBoy, he talked about how while going to high school he felt like one of the characters in this book. He went on to say that in his high school there weren’t many brown skinned people; the only brown skinned people were the lunch ladies, gardeners, and custodians. He also said that Danny and Uno, two characters in Mexican WhiteBoy, represented him and the way he grew up. He emphasized that “my characters are mix-raced because I am mixed raced.”

author 3One point that de la Peña made in his presentation is that “If you’re not around people who read, you are not likely to read yourself.”  He struggled as a young boy in elementary school and shared, “I labeled myself as unintelligent.”  Yet, he stated to the auditorium full of sophomores that “half the battle is just being in school.” After his own high school days, De la Peña received a basketball scholarship and was the first of his family to go to college.  He pointed out that by reading books, “You’ll have more advantages.”

author 4De La Peña gave another presentation in our library to three sophomore English classes.  He relayed to the students that when he was little, his father was never there because he worked so much. However, after he grew up his father started to change, and at the age of 50 his father went to college and is now a third grade teacher of literacy and he teaches in Spanish.

 

 

Before leaving he signed students’ copies of Mexican WhiteBoy, posed for photos, and shook hands with students. He left students with this final thought:  “Boredom is the most important part of childhood because it makes you reflect. It allows you to grow.”

author 5

 

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Author Matt de la Peña visits Morton West