Video: Young adult author, Matt de la Peña, shares why his bicultural background didn’t make him a natural reader


LatinaLista — Getting kids to read, especially boys, has been a challenge for every educator since the dawn of literacy. One self-confessed “reluctant reader” is successful young adult author Matt de la Peña.

Growing up in a bicultural family, with a Mexican American father and Anglo mother, on the San Diego/Tijuana border, de la Peña admits that reading didn’t fall within the ‘ machismo code’ that most boys in his neighborhood adhered to. Speaking in front of New York educators at an author event sponsored by Random House publishers, de la Peña shared some tips with his audience to get their reluctant readers to crack open a book and start their own journeys on a path to literacy.

It’s a path that has been quite successful for a guy who didn’t read a book all the way through until he was a sophomore in college. He’s made up for that error in judgement by publishing four books and a picture book.

His debut novel, Ball Don’t Lie, published in 2005 was made into a major motion picture. He went on to write Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You and A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis.

These days, de la Peña lives in Brooklyn, NY and teaches creative writing at NYU and Vermont College and makes visits to high schools and colleges all over the country.

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