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Matt de la Peña Supper Club Highlights

It’s not every day we get to hear the thoughts and inner workings of a thoughtful and brilliant writer, but this is exactly what we have the opportunity to do when we listen to this Supper Club conversation between New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal winning author Matt de la Peña and Lucy, as well as their guests and colleagues

We hear from Matt about his origins growing up near the Mexican border in a working class family and his beginnings as a poet who “thought it sparse language.” We learn Matt’s thoughts on how writing relates to leadership (including school leadership) and how the art of being a good leader, like the art of being a good writer, is listening.

We gain an understanding for how important Matt believes it is, as a writer, to listen to your own point of view and reflect upon how you see the world, as well as how crucial it is, as a teacher, to listen to students’ points of view to understand “what little nuggets could help them push forward” in their writing process. We hear, in fact, how Matt elevates point of view as the “absolute, most important thing [he] consider[s] as a writer.”

He also shared with us the difference between writing a novel and picture book, using a sports metaphor from his years as a childhood basketball player. He states that, “a great coach takes the players they have and they find an offense that works for their talent”, likening this to his craft: “Here is my idea, now I need to find a great place to put it.”

Then, Matt takes us on a behind-the-scenes exploration of his book Milo Imagines the World – what he was thinking and feeling as he wrote it and what he hoped to communicate. Along the way, we learn about the beauty of rereading and uncovering some of the quieter author’s craft moves and how, as a writer, de la Peña does “not just simply record what [he] see[s] in the world,” but rather actually tries to write “what [he] hope[s] [he] will see tomorrow.” As if that were not enough, we delight as Matt ends the evening by conferring with a sixth grade student about her own narrative story.

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Published on June 25, 2024