Hamline News

NCTE honors Matt de la Peña


The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) honored author Matt de la Peña, faculty member in Hamline's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, for his courage in standing up for intellectual freedom, given for de la Peña's efforts to fight censorship through words and actions. 

"Matt de la Peña is a frequent participant in NCTE. The experiences of de la Peña illustrate why NCTE's longstanding and vocal commitment to intellectual freedom is a cornerstone of the organization's beliefs and practices," NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick said. 

De la Peña, a Newbery Medal-winning author of six young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, The Living, and The Hunted) and two picture books (A Nation’s Hope and Last Stop on Market Street), has worked to ensure that children of all ages have access to books, especially books that are reflections of themselves.

In 2012, his novel Mexican WhiteBoy was banned from the Tucson, Arizona, schools as a result of the termination of the Mexican American Studies programs. Scheduled to speak to a group of high school students in Tucson shortly after, de la Peña donated his speaking fee to buy copies of Mexican WhiteBoy, which he gave to the students. “I want to give back what was taken away,” he noted.

NCTE members "applaud and honor Matt de la Peña not only for creating books that offer students a 'secret place to feel' but also for standing up for all students' right to read!"

Read the full announcement here.