On Thursday, October 3, 2019, the Preschool and Lower School were excited to welcome Newbery winning author, Matt de la Peña.
In library classes, the students had been preparing for his visit. The fourth grade girls broke into teams and each read one of his four picture books, Last Stop on Market Street, Carmela Full of Wishes, Love, and Miguel and the Grand Harmony. They then worked together to prepare book talks that, in a collaboration with the Middle and Upper School Digital Media teacher, Mary Lane, were filmed in the Digital Media Center in front of the green screen.
These short book trailers were then aired in classrooms to build excitement for his visit. Prekindergarten through first grade made and wished on their own dandelions in honor of Carmela, and second through fourth grade made papel picado (Mexican tissue paper flags) that were displayed along the halls to welcome de la Peña.
Matt de la Peña inspired the students and faculty as he talked about not being a very good student when he was younger. He did not develop an interest for books until he went to college on a basketball scholarship. He was the first in his family to go to college. He also shared some baby pictures of himself and of his own children and explained that he started writing picture books (in addition to middle grade and young adult books) so that he could read to his own children.
Matt also talked about working with illustrator Christian Robinson, whom the Prekindergarten class studies every year and who Skyped with some of the classes last year. Matt then treated the audience to a special reading of Last Stop on Market Street complete with inside details about his inspiration for the book and secret details about the illustrations. Just as CJ’s grandmother helps him to see the beauty in the world, Matt encouraged everyone to see the beauty in life. After the presentation, Matt showed some of the teachers a sneak peek of his upcoming book with Christian Robinson.
It was truly a beautiful day!