Author Matt De La Pena meets virtually with Rialto High School Students!
Recently, English teacher Mrs. Lynne Peabody and RSP teacher Ms. Laurette Maya organized a virtual meet and greet with author Matt De La Pena for their students. Students in Ms. Peabody’s class read several of De La Pena’s books including: Ball Don’t Lie, We Were Here, and Superman: Dawnbreaker.
Matt De La Pena is an inspiration to young adults. As he answered questions, he was open and honest, and he talked about his hardships, what inspired him, what he’s currently writing, what he’s excited about seeing and doing, and more. The students enjoyed meeting De La Pena.
Kevin Logotala, a junior, asked De La Pena what his inspiration for writing Superman was? De La Pena told Logotala that Superman had to be kept a secret for a while because immigration was a big thing. His main motive/purpose of writing Superman was in light of being an immigrant because “it would be like Superman was saving people in life and in the story.”
Logotala expresses his feelings about the book saying, “Oh I loved it. I love the book, it was interesting. It showed another side of Superman outside of being a superhero.” He also said the book resonated with him because he’s Polynesian and “it's a bit of a big topic [immigraition],” and that “it was cool to see Superman saving diverse people.”
Junior Angel Calvillo said, “I really enjoyed the meeting with Matt de la Pena, it was really inspirational for me, worthwhile, and I really enjoyed talking to him.” Similarly, junior Armando Vazquez shared, “He seems cool. Chill guy. Learned a lot about him today, it was interesting.” Junior Eduardo Castro also added, “It wasn't life changing but it was day changing. He was a really nice guy, nice and respectful. He didn’t make fun of my stupid questions.”
Ms. Maya mentioned that she was really excited, for the kids and for herself. She loved the fact that the students were able to “put a face to the book” and realize that it was written by a real person who happened to go through similar experiences mentioned in the book.
Mrs. Peabody said that Matt De La Pena’s books were “approachable” and “have modern topics.” She also mentioned, “We read these books with the idea that we would later ask him questions.” Mrs. Peabody credits RHS principal Dr. Sweeney, for allowing her and Ms. Maya to buy the books, and De La Pena for being receptive, kind, and interacting with the students without requiring payment. Overall, she, Ms. Maya, and most of the students who attended found the meet and greet to be a wonderful experience.