Author Tells Stories To Students

Posted: January 25, 2013 at 5:28 a.m.

Matt de la Pena, right, talks Thursday with Har-Ber High School juniors after speaking at Southwest Junior High School in Springdale. De la Pena is an award-winning author of books for young adults including “Mexican WhiteBoy,” which the Har-Ber students are studying in their junior literature class. VISITING WRITER

A professor handed Matt de la Pena a book during his sophomore year at University of the Pacific and suggested he read it.

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Novel Controversy

Matt de la Pena’s 2008 novel, “Mexican WhiteBoy,” was removed from classrooms in the Tucson, Ariz., School District last year after the state passed a law making it illegal to teach courses in public schools that focus on a single ethnic group. A student at Tucson High School raised $1,000 to bring de la Pena to speak at the school after the district discontinued its Mexican-American studies program. The novel focuses on a teen boy striving to pitch for his high school baseball team.

De la Pena said Thursday as a writer, he used to think it’d be cool to have one of his books be banned. “But being banned from Mexican-American readers, that hurts,” he said.

Source: The University of Arkansas, Staff Report

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