Solana Vista School hosts Newbery Medal-winning children’s author Matt de la Peña


Solana Vista students and staff were excited to host New York Times bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña on Oct. 21 at Solana Vista Elementary school.

De la Peña’s newest picture book released in August 2022, Patchwork, with art by New York Times bestselling illustrator Corinna Luyken, is a celebration of the endless possibilities contained within every child. Solana Vista’s Student Council led two assemblies where de la Peña read and discussed Patchwork with students, including a question and answer session at the conclusion of each presentation. Solana Vista’s learners have been studying de la Peña’s growing collection of children’s picture books such as Last Stop on Market Street, Carmela Full of Wishes, Love, and Milo Imagines the World.

The school was decorated in student-created art including paper-patchwork quilts, Mexican papel picado banners, and “Love is…” suncatchers; all art pieces are connected with de la Peña’s literature. Each student at Solana Vista received a signed copy of Patchwork to add to their home libraries thanks to partnerships with the Solana Beach PTA and Dad’s Club, The Book Catapult independent bookstore, and individual contributions from families.

De la Peña won the 2016 John Newbery Medal for his second picture book, Last Stop on Market Street. The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. A San Diego native of National City and Cardiff-by-the-Sea, de la Peña first began writing young adult novels before adding picture books to his portfolio. He teaches creative writing at San Diego State University, and travels the country for speaking engagements and to share his books at schools and colleges. Learn more about Matt de la Peña at

“To say our students are excited is an understatement,” remarked school principal Katie Zimmer in a news release prior to the event. “The opportunity to meet and engage with an award-winning author will have a lasting impact on our children as readers, writers, and citizens in our society.”

Photos by Jon Clark