Photo Credit: Heather Waraksa

Matt de la Peña visited Hope College’s campus on November 9. He spoke to 400 elementary students in the morning, a college English class, and to the public in the evening. His message was funny and inspiring since it touched on why readings matters, a topic that is near and dear to our program. 

During his visit, participants learned that anyone can be an inspiration to others. In college, a professor gave de la Peña a book (he later revealed it was The Color Purple) and told him the book made her think of him. He gave himself until the end of college to read it and eventually in his senior year he read it on a basketball trip. The book touched him and he continued to read books like this title. 

Later on, de la Peña’s dad asked him to read the book he just finished and this eventually led to his father, who didn’t read often to become a book lover and go back to school to be a teacher. 

De la Peña shared that he didn’t expect to be a writer early in his life, but he gravitated towards these classes in college and discovered a passion for it. A few of his professors submitted an application on his behalf to graduate schools in creative writing and he was accepted to two of them. 

Now de la Peña travels the country to speak about his books and inspire others to follow their passions. 

From this message, the audience learns that simple things like recommending a book to a student does matter and can even change the trajectory of someone’s life. This happened in both de la Peña’s and his dad’s cases. The Big and Little Read Lakeshore believes that reading matters and Matt de la Peña certainly illustrated this when he spoke as part of our program.

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