Finding the Music in Your Storytelling Voice

How to Make Your Manuscript Sing

Whose stories do we choose to tell and why? And from what angle? Who owns the poetry in our stories and how do we get the voice right? The success or failure of a picture book often comes down to the microscopic decisions we make on the language level. It's not enough to simply get the story right. We must get the music right, too.

In this 45-minute keynote address from Picture Book Summit 2016, Matt de la Peña takes us on the journey of Last Stop on Market. From first flat draft to the award-winning final book, Matt shares the choices he made to bring music to the story.

Enjoy this fascinating inside look at the 2016 Newbery Award Winner Last Stop on Market Street.

Your Instructor

Matt de la Peña
Matt de la Peña

Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of six young adult novels: Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You, The Living and The Hunted.

His first picture book, A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis (Illustrated by Kadir Nelson) was released by Dial Press. His first middle grade story Believing in Brooklyn appeared in Guys Read: Thriller, edited by Jon Scieszka.

His second picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, was awarded the 2016 Newbery Medal. Illustrated by the great Christian Robinson, Last Stop on Market Street was also awarded a 2016 Caldecott Honor and a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book.

He has also published short fiction and essays in various newspapers and literary journals, including: The New York Times, NPR.org, The Writer, Pacific Review, One Teen Story, The Vincent Brothers Review, Chiricú, George Mason Review, and Allegheny Literary Review.

Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and teaches creative writing at colleges and high schools around the country.

Course Curriculum

  Finding the Music in Your Storytelling Voice Video
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