|Matt de la Peña; photo: Heather Waraksa|
High school is tough on everyone, even the future Man of Steel. Clark Kent knows he is different from the other kids in school. When Clark saves a new kid's life, it seems like he may have sparked a real friendship. Unfortunately, Bryan is the heir to the Mankins Corporation, the wealthy business buying up all of the farms in Smallville, Kansas and beyond. There are rumors they're doing secret experiments, and the migrant workers in town have begun picketing outside their headquarters. The unrest in town is building, and so are Clark's abilities. It's time for his father to tell him the truth: Clark isn't from Earth. Clark must decide what this news means to him, how this information will shape his identity and what's really going on with Mankins Corporation before it's too late. The seeds of hate have been planted, but the boy who will one day become Superman is learning to weed out the evil.
We asked author Matt de la Peña what drew him to this particular super hero.
"Superman is the ultimate immigrant. Throughout my writing career I've been drawn to stories that feature protagonists who are somehow marginalized, whether it be racially, economically or politically. I'm usually following a mixed-race kid from a poor, border town, but marginalization can be found anywhere, including a place like Smallville, Kansas. So in a way, Superman's coming of age fits right into my creative sweet spot. But there's another reason I was drawn to the Superman story: his powers. I mostly write realistic fiction. And here was a chance to work with a character who can fly and punch through walls. The thought of exploring these powers within the context of the immigration angle was just incredibly exciting."
Matt de la Peña is a New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning author. He has penned six critically acclaimed YA novels, including Mexican WhiteBoy and The Living, for which he received the Pura Belpré Author Honor Award. His picture book Last Stop on Market Street was awarded a Newbery Medal, and illustrator Christian Robinson's artwork received a Caldecott Honor. De la Peña lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his family. He teaches creative writing and often visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.