Matt de la Peña & Corinna Luyken’s New Collaboration: PATCHWORK Cover Reveal

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Ready to see the cover of PATCHWORK, the picture book collaboration between Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and New York Times bestselling illustrator Corinna Luyken?

PATCHWORK by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Corinna Luyken, will be published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on August 30, 2022.

PATCHWORK Cover Reveal

English Cover

Spanish Cover

Matt de la Peña & Corinna Luyken’s New Collaboration: PATCHWORK Cover Reveal

Publisher Description:  In profound, uplifting verse and sumptuous artwork, beloved creators Matt de la Peña and Corinna Luyken explore the endless possibilities each child contains: A young dancer may grow into a computer coder; a basketball player might become a poet; a class clown may one day serve as an inspiring teacher; and today’s quiet empath might be tomorrow’s great leader. Here’s a profound and uplifting new classic with an empowering message for readers of all ages: Your story is still being written.

AUTHOR: Matt de la Peña

photo credit: Heather Waraksa

Matt de la Peña is the author of the Newbery Medal-winning Last Stop on Market StreetMilo Imagines the WorldCarmela Full of WishesLove, and A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis, as well as a number of critically acclaimed young adult novels. You can visit Matt at or follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mattdelapena.

ILLUSTRATOR: Corinna Luyken

photo credit: Corinna Luyken

Corinna Luyken is the author-illustrator of the New York Times bestseller My HeartThe Tree In Me, and The Book of Mistakes. She is also the illustrator of Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse, Nothing in Common, and Something Good. You can visit Corinna at or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @corinnaluyken.

Interview with Matt de la Peña & Corinna Luyken

Now, to get you even MORE excited about this book, let’s hear from Matt and Corinna.

Melissa: Tell us about your forthcoming picture book collaboration, PATCHWORK.

Both: PATCHWORK is a celebration of each young person’s unique, sometimes messy, always surprising, passage through childhood. We are more than a single note played again and again, we are a symphony.

Melissa: Matt, what inspired you to write PATCHWORK?

Matt: I feel like we’re living in an age of specialization. Young folks have come to believe they should know exactly who they are, and where they’re going, at an alarmingly young age. I wanted to write a book that honors the freedom of childhood, that dignifies the missteps, the twists and turns, and all the complicated emotions that accompany physical and emotional growth. Should childhood really be a training ground for adulthood? Or is it a time for curiosity and play and self-discovery? These are the questions I was trying to explore in PATCHWORK.

Melissa: You’ve collaborated with a number of illustrators in the past, including Christian Robinson and Loren Long. How was working with Corinna different (or the same) than your previous experiences?

Matt: I’ve been fortunate to work with wonderful, visual storytellers who have transformed my quiet, little poems into real-life picture books. Corinna has done this same thing with PATCHWORK. I’ve loved her books for a long time (I read them all with my own kids!), and I’m honored to finally get to collaborate with her. The way Corinna uses color in PATCHWORK is brilliant. The young person in each vignette becomes visually more multidimensional on their journey, perfectly illustrating their emotional journey. And she found a beautiful way to illustrate how each of our individual stories becomes part of a larger collective. I can’t wait for readers to see what Corinna has done in Patchwork.

Melissa: Corinna, can you tell us about the use of color in this cover and throughout the story in PATCHWORK?

Corinna: Color is usually my way into a project.  It’s the first thing I think about, the first thing I need to have finalized in my mind before I can build the rest of the visual world of a book.

As an illustrator, I love using color to communicate with the reader in ways that go beyond the limits of language.  Color is amazing because it can bypass the thinking part of the reader’s mind and go straight to the heart.  With PATCHWORK, early in the brainstorming part of the process, I realized I could also use color as the framework for the book.  And so each sequence begins with a very simple color palette that builds and grows as the story moves along.

The cover image is from a moment near the end of the book when these solid blocks of color (and pattern) have grown tangled and lopsided.  It’s a moment of transition and possibility.

Melissa: How is the process of working on a picture book different when you are both author and illustrator vs. collaborating with an author, like Matt?

Corinna: The processes are very different, but they feed each other.  With my own projects, there are so many moving parts that the possibilities can be overwhelming. But I love being able to use words and images simultaneously when trying to solve a story problem.

With collaboration the words are settled, so I get to focus completely on the art— letting the visual puzzle-solving part of my brain focus on how to bring depth to the story.  Usually, there is very little interaction between an author and illustrator once the project has been handed over. But with PATCHWORK, Matt and I had some great conversations about the book’s themes early on.

Collaborating also gives me a chance to work on projects I never would have written. Which always helps me grow as an illustrator (I never would have written a scene in a book where I had to draw someone coding at a computer— but the challenge was part of what made that page fun to paint!)

Melissa: What message do you hope readers walk away with after reading PATCHWORK?

Corinna: When I think of a reader walking away from a book, I think less of a message and more of a feeling I want to leave them with.

The first time I read PATCHWORK, I was struck by how the text carries us through a series of individual stories that culminate in an expanded notion of what it means to be a beautiful human being.  With the art, I wanted to play off of this, and so each character begins with a single color, but as their story evolves the colors that tell their story deepen and expand.  My hope is that by the end of this collection of stories, the reader is left with a feeling that there is something beautiful, something expansive, within each and every one of us.

Matt: I think Walt Whitman had it right when he famously declared: “I contain multitudes.” We all contain multitudes. That’s what makes each of our individual lives so fascinating. But there’s a bigger picture, too. We all fit into this intricate patchwork of humanity, where no single identity is more beautiful or worthy than another.

Interview Matt de la Peña & Corinna Luyken’s New Collaboration PATCHWORK


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