In Memory: Richard Peck

By Robin Galbraith

Author Richard Peck died on May 23 in New York City. He was 84.

SCBWI Remembers Richard Peck. Peek:

“Mr. Peck was one of the giants of contemporary children’s literature. Among his many awards was the Newbery Medal in 2001 for A Year Down Yonder (Dial, 2000), a Newbery Honor in 1999 for A Long Way from Chicago (Dial,1998),…”

Remembering Author Richard Peck by Gwen Glazer from the New York Public Library. Peek:

“In 2002, he became the first children’s author to win a National Humanities Medal. He won the Edgar Allan Poe award for his…YA thriller, Are You in the House Alone? (Viking, 1976) and he was a finalist for the National Book Award multiple times.”

Obituary: Richard Peck by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly. Peek:

“He began teaching high school… in 1961. 

“Peck credits his years in the classroom as the spark for many of his book ideas….he wrote in his autobiography [Anonymously Yours (Simon & Schuster, 1991)].

‘They taught me… that people don’t read fiction to be educated. They read fiction to be reassured, to be given hope.'” 

Richard W. Peck April 5, 1934 – May 23, 2018 by Cheryl Peck from SCBWI.

“In 1971, he left teaching to pursue writing. In his memoir, Anonymously Yours (Simon & Schuster, 1991), he describes … 

‘I went home to write or die…In those first quiet months, I learned that the only way you can write is by the light of the bridges burning behind you.’”

Prize-winning Children’s Author Richard Peck Dies at 84 from The Associated Press. Peek:

“Willing from the start to address social issues, his debut novel Don’t Look and It Won’t Hurt (Holt Rinehart & Winston, 1972) was a story of teen pregnancy, later adapted into the acclaimed independent film ‘Gas Food Lodging.’”

From Peck’s Facebook Page. Peek:

“Mr. Peck was an accomplished speaker who traveled extensively to promote his books and the importance of reading. He spoke at conferences, schools and libraries in nearly every state, gave writing workshops, and visited classrooms to meet the students he wrote for.”

I Love You, a Bushel and a Peck: Remembering Richard by Elizabeth Bird from A Fuse #8 Production. Peek:

“The remarkable thing about Richard is that he ended his literary career on such a high note. The Best Man (Dial, 2016) could well be remembered as Richard’s bravest and most personal work.”

Richard Peck, Acclaimed Author for Young Readers, Dies at 84 by Richard Sandomir from The New York Times. Peek:

“…The Best Man (Dial, 2016), echoed his personal life more than most of his books. 

“A coming-of age story about a young boy, it deals in part with the same-sex marriage of his uncle and his teacher. 

“Around the time of its publication, the intensely private Mr. Peck publicly came out as gay.”

The Best Man: Richard Peck’s 2017 BGHB Fiction & Poetry Honor Speech by Richard Peck from The Horn Book. Peek:

 “I waited eighty years to write The Best Man (Dial, 2016) …when same-sex marriage legislation was implemented in my home state of Illinois. But have the youngest readers heard? There will be no word of it on the standardized test … I thought it was time for a story to open the door.”

Tributes Pour In for Richard Peck by Kara Yorio from School Library Journal. Peek:

“Peck spoke of the influences that made him a writer…  

“‘I marched into kindergarten on the day Hitler marched into Poland, but I was better prepared than he,’ Peck said in his [SLJ 2016 Keynote] address. ‘I’d had a mother who read to me and that’s why I’m here today.’”