Richard Peck is an American novelist known for his prolific contributions to modern young adult literature. He was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2001 for his novel A Year Down Yonder.
Richard Peck was born in 1934 in Decatur, Illinois, a town he describes as quiet and safe. His mother, Virginia, was a dietitian and his father, Wayne, was a merchant who often rode his Harley Davidson to work.
Richard was crazy about cars when he was young and took pride in the fact that he could instantly identify the make and model of each on-coming car. He went to college in Exeter, England and then served a stint in the army. He then became a junior high school teacher. He taught in Illinois and in New York City. Then his real steps into the writing profession began. While still teaching, he wrote a column on the architecture of historic neighborhoods for the New York Times and contributed articles to the Saturday Review of Literature and the Chicago Tribune as well as other magazines and newspapers. In 1971 he left teaching to become a full time writer. His first novel was Don't Look and It Won't Hurt (Henry Holt, 1999 ISBN 0805063161. Order Info.).
For many years Richard Peck signed on as a temporary lecturer for around the world cruises. These trips enabled him to travel, to teach and to meet people who sometimes appear in his books. He advises young people who want to become writers to get to know people who don't conform to the group. This is a common theme in many of his novels.