Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Richard Wayne Peck  

Pen Name: Richard Peck

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children;

Born: 1934 in Decatur, Illinois

Died: May 23, 2018 in New York City

-- Richard Wayne Peck on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Peck was born and raised in Decatur. He also attended Southern Illinois University and taught high school in Glenbrook and Northbrook.

Biographical and Professional Information

Richard Peck was most noted for his young adult novels. Mr. Peck passed away on May 23, 2018 in New York City. He grew up during World War II and credited his writing career to the many hours he spent with his mother reading books.

He was educated at Exeter University in England and also attended DePauw University and Southern Illinois University. His first experiences with writing were writing sermons for the chaplains while he was in the U.S. Army.

He spent many years teaching college and high school English before publishing his first book. This novel was written for the students he met as a teacher. Many of his books won awards, and several have been filmed.

Peck lived in New York City.

Published Works

  • Don't Look and It Won't Hurt, 1972
  • Dreamland Lake, 1973
  • Through a Brief Darkness, 1973
  • Representing Super Doll, 1974
  • Are You in the House Alone?, 1976
  • The Ghost Belonged to Me, 1976
  • Ghosts I Have Been, 1977
  • Monster Night at Grandma's House, 1977
  • Father Figure, 1978
  • Secrets of the Shopping Mall, 1979
  • Amanda, 1980
  • Close Enough to Touch, 1981
  • New York Time, 1981
  • The Dreadful Future of Blossom Culp, 1983
  • This Family of Women, 1983
  • Remembering the Good Times, 1985
  • Blossom Culp and the Sleep of Death, 1986
  • Princess Ashley, Laural Leaf, 1987
  • Write a Tale of Terror, Pieces of Learning, 1987
  • Those Summer Girls I Never Met, Laural Leaf, 1988
  • Voices After Midnight, Dell , 1990
  • Unfinished Portrait of Jessica, Laural Leaf, 1991
  • Anonymously Yours, Somon and Schuster, 1991
  • Bel-Air Bambi and the Mall Rats, Delacorte Press (New York), 1993
  • Love and Death at the Mall: Teaching and Writing for the Literate Young, 1994
  • The Last Safe Place on Earth, Delacorte Press, 1995
  • Lost in Cyberspace, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York), 1995
  • The Great Interactive Dream Machine, Another Adventure in Cyberspace, Dial Books, 1996
  • London Holiday, Thorndike Press, 1998
  • A Long Way from Chicago, A Novel in Stories, Dial Books, 1998
  • Strays Like Us, Dial Books, 1998
  • A Year Down Under, Dial Books, 2000
  • Fair Weather, Dial Books, 2001
  • Invitations to the World: Teaching and Writing for the Young, Dial, 2002
  • The River Between Us, Penguin Group, 2003
  • The Teacher's Funeral, Dial Books, 2004
  • Past Perfect, Present Tense, Dial Books, 2004
  • Here Lies The Librarian, Penguin Group, 2006
  • On the Wings of Heroes, Penguin Group, 2007
  • A Season of Gifts, 2009
  • Three Quarters Dead 2010
  • Secrets at Sea, 2011
  • The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail, 2013
  • The Best Man, Dial Books, 2016

Selected Titles At Your Library

Don't look and it won't hurt /
ISBN: 0440212138. OCLC Number:

Dell,. New York :. 1992, ©1972.

A teenage girl struggles to understand her place within her family and in the world.

Dreamland Lake /
ISBN: 0833541196. OCLC Number:

Puffin Books,. New York :. 2000.

Best friends since grade school, thirteen-year-old Flip and Brian find that their friendship and their lives are forever changed after they discover a dead man near Dreamland Lake.

Representing Super Doll /
ISBN: 014038555X. OCLC Number:

Puffin Books,. New York :. 1997, ©1974.

After being involved in the brittle, superficial world of a beauty contest, a country girl appreciates even more the solid values of her Indiana farm life.

Are you in the house alone? /
ISBN: 0141306939. OCLC Number:

Viking Press,. New York :. 1976.

A sixteen-year-old girl with a steady boyfriend suddenly begins receiving threatening phone calls while she is babysitting and anonymous notes in her high school locker.

The ghost belonged to me :
ISBN: 0140386718. OCLC Number:

. .

In 1913 in the Midwest a quartet of characters share adventures from exploding steamboats to "exorcizing" a ghost.

Ghosts I have been :
ISBN: 0141310960. OCLC Number:

Viking Press,. New York :. 1977.

Blossom Culp's gift of second sight, which she discovers gradually, leads her into some unusual adventures.

Monster night at Grandma's house /
ISBN: 0803729049. OCLC Number:

Dial Books for Young Readers,. New York :. 2003.

Daytime at Grandma's house is fine, but bedtime is terrifying when a monster seems to be about.

Father figure :
ISBN: 014037969X. OCLC Number:

Viking Press,. New York :. 1978.

After being a father figure for years, Jim and his younger brother are reunited with their divorced father and Jim is forced to find a new role for himself.

Secrets of the shopping mall /
ISBN: 0440402700. OCLC Number:

Dell,. New York :. 1989, ©1979.

Two eighth-grade loners decide to take up residence in a department store. Little do they know that theirs is not an original idea.

Amanda/Miranda /
ISBN: 0141312173. OCLC Number:

Dial Books,. New York :. 1999.

In 1911 in England, eighteen-year-old Mary Cooke is hired as personal maid to the willful and arrogant Amanda Whitwell and is astonished to find that her new employer is her near-double, a coincidence that has lasting consequences for Mary, especially when she accompanies Amanda on the Titanic's fateful voyage.

Close enough to touch /
ISBN: 0385281455. OCLC Number:

Delacorte Press,. New York :. ©1991.

A seventeen-year-old boy trying to recover from the loss of his girlfriend meets an unusual girl.

New York time /
ISBN: 0440063469. OCLC Number:

Delacorte Press,. New York, N.Y. :. ©1981.

Barbara Renfrew has a pretty good life on Chicago's North Shore. Then her husband is transferred to New York City and her marriage goes down the drain.

The dreadful future of Blossom Culp /
ISBN: 0141310944. OCLC Number:

Delacorte Press,. New York :. ©1983.

Blossom, not the most popular member of her freshman class in 1914, travels ahead seventy years, and returns in time to make Halloween a memorable night for her classmates and teachers.

This family of women /
ISBN: 070898214X. OCLC Number:

Charnwood,. Leicester :. 1984, ©1983.

Remembering the good times /
ISBN: 0440973392. OCLC Number:

Bantam Doubleday Dell,. New York :. 1986, ©1985.

Trav, Kate, and Buck make up a trio during their freshman year in high school, but their special friendship may not be enough to save Trav as he pressures himself relentlessly to succeed, in his own eyes as well as in the eyes of his parents and the world. A strong friendship between 2 boys & a girl is destroyed when one of them commits suicide. How well do we know our best friends? They were the best of friends. Sixteen-year-old Buck Mendenhall first met Kate Lucas the summer before seventh grade. In eighth grade they made friends with the brilliant and wealthy newcomer, Trav Kirby. They didn't seem to need anyone else. Mostly they looked forward to the good times shared at Kate's house. It didn't matter if their classmates wondered about them; no one could unravel their binding ties. At least that's what they thought. When one of the trio finds the future too great a threat, the other two can only wonder: "How well did we know our best friend?" "With humanity, wit, and a quiet intensity, Peck's novel depicts suicide as a turning point inward of the pressures in an alienated and violent society."

Blossom Culp and the sleep of death /
ISBN: 0440406765. OCLC Number:

Dell Pub.,. New York :. ©1986.

Blossom, high-school freshman and possessor of "second sight," helps an Egyptian princess, dead for 3500 years, to regain her tomb, and in addition saves a suffragette school teacher from losing her job in 1914.

Princess Ashley /
ISBN: 044020206X. OCLC Number:

Dell,. New York :. 1988, ©1987.

In her new high school, where her mother has taken a job as counselor, Chelsea experiences joys and sorrows as she makes choices about new friends and learns they are not always what they seem.

Write a tale of terror /
ISBN: 0913839604. OCLC Number:

Book Lures,. O'Fallon, Mo. :. ©1987.

Those summer girls I never met /
ISBN: 0440204577. OCLC Number:

Dell,. New York, N.Y. :. 1989, ©1988.

Drew and Steph, ages almost-sixteen and fourteen, reluctantly take a Baltic cruise with their heretofore unknown grandmother, a singing star of the 1940s, and have the experience of a lifetime.

Voices after midnight :
ISBN: 0440403782. OCLC Number:

Dell,. New York, N.Y. :. 1990, ©1989.

Living with their sister and parents in a rented house in New York City during the summer, Chad and Luke uncover a mystery involving the former tenants of the house when the two brothers slip back in time to 1888.

Unfinished portrait of Jessica /
ISBN: 0440218861. OCLC Number:

Dell,. New York :. 1993, ©1991.

A trip to Mexico to visit the divorced vagabond father whom she idolizes cures fourteen-year-old Jessica of certain illusions and helps her reconstruct her relationship with her mother.

Anonymously yours /
ISBN: 0671741624. OCLC Number:

J. Messner,. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. :. 1991.

The popular author describes how he grew up in Decatur, Illinois, went into teaching, and eventually became a writer, incorporating his earlier experiences into novels intended to reach and change young readers.

Bel-Air Bambi and the Mall Rats /
ISBN: 0440219256. OCLC Number:

Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers,. New York, N.Y. :. 1995, ©1993.

Bambi, Buffie, and Brick, three totally cool siblings from Los Angeles, move with their parents to Hickory Fork, a small town terrorized by a high school gang.

Love and death at the mall :
ISBN: 0385311737. OCLC Number:

Delacorte Press,. New York :. 1994.

Peck shares insights gleaned from student writing, reader mail, and his "lightning raids" on schools and libraries across America.

The last safe place on earth /
ISBN: 0440220076. OCLC Number:

Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers,. New York :. ©1995.

Fifteen-year-old Todd sees his perfect suburban world start to unravel when his little sister has her mind poisoned by a member of a fundamentalist sect and he begins to notice signs of censorship in his community.

Lost in cyberspace /
ISBN: 0140378561. OCLC Number:

Puffin Books,. New York :. 1997.

While dealing with changes at home, sixth-grader Josh and his friend Aaron use the computer at their New York prep school to travel through time, learning some secrets from the school's past and improving Josh's home situation.

London holiday /
ISBN: 0670873683. OCLC Number:

Viking,. New York, N.Y. :. 1998.

The lives of three American women are changed by a holiday in London. Interior decorator Julia finds happiness with a lord, divorced Margo lands a doctor and socialite Les opens a business.

A long way from Chicago :
ISBN: 0141303522. OCLC Number:

Dial Books for Young Readers,. New York :. ©1998.

A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.

Strays like us /
ISBN: 014130619X. OCLC Number:

Dial Books,. New York :. 1998.

When her drug-addict mother can no longer care for her, twelve-year-old Molly comes to stay with her great-aunt and slowly begins to realize that others in the small town also feel as if they don't belong.

A year down yonder /
ISBN: 0142300705. OCLC Number:

Dial Books for Young Readers,. New York :. 2000.

In 1937, during the Depression, fifteen-year-old Mary Alice, initially apprehensive about leaving Chicago to spend a year with her fearsome, larger-than-life grandmother in rural Illinois, gradually begins to better understand and admire her grandmother's unusual qualities.

Fair weather :
ISBN: 0142500348. OCLC Number:

Dial Books,. New York :. ©2001.

In 1893, thirteen-year-old Rosie and members of her family travel from their Illinois farm to Chicago to visit Aunt Euterpe and attend the World's Columbian Exposition which, along with an encounter with Buffalo Bill and Lillian Russell, turns out to be a life-changing experience for everyone.

The river between us /
ISBN: 0803727356. OCLC Number:

. .

During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois.

The teacher's funeral :
ISBN: 0803727364. OCLC Number:

Dial Books,. New York :. ©2004.

In rural Indiana in 1904, fifteen-year-old Russell's dream of quitting school and joining a wheat threshing crew is disrupted when his older sister takes over the teaching at his one-room schoolhouse after mean, old Myrt Arbuckle "hauls off and dies."

Past perfect, present tense :
ISBN: 0803729987. OCLC Number:

Dial Books,. New York :. 2004.

A collection of short stories, including two previously unpublished ones, that deal with the way things could be.

Here lies the librarian /
ISBN: 0803730802. OCLC Number:

Dial Books,. New York :. ©2006.

Fourteen-year-old Eleanor "Peewee" McGrath, a tomboy and automobile enthusiast, discovers new possibilities for her future after the 1914 arrival in her small Indiana town of four young librarians.

On the wings of heroes /
ISBN: 0803730810. OCLC Number:

Dial Books,. New York :. ©2007.

A boy in Illinois remembers the homefront years of World War II, especially his two heroes--his brother in the Air Force and his father, who fought in the previous war.

The mouse with the question mark tail :
ISBN: 0803738382. OCLC Number:

. .

A very small mouse of unknown origins runs away from school in the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace shortly before the celebration of Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, celebrating her sixty years on the British throne.

The best man /
ISBN: 0803738390. OCLC Number:

. .

"Archer has four important role models in his life--his dad, his grandfather, his uncle Paul, and his favorite teacher, Mr. McLeod. When Uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod get married, Archer's sixth-grade year becomes one he'll never forget"--


Are You in the House Alone?

  • Edgar Allan Poe Award, Best Juvenile, 1977
  • A Long Way from Chicago

  • Finalist, Newbery Honor National Book Award, 1999
  • A Year Down Yonder

  • Newbery Medal, 2001
  • The River Between Us

  • Scott O`Dell Historical Fiction Award, 2001
  • Fair Weather

  • Chicago Tribune Prize for Young Adult Fiction, 2002
  • On the Wings of Heroes

  • ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2015
  • The Best Man

  • E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor, 2017
  • Student Book Award, Maine, 2017
  • Honor Award for Fiction, Boston Globe-Horn, 2017
  • "Best of 2016" lists

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    , contact publisher Delacorte Press 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza New York, New York 10017