Robert Newton Peck, whose birthday is February 17th, was born and raised on a farm in Vermont. Educated in a one-room schoolhouse, he gained an early appreciation of the value of reading and writing. His jobs have included lumberjack, paper mill worker, hog killer, and advertising executive.
His first book, A Day No Pigs Would Die (1973), reflected the sometimes harsh facts of farm life. Its realism and lack of sentimentality are a central factor in much of his writing. The book won the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults award in 1973. Peck's second book, Soup (1974), about a boy and his pal, spawned 13 sequels and led to an ABC After School Special. Whether based on his own personal experience or set in earlier historical eras, his books feature coming-of-age as a major theme.
Although Peck received a BA degree and attended a year of law school, he recognizes the value of real life experience. He has said, "If I possess any wisdom at all, most of it was given me by a mother, father, an aunt, and a grandmother . . . none of whom could read or write."