Richard Peck’s A Long Way from Chicago was a National Book Award finalist and a Newbery silver medal winner. Its sequel, A Year Down Yonder, won the Newbery gold medal. The third novel featuring his most famous character, Grandma Dowdel, is A Season of Gifts.
The River Between Us, his Civil War story, was another National Book Award finalist and won the Scott O’Dell prize in historical fiction. He has written forty books for young readers, and as all-family reads.
He is the first children’s writer to receive a National Humanities Medal, in a White House ceremony in 2002. In 2005 he was a representative of American writers at the first Russian National Book Festival in Moscow.
Richard Peck was born in Decatur, Illinois. After attending Exeter University in England, he graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He was a soldier and a teacher. “I began writing on June 24th, 1971, after seventh period,” he says. ” I had to quit teaching in order to communicate with the young. But then the only way you can write is by the light of the bridges burning behind you.”
He now lives in New York and London, and his newest book, The Mouse With the Question Mark Tail, is set in Buckingham Palace.
Download the 2014 IRW Discussion Questions for A Long Way From Chicago.