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In Memoriam: Richard Peck

I still remember my very first Scholastic book fair. I remember checking the pocket of my corduroys every few minutes for the money my mother had given me when I left for school that morning. It was tightly wrapped in the preview flier Ms. Razmus had passed out the day before, and every so often I would give it a squeeze just to prove it was still there. My worry would ease when I heard the telltale crinkle and rustle of paper. Every lesson that day seemed endless for a child who loved books. I had circled so many books, and I had money for them all because my parents are book people too, but the only one I remember is The Ghost Belonged to Me by Richard Peck. I still have that book. It’s a bit dog eared and the pages are yellow from the passage of time, but it’s been read and read again by me, by my children, to my children. Those were seemingly simpler times and the world seemed swelling with possible and drunk on sunshine. I had the privilege, the honor, and the giddy joy of telling Mr. Peck that story in May of 2016 in Chicago. I do not exaggerate when I say it was one of the very best days. Hearing him, seeing him, meeting him was worth the late night flight into Chicago and the return home less that 24-hours later. I went for Richard Pack. I’m so glad I did. Richard Peck died on May 23, 2018 and if I’m being honest the news brought me to tears. I am a fan. He wrote it. I read it. And my life went on that way for all these years. He won’t be writing anymore, and now the world feels a little emptier, and now for the very first time I feel little pieces of my childhood slipping away. I am heartbroken, but I am also grateful for all the hours and all the stories and all the life and laughter I found in his words. Thank you, Mr. Peck. Rest.

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