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Robert Newton Peck Talks about Writing

Updated on July 13, 2015

Meet the Author - Robert Newton Peck

I just came from hearing Robert Newton Peck talk about writing. Wow, this was a surprise visit to our writing class in our Florida retirement community. What a privilege to hear one of the great children's and teen authors of today. He's the author of 65 books and you'll find them stocked into every public library and school library across the country.

His book, A Day No Pigs Would Die, jump-started his writing career though it was not his first writing effort. His series, Soup, is tremendously popular.

(all photo taken by Virginia Allain)

A Day No Pigs Would Die

Robert Newton Peck advised the retired writers to write about what they know. At age 32, he used his time on the commuter train each day to write about what he knew. He said that he knew cows and horses, so that's what his book was about. The result was A Day No Pigs Could Die.

A Day No Pigs Would Die
A Day No Pigs Would Die

A coming of age story that one young reviewer calls "a great book of life lessons." He added that he couldn't put it down.

 

Teacher's Guides for A Day No Pigs Could Die

There are so many ways to use this book with students. Here are some pages giving lesson plans for A Day No Pigs Could Die.

First We Learned about Robert Newten Peck's Life

  • He attended a one-room school for six year. His teacher, Miss Kelly, read a poem to them each morning. It might be Keats, Shelley, or Robert Burns.
  • His nickname is Rob.
  • He had a job in a lumber camp when he got out of the army after WWII. He called it "humanity's junkyard" as the rough and tumble life of a lumberjack drew many of the rejects from society.

Robert Newton Peck - Photo Gallery - Photos by Virginia Allain

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The women in my writing group were thrilled to meet this author that they had all read and admired so much. Kerry enjoys one-on-one discussion with a writer she holds in high esteem.
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The women in my writing group were thrilled to meet this author that they had all read and admired so much.
The women in my writing group were thrilled to meet this author that they had all read and admired so much.
Kerry enjoys one-on-one discussion with a writer she holds in high esteem.
Kerry enjoys one-on-one discussion with a writer she holds in high esteem.

Photo Op with Robert Newton Peck

Fellow writer, Jill from Canada, and I get our picture taken with the noted author.

I told him that I was a retired librarian and he responded that he liked librarians so much that he had married twice to librarians. His wife was with him and handled the crowd at the book sale table after his talk.

Writing Tips Shared by Robert Newton Peck

A big man, Rob Peck, proudly announced his age of 84 years. He exerted himself to share his knowledge of writing with a class of retirees in Florida.

  • Show, don't tell. Think of yourself as writing with a camera, not a pen and paper. After writing a paragraph, read it to see if you are showing or telling.
  • Don't make an outline. Create a character and write about him/her. It doesn't have to be a hero. Start writing and see where that character takes you.
  • Write about what you know. Everyone has a novel inside them waiting to be written.

A Sampling of Soup Books by Robert Newton Peck

Soup
Soup

Get your kid to read Soup and then they'll be hooked. There's a whole series featuring Soup.

Soup for President, Soup 1776, Soup on Ice, Soup's Hoops, just to name a few.

 

Peck's Autobiography - Weeds in Bloom

As an example of "show, don't tell," Robert Newton Peck recited from memory, "Best Friend." The essay about the death of his dog is included in his autobiography, Weeds in Bloom. He considers it his best writing, "You'll write your best when writing about something you love," he advised.

His Autobiography

Weeds in Bloom: Autobiography of an Ordinary Man
Weeds in Bloom: Autobiography of an Ordinary Man

I'm looking forward to reading this one. Since I'm working on some family history and stories to self-publish, I'm sure it will give me a feel for the style of writing that I'm trying to achieve.

 

Rarely a day goes by that I don't recommend one of his books to someone. - Evelyn Saenz (teacher)

How Many Books by Robert Newton Peck Have You Read?

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Robert Peck's Book, A Year Down Yonder - won the Newberry Award in 2001

A Year Down Yonder
A Year Down Yonder

Every public library should have a copy of this award winner. Read it to learn how Peck grabs the reader and keeps them coming back.

If you want your own copy to keep, you can get it from Amazon.

 

© 2012 Virginia Allain

Tell Me Your Experience Meeting an Author

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    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 4 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I love this - "Show, don't tell. Think of yourself as writing with a camera, not a pen and paper"

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      Oh, I love Robert Newton Peck's books! How exciting that you got to meet him and get some great tips! :)

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 5 years ago from McLaughlin

      What fun! I could always recommend a Robert Newton Peck book and the kids would love it. So excited you got to meet him in person!!!

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