Robert Newton Peck was born in Vermont on February 17, 1928. The son of hardworking rural people, he was raised on a farm and worked as a lumberjack, in a papermill, killing hogs, and as an advertising executive before the publication of his first book in 1973. He also served as a machine-gunner in the U.S. Army 88th Infantry Division between 1945 and 1947. He received a B.A. degree from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, in 1953, and studied law at Cornell University. A prolific writer of fiction for young people (Peck has written fifteen books in the last ten years), his work is rooted in the rural tradition of his boyhood. His first book, A Day No Pigs Would Die was named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults in 1973. Soup and Me, his next book, was made into an ABC After School Special. Soup on Ice was honored with the Child Study Association of America children's book of the year citation in 1987. This book also received the Michigan Council of Teachers in 1984. Peck's book A Day No Pigs Would Die, has been banned by many libraries and schools because of its passage on pig breeding. Yet, despite the controversy the New York Times reported in 1998 that libraries everywhere are featuring special programs and exhibitions calling attention to the banning of books as a threat to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Peck directs the annual Writers Conference at Rollins College.