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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Peter Sieruta

One of my favorite Sunday things is reading Peter Sieruta’s weekly post at Collecting Children’s Books.

I woke up this morning, grabbed my phone — yes, I’m one of those people who check their mail and twitter feed quickly each morning. A quick look at what’s going on.

I didn’t expect bad news; I didn’t expect personal bad news. On Child-Lit, Monica Edinger shared the news that Peter had died. For those unfamiliar with his blog, here is his self description from his blog: “I’ve been involved with children’s books most of my life, from my earliest days working in the grade school library to my current job cataloging children’s books for a university. I’ve published young adult fiction, as well as thousands of book reviews, and have contributed articles and essays to a number of magazines and reference volumes dealing with the topic of children’s books.” Peter, Betsy Bird (A Fuse #8 Production), and Jules Danielson (Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast) have been editing their joint book, about the history of children’s books.

I have never met Peter — not in the real world. The Internet was what possible our knowing each other; blog posts, comments, Facebook, an occasional email or Facebook message. (To those who tisk tisk The Internet and online relationships: I can’t even.) I know Peter was intensively private; but I hoped that, perhaps, at some point the opportunity would come to say “hello” in real life and to chat about the history of children’s and teen book (what he knew and remembered about the oft-neglected teen books published in the pre-The Outsider years!). I have a stumper of a book that I read in eighth grade that I’ve been meaning to ask him about, but all I can remember is one of the names of the main characters so I was hoping to remember more before bothering him with it.

Details are few right now; Peter’s brother announced the news on Facebook. Betsy (Goodbye Peter. Peter was my friend) and Jules (In Honor of Peter) have posts up, as does Monica (The World of Children’s Literature Has Just Lost Another Great One).

My sympathy and prayers to Peter’s family and friends.

About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. What a terrible shock and great sadness. I, too, hoped that someday I’d get to meet the man behind the blog.

  2. Peter helped me orient myself in the ongoing culture of books. He may not have had that sort of thing in mind, but it’s true. He shared his living cultural/institutional memory on his blog, which was always full of surprises and thoughtful connections. (Personally, I will never forget when he posted the photo of the books by his pillow, and there was The Freak Observer with all the other “real” books.)

  3. Lisa, I cannot believe he’s gone.

    Blythe, the loss of the man — and the loss of what he contributed — I’ve begun to get angry, not just sad.

  4. I had hoped to meet him one day, too.
    I remember how I found his blog. I was stumped about a book I’d read back in elementary school. I described it and he knew. Magic.

  5. I can’t believe it…(no words…) Oh, what a loss. I never knew him except through his blog and facebook and yet I feel it personally.


  1. […] better, here are posts from Jules at Seven Impossible Things; Betsy at A Fuse #8 Production; Liz at A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy; Monica at Educating Alice; and the Blue-Hearted Bookworm. Thank you, all, for sharing your […]