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.