Skip to main content

Peggy Parish


Peggy Parish

Peggy Parish was born in Manning, South Carolina on July 14, 1927. She developed a love for reading at an early age and, even as a child, enjoyed writing very much. She attended the University of South Carolina and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

At the time of her graduation, not many people were becoming teachers. While visiting her brother in Kentucky, Peggy was persuaded to enter the teaching profession. After teaching creative dancing to young children, she moved to Oklahoma and taught third grade in the Panhandle, in addition to teaching dance and producing community shows.

By this time, Peggy knew that she wanted to work in some creative field but still wasn't quite sure what she wanted to do. So she decided to move to New York, hoping to gain a sense of direction. She was fortunate enough to get a job in a progressive experimental school where creativity was stressed, the Dalton School in Manhattan. Once again she instructed third graders.

This is when Peggy began writing --- not only the material for her classes but stories of her own. Peggy's first book, MY GOLDEN BOOK OF MANNERS, was published in 1961; this was followed by LET'S BE INDIANS in 1962. A parent of one of the students, who was an editor of adult books, found out she was trying to break into the writing field and introduced her to an editor at Harper who helped improve her skills as a storyteller. This, of course, led to her biggest breakthrough --- the creation of Amelia Bedelia in 1963.

Peggy went on to write 11 more Amelia Bedelia books. She also wrote a number of mystery novels, as well as arts and crafts books. Among these other titles are HAUNTED HOUSE, DINOSAUR TIME, THE CHIMP THAT WENT TO SCHOOL and LET'S CELEBRATE: Holiday Decorations You Can Make (which includes instructions on making decorations for different holidays, such as an Easter bush, a log cabin and a valentine mobile). In addition to writing books, Peggy did television pieces on preschool education and children's books, wrote book review columns and led a number of in-service training workshops for teachers.

Peggy Parish