John Peterson (1924 - 2002) was an American author of children's books during the 20th century. He is best known as the creator of The Littles, which began as a series of books in 1967, later adapted into a long-running animated cartoon series by DiC Entertainment. Peterson was also the author of The Secret Hide-Out, a popular Scholastic Books title in the 1960s and 1970s.
John Lawrence Peterson was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania on February 10, 1924, and attended Pratt Institute before volunteering and serving as a paratrooper of the 11th Airborne Division in World War II. After the war he returned to Pratt Institute and graduated in 1948. He lived in the Clinton Hill district of Brooklyn, New York with his wife Holly (Simmonds), also a Pratt graduate, where he had sons John Christopher, Matthew James, and Joel David Barnes, and a daughter Elizabeth Holly. Peterson later moved to Hankins, New York. His son Chris had nine children who have since produced seven great-grandchildren. Peterson died in November 2002 at the age of seventy-eight.
John Peterson was an illustrator for advertising and magazines for two decades before writing his first book, Tony's Treasure Hunt, later renamed Terry's Treasure Hunt. Another great Peterson title is How to Write Codes and Send Secret Messages featuring such timeless tricks as mirror writing, the reverse mirror code, and the use of invisible ink.
During his lifetime he spoke at US elementary schools, volunteered for the Boy Scout and directed a Sunday school class with his wife Holly at an Episcopal church.