Chris Raschka is the award-winning author and illustrator of more than 50 books for children. Raschka has received two Caldecott Medals (The Hello, Goodbye Window and the wordless A Ball for Daisy) as well as a Caldecott Honor Award for Yo? Yes! His fresh, lively and sometimes abstract illustration style captures the deeply-felt experiences of young children, the expressiveness of poetry (A Poke in the I) and the playfulness of urban music (Hip Hop Dog, Charlie Parker Played Be Bop).
You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Chris Raschka, or see a selected list of his children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)
Chris Raschka was raised in suburban Chicago and spent part of his childhood in Austria, his mother's homeland. His mother is a librarian and his father a historian, so books were an everyday part of his growing up years. As a child, Raschka was always drawing and painting, but he also loved animals and biology and that's what he studied in college (St. Olaf's in Northfield, Minnesota), thinking that he might become a physician. Soon after graduation, he realized that his soul was in art, not science and he moved to New York City to pursue a creative career. Raschka initially did magazine and newspaper work while making little paintings which he sold. He also started creating picture book dummies – one of the first eventually became the published book, Charlie Parker Played Be Bop, a highly original take on what be bop sounds like through words, characters and pictures.
Coffee, daily walks along the riverfront and dips into a local New York City museum all keep Raschka's creative spirit fresh. Read this description of a typical day in the working life of Chris Raschka written by his wife, Lydie, for the Horn Book.
Raschka lives in New York City with his wife, son and a variety of pets. Raschka often visits schools and libraries where he shares his process for creating pictures and stories. When not working on books, Raschka likes to walk and bike around the city, go to the opera, practice yoga and play the viola.