As a child
Chris was born in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, where there are farms and coal-mines. However, he grew up on the outskirts of Chicago, where there are construction sites, storm-sewers and slag-heaps, which he and his friends called the “Ding Dong Dinosaur Bones”. But he also lived in Hamburg, Germany, when he was six and when he was twelve. There are beautiful woods to walk in, buses to take by yourself, and a lovely school which teaches you how to make things by hand. In both places, Chris drew pictures and collected a variety of small animals, like crayfish and turtles. He never liked crickets, though; for some reason their chirping depressed him.
As an adult
Chris went to St Olaf College, where he studied biology. His reward for hard work in the science department was a class, now and then, in the art department. After college, he went back to Germany for a bit, and then back to the Caribbean Islands, and finally, to the University of Michigan to study medicine. But he didn’t study medicine; that is, on the first day of class, he called to say he wouldn’t be coming. Travel had made him wiser. Instead of taking his reward after the hard work, this time he skipped the hard work part, and went straight for the reward: he decided to be an artist.
As an artist
Chris Raschka has written and/or illustrated over thirty books. “I never imagined, as a child, that this is how I would be spending my grown-up years. However, it feels very comfortable. I like books very much. I like to have them around me. I like books with bookplates, with ‘Dear Molly – here’s something for your winter break, I think you will like’ written inside, on the end papers. Recently, in a book sale, I found a beautiful dictionary that belonged to an old neighbour of mine, recently deceased. I bought it so I could keep it safe for her. Also I like to paint.”
Things you didn't know about Chris Raschka
- Wednesday morning is oatmeal morning.
- The games he and his son play, mostly, are these: “Jail Tag”, “Calculated Hide and Seek” and something called “The B.F.”.
- In the evenings, when he first sets foot in his apartment, his son likes to sneak up on him and shout “Aaahhh!”. He hates that.
- His favourite solitaire games are “The Small Napoleon” and “Grounds for Divorce”.
- He likes a small cup of strong coffee.
- He dislikes a large cup of weak coffee.
- He has knitted nine sweaters and one sock.
- All but two of the sweaters are too large.
- He is married to a beautiful red-haired woman with very large feet.
- His surfboard is a McTavish.