In the fall of 2009, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) exhibited the works of two-time Caldecott medal winning artist Chris Raschka. Bravo! Chris Raschka showcases fifty-eight of Raschka’s works rendered in watercolor, pastel and charcoal pencil in his signature style.
Highly acclaimed writer, artist, and musician, Raschka is one of the country’s finest children’s book author-illustrators. He is the illustrator of over forty books, including the 2006 Caldecott Medal winner The Hello, Goodbye Window, the 2012 Caldecott Medal winning A Ball for Daisy and the1993 Caldecott honor book Yo! Yes?. Raschka’s work has been selected multiple times on The New York Times book review’s Ten Best Illustrated Books of the Year list.
When viewing Raschka’s art, movement and rhythm are evident in every piece. Bright colors, freeform shapes, active lines, busy compositions, childlike characters, abstract spatial arrangements, and white space draw one into the story. This exhibition highlights Raschka’s varied style, which sometimes evokes the feel of Impressionist art, at times Georgia O’Keefe’s style, and at times Paul Klee.
“I hope that my books create an openness to the world- an openness to cultural and racial differences. So far, I’ve looked at language and music and diversity. I want kids to be able to be positive toward these things. To enjoy difference and to not be frightened by it. In order to talk about how I create picture books, I need to tell you about my audience. My audience is children. First of all, I consider them to be very much the same as adults. Which is to say that I consider myself to be very much the same now, and some things are harder. Talking to strangers is a little bit easier today. The entire month of August has improved since I was eight. On the other hand, learning another language is a lot harder now. And I ran much more as a child than I do today, which is too bad. However, I don’t feel that the me of thirty years ago is much different from the me of today. I don’t recall any single moment of the great change, or many little steps. I just remember a long, gooey flow from the beginnings of my self-awareness to now. This view of my childhood definitely influences my work. My books are my own thoughts about things that are important to me. I work through how I feel about such things as language, art, music, and friendship with these loose, colorful and slightly wild drawings.” ~Chris Raschka