MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Every year, the American Library Association awards the Caldecott Medal to the most distinguished picture book for children that's published in the U.S. And today, the winner was announced and he is a past medalist. Chris Raschka. His book is called "A Ball for Daisy."

Raschka also won in 2006 for "The Hello, Goodbye Window" and he was the Caldecott honoree or finalist in 1994 for the book, "Yo! Yes?" Chris Raschka, did I get the inflexion right on that?

CHRIS RASCHKA: That's perfect. That's exactly right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SIEGEL: Chris Raschka joins us from New York. And congratulations on the medal for "A Ball for Daisy."

RASCHKA: Thank you so much.

SIEGEL: I would ask you for a reading of the book. But alas, it has no words.

RASCHKA: It's my first wordless picture book. Certainly, a challenge and I went through many, many variations.

SIEGEL: With the proper spoiler alert, why don't you roughly tell us the story of "A Ball for Daisy?"

RASCHKA: Well, it's about a little dog named Daisy who has a big red ball that she loves very much and her owner, a little girl, takes her to the park and they play until this beloved ball is in a wrestling match with another dog. It is popped and comes to an end of its existence. And Daisy is distraught. And where we go from there was my - what I set myself as a task.

SIEGEL: It's the old dog has a ball, dog loses a ball.

RASCHKA: Exactly.

SIEGEL: A dog laments and...

RASCHKA: That's right.

SIEGEL: Eventually - well, if you're not listening, all three to seven year olds, gets another ball.

RASCHKA: That's right.

SIEGEL: That's what happens in the story.

RASCHKA: That's right.

SIEGEL: And this story - how did you decide to do this?

RASCHKA: Well, it does come from a real experience. But in this case, it was not a dog named Daisy. It was my son named Ingo, whose beloved ball was actually destroyed by a dog. When he was four, this happened and it was such a devastation for him. It was kind of almost the first time he experienced something he loved ending and that he couldn't get that back.

SIEGEL: Now, in years past, you have drawn - or I guess painted is more appropriate - children's books about some unusual subjects. "Charlie Parker Played Be Bop" is one of your books. "Mysterious Thelonious" is another one.

RASCHKA: Yes.

SIEGEL: And, on the other hand, "Arlene Sardine," the story of a fish who dreamt of becoming someone's breakfast.

RASCHKA: Yes.

SIEGEL: How do you settle on these subjects?

RASCHKA: Well, anything that creates a strong emotion in me, whether it's music, loss of something, loneliness or friendship, if that emotion is heightened in some way and painted to fit in between the covers of 32 pages, that can become a picture book.

SIEGEL: So here's the question that I have for you, having looked at "A Ball for Daisy," in which we see many pictures of Daisy the little dog. My question is, how do you, as an artist, manage to draw a character so many times doing many different things, seen from different angles, so that she's always perfectly recognizable? Is there a waste basket full of bad drawings of Daisy that don't make it in?

RASCHKA: You can't imagine how big that waste basket is. It is - in fact, sometimes, I worry about the amount of paper I waste and...

SIEGEL: You can do a story about a tree that wants to be somebody's book.

RASCHKA: Very sadly, I'm afraid I can. But - well, for me, finding that is that is the real challenge and especially because I like to be fairly gestural, that is, not repaired, kind of immediate. So, it either works or it doesn't work and that's the fine line defined, literally.

SIEGEL: Chris Raschka, thank you very much for talking with us today.

RASCHKA: Thank you so much.

SIEGEL: That's Chris Raschka, winner of the Caldecott medal. His book is called "A Ball for Daisy."

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.