A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Raskin was born on March 13, 1928. As a child she loved to play the piano and had hopes of becoming a pianist. Life proved difficult for Raskin's family during the Great Depression, however, and the piano was repossessed. Raskin despaired at the loss but turned to writing instead. She filled book after book, inventing characters to act out with her sister. By age seventeen Raskin attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and wanted to major in journalism. But after seeing an art exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute, she changed to a major in fine arts.
Raskin put her art career on hold after marrying her first husband and having a daughter. The family moved to New York City, but after a time, Raskin's marriage failed. She found herself working at a commercial art studio to provide for her daughter and herself. While not at her job, she learned how to use a bench printing press and fonts of type that she had previously bought. This experimentation led to her free lance commercial artist career. As an illustrator and designer, Raskin illustrated for magazines, journals, and book publishers. After her 1000th book jacket she decided to create her own books.
Over time, Raskin turned to writing and illustrating children's books entirely. For picture books and novels alike, Raskin used her imagination, wit, and fondness for words to draw readers into her stories, making sure they understood that everything is not always what it seems. This gifted artist then saw more acclaim as an author by winning the Newbery Honor Book Award in 1974 for Figgs & Phantoms
. In 1979 she won the most prestigious Newbery Medal for The Westing Game
. Complications with connective tissue disease ended Raskin's life at age 56 on August 8, 1984.
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