Chris Raschka (right), winner of the 2012 Caldecott Medal for A Ball for Daisy (Random), delivered a thoughtful acceptance speech Sunday night, while Jack Gantos, this year's Newbery Medal winner for Dead End in Norvelt (Farrar), had the room howling with laughter as he recounted his own experiences—and the sordid pasts of former Newbery winners.
Raschka went on to explain what being an artist felt much like traveling to a foreign country, especially on the first days of a trip. "You look about you, and nothing registers properly. You walk around in a kind of daze, and then some hand grabs you from behind."
Making picture books, Raschka said, is to "remember a particular emotion, heighten it, and then capture it in some painted vocabulary, so that the same emotion is evoked in the child, in the reader. I must make you feel what I feel, and maybe even more."
Raschka said he'd been working on A Ball for Daisy, a nearly wordless picture book that deals with the anguish a dog named Daisy goes through when her favorite ball is destroyed by a bigger dog, for so long that he could hardly remember its beginnings. The ball in the book was based on one that belonged to his son, Ingo, who was very small at the time. Daisy, the big black dog who lived on the tenth floor of their building, bit down a little too hard on Ingo's beloved yellow ball and popped it. "That I remember well," Raschka says.
"So this is how I see making my picture books today," he said. "First I'll draw what I see. Then I'll draw what I remember. And finally I'll draw what I feel."