Ellen Raskin, who was born on March 13, 1928, began her career as an illustrator and designer, freelancing for the Saturday Evening Post and pharmaceutical journals. During her early career she created over 1,000 book jackets, including the Newbery winner A Wrinkle In Time (1963) by Madeline L’Engle.
But writing was always in her blood and after 15 years as an illustrator she published her own book Nothing Ever Happens on My Block (1966). “As far back as I can remember,” she wrote, ” I invented characters. My sister and I would spend weeks at a time acting out the lives of at least 10 character each.” Her delightful word play won her a Newbery all her own with The Westing Game (1979).
“I try to say one thing with my work: A book is a wonderful place to be. A book is a package, a gift package, a surprise package—and within the wrappings is a whole new world and beyond.”
Ellen Raskin died August 8, 1984, in New York City.