Chris Raschka on Home at Last

h1 September 13th, 2016 by jules

Chris: “Perhaps our best time together was on my second visit when we spent two long days side by side on her sun porch, each in our own wicker chair.
Vera drew all day, and much of the night.”


It’s a pleasure to share some thoughts and images from Chris Raschka today. Just this month, Greenwillow Books released Home at Last, written by Vera B. Williams and illustrated by Chris. This was the last book Vera worked on before her death last October. You may have seen the wonderful Horn Book cover story from the May/June issue of this year, in which Lydie Raschka, Chris’s wife, writes about their collaboration. Today, Chris shares a bit more, including some of Vera’s sketches for the book. (His paintings for the book are based on her sketches.)

The story is about a boy, adopted by two dads, and the boy’s efforts to acclimate himself to his new life. It is tender and heartbreaking but, ultimately, joyful. I thank Chris for sharing a bit about the process today. I find it fascinating to see, in particular, the early sketches and Vera’s own drawings. Let’s get right to it.


Chris: “I like Vera’s cane. This is in Vera’s beautiful backyard with the Delaware River floating peacefully by. Later in the afternoon it will shimmer.”
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Chris: “Our hands are nearly identical. …”
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Chris: “Our first work session …”
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Chris: “Vera spoke and I drew …”
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Chris: “I tried to draw just enough that Vera and I would remember
what we talked about but not more.”

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Chris: “After our first afternoon together, I reorganized the spreads a bit
and filled out the design.”

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Chris: “At first, we thought we might do the book entirely in pen.”
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Chris: “This is Vera’s drawing which you can compare to
the finished art at the end of this picture collection.”

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Chris: “This is our last session together. …”
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Chris: “These are the sample renderings of Vera’s drawings.”
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Chris: “From the final layout …”
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Chris: “I love these drawings, some of the last drawings Vera ever made.”
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Chris: “When Vera cuts and pastes …”
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Chris: “This was taken after our breakfast in Narrowsburg during my first visit.”
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Chris: “From the finished book …”
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* * * * * * *

HOME AT LAST. Text copyright © 2016 by the Estate of Vera B. Williams. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Chris Raschka and the Estate of Vera B. Williams. Published by Greenwillow Books, New York. All images reproduced by permission of Chris Raschka.

3 comments to “Chris Raschka on Home at Last

  1. This book (and the story behind it) is full of heart, leaving me with a big smilie, knowing that the world once held someone as special as Vera WIlliams. Thanks for telling the whole story.

  2. Wow. This is what the internet is for! How lovely. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

  3. […] Just out is his moving collaboration with the late great Vera B. Williams’ Home at Last. This is such a real story of adoption, family, and the smallest things that children struggle with — worry, sleeping, etc. Williams and Raschka collaborated on this book up to her death and then Raschka fullfilled her vision beautifully. A warm and lovely book. (You can learn more about the book and the creators’ collaboration here.) […]

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