Ellen Raskin

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Ellen Ermingard Raskin
Born March 13, 1928 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died August 8, 1984
New York City, New York
Occupation children's author and illustrator
Language English
Nationality American
Education University of Wisconsin–Madison
Notable works
  • The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon, 1971
  • Figgs & Phantoms, 1974
  • The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues, 1975
  • The Westing Game, 1978
Notable awards
  • 1979 Newbery Medal for The Westing Game
  • 1975 Newbery Honor for Figgs & Phantoms
Spouse Dennis Flanagan,

Ellen Ermingard Raskin (March 13, 1928 – August 8, 1984) was an American writer and illustrator. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up during the Great Depression. She was educated at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[1] Primarily a children's author, she received the 1979 Newbery Medal for her 1978 book The Westing Game and a 1975 Newbery Honor for her 1974 book Figgs & Phantoms.

Raskin was also an accomplished graphic artist. She designed dozens of dust jackets for books for 15 years including the first edition of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.[2]

Raskin's first marriage ended in divorce. In 1965, she married Dennis Flanagan, editor of Scientific American.[3]

Raskin died at the age of 56 on August 8, 1984 in New York City due to complications from a connective-tissue disease.[4]


Children's picture books[edit]

Raskin wrote and illustrated twelve picture books, published by Atheneum Books except as noted.[5]

  • Nothing Ever Happens on My Block, 1966
  • Silly Songs and Sad, Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1967
  • Spectacles, 1968
  • Ghost in a Four-Room Apartment, 1969
  • And It Rained, 1969
  • A & The, or, William T. C. Baumgarten Comes to Town, 1970
  • The World's Greatest Freak Show, 1971
  • Franklin Stein, 1972
  • Moe Q. McGlutch, He Smoked Too Much, Parents, 1973
  • Who, Said Sue, Said Whoo?, 1973
  • Moose, Goose & Little Nobody, 1976
  • Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, 1976

Young adult novels[edit]

Raskin wrote four novels, all published by E. P. Dutton.[5]

As illustrator[edit]

Raskin also illustrated more than twenty books by other writers.[5]

  • Happy Christmas: Tales for Boys and Girls, edited by Claire H. Bishop, Ungar, 1956
  • A Child's Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas (1950); J. M. Dent, 1968
  • Mama, I Wish I Was Snow, Child You'd Be Very Cold, by Ruth Krauss, Atheneum, 1962
  • "Philosophy and History. The Ernst Cassirer Festschrift", ed. Raymond Klibansky and H. J. Paton, 1963 (second edition)
  • Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, selected by Dwight MacDonald, Crowell, 1965
  • We Dickinsons, by Aileen Fisher and Olive Rabe, Atheneum, 1965
  • The Jewish Sabbath, by Molly Cone, Crowell, 1966
  • Paths of Poetry: Twenty-Five Poets and Their Poems, ed. Louis Untermeyer, Delacorte, 1966
  • Songs of Innocence (Volumes 1 & 2), by William Blake (1789, 1794), music and illustrations by Ellen Raskin, Doubleday, 1966
  • D. H. Lawrence: Poems Selected for Young People, ed. William Cole, Viking, 1967
  • Ellen Grae, by Vera and Bill Cleaver, Lippincott, 1967
  • Poems of Robert Herrick, ed. Winfield T. Scott, Crowell, 1967
  • Probability: the Science of Chance, by Arthur G. Razzell and K. G. O. Watts, Doubleday, 1967 ‡
  • This Is 4: the Idea of a Number, by Razzell and Watts, Doubleday, 1967 ‡
  • Books: A Book to Begin On, by Susan Bartlett, Holt, 1968
  • Inatuk's Friend, by Suzanne Stark Morrow, Atlantic/Little, 1968
  • Lady Ellen Grae, by Vera and Bill Cleaver, Lippincott, 1968
  • A Paper Zoo: A Collection of Animal Poems by Modern American Poets, edited by Renee K. Weiss, Macmillan, 1968
  • Piping Down the Valleys Wild: Poetry for the Young of All Ages, edited by Nancy Larrick, Delacorte, 1968
  • Symmetry, by Razzell and Watts, Doubleday, 1968 ‡
  • We Alcotts, by Aileen Fisher and Olive Rabe, Atheneum, 1968
  • Circles and Curves, by Razzell and Watts, Doubleday, 1969 ‡
  • Come Along!, by Rebecca Caudill, Holt, 1969
  • Shrieks at Midnight: Macabre Poems, Eerie and Humorous, edited by Sara and John E. Brewton, Crowell, 1969
  • Three and the Shape of Three, by Razzell and Watts, Doubleday, 1969 ‡
  • Elidor, by Alan Garner (1965), Walck, 1970
  • Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti (1862), Dutton, 1970

Raskin illustrated at least five volumes in a series of 32- and 48-page mathematics books by Arthur C. Razzell and Kenneth George Oliver Watts, which was inaugurated by Doubleday in 1964.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ thebestnotes.com, Free Study Guide for The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin[1]
  2. ^ Ellen Raskin: Notable Wisconsin Author, by Ginny Moore Kruse
  3. ^ thebestnotes.com, Free Study Guide for The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin[2]
  4. ^ New York Times, Ellen Raskin (obituary), August 10, 1984
  5. ^ a b c "Books Written and Illustrated by Ellen Raskin", Wisconsin Authors and Illustrators. (date?). Available on-line: http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/authors/raskin/bib.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-25.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ellen Raskin (Volume 579 of Twayne's United States Authors Series: Children's Literature), Marilynn Strasser Olson, Twayne Publishers, 1991; ISBN 9780805776270

External links[edit]