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Rafe was born in a snowstorm in New York City in 1946, after a hurricane destroyed the Air Force Base in the Everglades where his father was stationed after returning from overseas. Perhaps, Rafe muses, the shift from sunny, tropical, pre-natal dreams to the shock of darkness and snow is what launched him into a lifetime of dreaming and imagining. He spent much of his childhood up in treetops with a good story at hand. In sixth grade he discovered Moby Dick, and read it over and over; this led, years later, to his becoming the first student to graduate with Highest Honors in English from Harpur College (now Binghamton University), for his thesis on that book.

With an M.A. in English Literature and trained as a literary critic, Rafe left academia in 1969 and held a variety of odd jobs ranging from construction worker to substitute teacher. In 1974 he and his wife opened a bookstore, and in 1982 he became the first storyteller-in-residence for the Rochester City Schools. In 1983 he received the first Lucille Micheels Pannell Award from the Women’s National Book Association “as the bookseller in the U.S. and Canada who has been most creative and successful in bringing children and books together.”

Rafe’s first book was published in 1984. Twenty others have followed since, with more appearing every year. Besides being an award-winning author, Rafe is also an internationally known storyteller; he has spoken or performed in nearly every state, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as in the International Schools of Japan.

Anna Rich is a native New Yorker and though fairly snobbish about it, she was stunned to learn that the entire country could watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV. She is yet perplexed as to why her immediate family, Father, Mother and Sister, have up and moved below the Mason Dixon line! They still seem happy to hear from her and telephone often. Whatever siren calls they heard, Anna did not hear them.

She has another family now, Harry and Otto, also native New Yorkers, who for physiological reasons are not inclined to go where it is very hot. They all move in a tight knot, like Keystone Cops with a routine akin to that estimable and rarely seen New Yorker, the Beaver—treading their paths between home, school, work, church and the grocery store.

Anna’s idea of a good time is at home, the front door closed behind her and hours to spend on any number of “Home Entertainments” such as designing knitted sweaters and hats, fitting garments on Looshilala, her dress form, sewing and of course, Painting; with Public Radio playing on three or four radios throughout the house so when she moves from one room to the next she can still hear those Fresh Air interviews. Oh, and plenty of people out there owing her money. That’s the linchpin keeping the whole scenario happy.

Anna likes near everybody if taken one at a time. Anna is fairly content to BE almost anywhere as long as she does not have to GO there or think about GOING. Consequently, Anna almost never thinks to travel. Anna drew early in life and well enough so that her mother encouraged her. It never occurred to her to do anything else, no matter how often a teaching career was dangled at the end of a sharp stick, every holiday paid and two months off in the summer notwithstanding. When her son was born, Anna promised her mother she would NOT encourage him to draw.

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