“Made by Raffi” is a newly released children’s book about a little boy named Raffi who likes to knit and sew, activities that are frequently associated with girls. At first, Raffi is made fun of for his seemingly unusual hobby but then gains acceptance and respect due to his talent when the school play comes about.

The story gently discusses serious topics such as gender stereotyping in an age-appropriate way without coming across as heavy-handed. The theme of this timely story is certainly a rarity in the children’s book market but one worthy of exploration and discussion. #Author Craig Pomranz was pleased to discuss his book and its inspirations.

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Books

Blasting News (BN): What were your favorite stories when you were a little boy?

Craig Pomranz (CP): My favorite stories were the ones told by my great uncle and aunts, especially about their lives in Europe. Regarding children's books, I loved many: Dr. Seuss books for their anarchic spirit; Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows" for its mystery and believable window into the inner lives of animals; E.B White's "Charlotte's Web" for treating kids as adults, able to cope with the death of a beloved friend.

BN: How did you get the idea for "Made by Raffi"?

CP: My godson was talking about his day at school with his mother. She sensed that something was bothering him. He spoke about how “different” he felt from the other kids and asked the question: Is there such a thing as a TomGirl? I immediately knew I had to write about it.

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BN: In total, how many books have you published so far?

CP: “Raffi” is my first book but I have finished two others and several more are in the works; most seek to empower children. The need for children to read and learn about the world and how it works is so great I can’t imagine ever running out of things to write for them.

BN: How did you find a way to get published and do you have an agent?

CP: I was in London to sing in a nightclub. At a dinner party, the topic of the difficulty of raising children came up, and I mentioned my book. One of the guests was an editor, and in a short time, I was talking to Frances Lincoln. I have friends who are writers and got connected with an agent in London, which was easier because I was already negotiating with my publisher. Since her recent retirement, I thought about looking for another. While leaving a restaurant in New York, I chatted with some strangers on the street, and, lo and behold, one was a literary agent, who is working on my behalf now.

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BN: The illustrations in the book are fabulous. How did you find the artist?

CP: My editors first choice was Margaret. Her illustrations made me smile.

Writing

BN: Thus far, what has been the best part of being an author?

CP: I love hearing about the impact the book has had on readers. I have received heartfelt, wonderful messages from all over the world, as well as adorable photos of children and their knitting projects. I am humbled when I hear from psychologists and teachers who find the book useful in their work. To know you have touched someone is …well…everything.

BN: How do you want to expand your career and what advice can you give to aspiring authors?

CP: I want to do whatever I can do to help people see that we are all basically similar, wanting understanding and love. Both as a writer or singer I want to touch people and open their eyes and hearts to the world around them. Write as a child speaks, not as an adult thinks a child hears. It’s a bit like getting your body lower to see a child eye to eye if you want to seriously communicate.

BN: What's coming up next for you as far as projects are concerned?

CP: I hope to release two more books this year and will perform in Los Angeles in February and London in March. I have been asked to be part of a public television series on music. I want to find audiences for the lovely song that was inspired by “Made by Raffi” written by composers Amanda McBroom and Michele Brourman. #Interview #Children's Books