‘Made by Raffi’ is a touching children’s book by Craig Pomranz with illustrations from Margaret Chamberlain.
The hymn ‘Pass it on’ sings, ‘It only takes a spark to get the fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing…’ That is how you will feel when you read this warm interview by Craig Pomranz the proud author of ‘Made by Raffi’. Soon you will be passing on, sharing this interview with your friends and loved ones and then ordering the book for your children, little cousins, young relatives and also for yourself.
Made by Raffi is for children, young adults, and older adults. Anyone who will pick up the book will remember how feeling different (which everyone does at some point of time or another) isn’t too bad after all.
Deservingly Made by Raffi has been nominated for the Little Rebel Children’s Book Award as well.
Learn more about the author, his novel and why it is important to read Made by Raffi through this interview with Craig Pomranz.
WeLoveQuality Books: Craig, the title of your story Made by Raffi sounds interesting! What is it about?
Craig Pomranz: It is the story of a young boy who feels different at school, and even more so when he discovers he likes to knit and sew. He learns how to be comfortable in his own skin and also learns that if you have confidence in who you are, others will accept you. It sounds like a serious message, but it is a funny and entertaining story!
WeLoveQuality Books: What motivated you to write this novel?
Craig Pomranz: The story is inspired by an incident with my godson. He came home from school one day, feeling really out of sorts and when his mother told me what he was going through and how he felt different I knew it was a story that had to be told. After all, haven’t all of us felt different at some time?
WeLoveQuality Books: How has the book been received around the world?
Craig Pomranz: The positive feedback has been amazing! I have learned not only how powerful a children’s book can be, but how we are all basically the same – the messages in the book cross all cultures. The book is available in 11 countries and eight languages to date.
WeLoveQuality Books: Do you think we as writers have a voice to change preset mindsets?
Craig Pomranz: I don’t believe we can fundamentally change people, but I do think we can help people evolve and awaken the good in their hearts. People of all ages experience feelings of alienation, so when they are reminded how it feels they might treat the outcast more kindly. That’s something writers do best — remind us what we already know.
WeLoveQuality Books: Did you personally witness bullying at school when you were a child?
Craig Pomranz: Haven’t we all? I was teased as a child. I performed professionally from a very young age. I didn’t play team sports, and that brought on negative attention, too. But, like Raffi, as people saw how committed I was to my art, they started to respect me. Having the support of family and friends was extremely important.
WeLoveQuality Books: How did it change you as a person?
Craig Pomranz: As an outsider, I was sensitive to others being teased and bullied. If I could, I tried to be supportive of the one being bullied. Even as a relatively shy person, this helped me engage with people more. It felt like the right thing to do and somehow pushed me, even if it wasn’t easy.
WeLoveQuality Books: What is the next project you are working on?
Craig Pomranz: I’m working on several more books that I hope will empower children. I have also been in talks about a television show for and by children that I am really excited about. I continue to travel the world singing in clubs and will release another CDsoon.
WeLoveQuality Books: Please share some of the reader’s feedbacks that made you feel that your efforts were worthwhile?
Craig Pomranz: I hear from children and adults from all over the world. Sometimes I’m sent adorable pictures of children knitting. One of my prized possessions is a drawing a little girl from Korea sent me of a cape she thought Raffi should make. One of the first emails I received was from a man in Istanbul:
Today I enjoyed to preorder your beautiful and meaningful children book for my cousin. Especially here inTurkey we need to learn respect to the one who is different than us. Thanks for your effort to make the world a better place to live.”
Other exciting developments:
Composers Amanda McBroom (Bette Midler’s “The Rose”) and Michele Brourman (The Land Before Time) read the book and were inspired to write a song “Different” for me to sing. Link here: Different
Oprah’s guru Geneen Roth (Women Food and God) wrote: “I wanted you all to know about this one…although he is bullied, he really does stay true to himself — and it all comes around in the end. So touching.”
A donor has given 75 books to the Archdiocese of New York Catholic grade schools for their libraries.
WeLoveQuality Books: How did you balance the fun element of the book with the pertinent message it tries to convey?
Craig Pomranz: Margaret Chamberlain‘s illustrations really help to keep the messages playful. Also, I really tried to speak to children as they speak to one another. Finally, Raffi never sees himself as a victim so the book is never sad, instead, he keeps on smiling and knitting and the others learn to love him.
WeLoveQuality Books: Please tell our readers why Made By Raffi is a must buy?
Craig Pomranz: No one can completely prevent bullying. Instead, we must find a way to help our children find self-assurance so they can avoid becoming victims. Made by Raffi can help parents and teachers start a conversation about tolerance, how it feels to be bullied and how to cope when you feel “different.” This is also good for those who may be the bullies. For them to see their behavior and learn empathy and embrace our differences. I hear from parents of bullies, that it helps them understand and hopefully to empathize and find a different way to interact.
It is available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kqlAiR