Must-Read: Made by Raffi

August 20, 2014
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If you are looking for a children's book which  shows that being “different” is positive and being creative is cool, highlights classic issues of teasing and bullying, has witty and entertaining illustrations, and most of all, affirming and inspirational, Made by Raffi is the right book to grab!

CRAIG POMRANZ, an internationally acclaimed singer and actor based in New York City,  was the author of Made by Raffi while MARGARET CHAMBERLAIN, a well-respected award-winning illustrator of children's books based in Dorset made the story come to life. She also illustrated books for Frances Lincoln Has Anyone Seen Jack?, Look Out He's Behind You both by Tony Bradman, Tales from Grimm by Antonia Barber, My Two Grannies, My Two Grandads both by Floella Benjamin and Boom Baby Boom Boom by Margaret Mahy.  

Craig Pomranz (Photo

Margaret Chamberlain (Photo Credits:

Let me give you the backgrounder of this book straight from the horse's mouth.

What is Made by Raffi all about?  

"Inspired by true-life incident, my children's book Made by Raffi is newly released this summer.  It is the story of a little boy who doesn't care for sports but likes to knit and sew -- at first he is teased for his hobby, but in the end he becomes a hero to his class.   The book is being published in five languages and distributed in eight countries so far by UK publishers Frances Lincoln under their diversity imprint, Janetta Otter-Barry Books. Award-winning artist Margaret Chamberlain is the illustrator. "

What inspired you to write Made by Raffi?

"I have really become interested in the idea of how we tell our kids what is appropriate activity, based on gender.  Most of the parents of young kids I know are trying on one hand to let their kids follow their own interests, but on the other are concerned about their kid fitting in and not being teased.  As a result, atypical hobbies and behaviors are only encouraged so far."
"I wrote the book to support young boys and girls who are perceived as 'different' because of their appearance or hobbies. It is a funny colorful book with a serious message and will interest those who care about promoting diversity and embracing our differences, as well as all children seeking to fit in." 

"In my research, I have found some shocking stories. Recently, a principal told a boy he could not bring his 'My Little Pony' lunchbox to school because it was a 'trigger' for teasing and bullying. The same week a girl was expelled from a Christian school because of her short hair, perceived masculine look and interest in sports."

"I dedicate this debut picture book to ‘the real Raffi’, Rafael McCarroll Swan and his loving and supportive family who are the inspiration for the story."  

What makes you truly fulfilled that you wrote this book?

"I have already received terrific early trade reviews and many supportive messages from those who have seen advance copies of the book as well as from those who have ordered. I was recently forwarded this email from a man in Istanbul:  'Today I enjoyed to preorder your beautiful and meaningful children book for my cousin.  Especially here in Turkey 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.  Best regards...' A donor has given books to the Archdiocese of New York Catholic schools for all of their libraries."

Can you site some reviews about Made by Raffi?
"Below are some early trade reviews..."
"Made by Raffi is highlighted by the major trade magazine The Bookseller : selected by Fiona Noble as a picture book highlight for June –‘ Tackling classic issues of teasing and bullying, this is refreshing look at diversity with a positive message about being 'different' and creative.’ " 

"Rhino Reads – Top Pick  -'looks special, very special indeed!' "
"Rhino Reads – My Independent Bookshop - 'Inclusion at it's very best! Wonderful book to celebrate diversity. LOVE this!'"
"Parents in Touch  - review - ' It's an excellent story, perceptive and thoughtful, about being confident with yourself, about not being swayed by others and doing what you think is right and handling opposition; family love is shown as vital too. It's good to be different!'"

Songwriters Amanda McBroom (composer of the Golden Globe award winning song The Rose) and Michele Brourman (The Land Before Time) read Made By Raffi, loved it, and wrote a song specifically for the book entitled Different. Craig intends to sing the song on publication, at book events, and at any opportunity! 

Made By Raffi is available on and Barnes and Nobles. Follow Craig Pomranz on Twitter @MadeByRaffi and visit his website for more details.
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