This. Is. Big.
This. Is.......My very first EVER Blog Giveaway. (Squeeeeeeee!)
I was contacted a few weeks ago by an author named Craig Pomranz. He was hoping I would be interested in helping him to promote his children's book Made by Raffi. I was happy to help him out by writing a little review of the story on this blog, but once I learned what the story was about, I knew I wanted to do more: I wanted to get this book into the hands of the people. Luckily, Mr. Pomranz was more than happy to accommodate my bigger-than-a-book-review plan and SENT ME TWO COPIES OF HIS BOOK TO GIVE AWAY!!!
I'll be giving one book away here on the blog and one away over on Instagram (you will need an account and must follow @sarah.livelaughlearn to enter).
But first, let me tell you a little about the book and introduce you to Raffi's creator. Keep reading all the way through, though, and you'll find details on entering for your chance to win this fabulous prize.
Raffi is a little boy who isn't like the other kids...particularly the other boys in his class. While the other kids were tumbling about and throwing things, Raffi preferred less noise and gentler activities. With the help of his supportive teachers and parents, Raffi finds an activity that keeps him busy, makes him happy, and that he excels at: Raffi learns to knit.
Though at first he is teased for his new hobby, Raffi stays true to himself and continues to pursue his own interests. Ultimately, his talent saves the day and the other kids finally appreciate Raffi's gift.
I'm sure you know why Made by Raffi appeals to me and resonates with my family. As you have read about countless times in this space, in our house there are no "boy" clothes or "girl" clothes, no "boy" toys or "girl" toys, and no activities better suited for a boy rather than a girl or vice versa. Raffi clearly and simply sends an important message to all kids:
Just Be You, whoever and however You are.
I love this character. I love that he is resilient in the face of his classmates who do not understand him. I love that his parents (and teachers!) understand him and encourage him to pursue this uncommon hobby. I love that, at the end of the story, Raffi's hard work and dedication to his craft are not only accepted but appreciated by his peers.
I love this book.
Here's more from the author, Craig Pomranz:
Where did the inspiration for Made by Raffi come from?
Made by Raffi was inspired by my godson, Raffi, who was around nine at the time. He was feeling very separate from the other children at school, particularly the boys. He didn't like noise or rough play and yet he had a hard time sitting still. He started staying more to himself and to help calm himself he started to learn to knit. He found it very soothing and started knitting everywhere. At some point he came home and asked his mom if he was "different," wondering if there was such a thing as a "tomgirl"? He coined a term not really in use, yet its message was so clear. His question was very layered with other thoughts about the world in which he is being raised. A tomboy is an accessible, even positive idea -- in our society it is understandable and possibly supported when a young girl wants to be more like a boy. When a boy exhibits any sort of "feminine" behavior or interests, however, he is vilified. And what is the message to little girls? Are their behaviors so inferior that no little boy should prefer them? I immediately wanted to write about it.
Why do you feel it is important for children to see a character like Raffi represented in their book collections?
I wrote the book for parents and teachers to read to, and with, children. Bullying, teasing, and embracing our differences have moved to the top of the agenda for families and schools. I hoped the book would provide an easy and humorous way to raise these very serious subjects. Young people who are teased can see Raffi as a role model -- he quietly continues pursuing his interest and shows his classmates that being different can be cool. Parents can learn something from Raffi's parents, who give him unconditional love and support, but do not encourage him to see himself as a victim. And perhaps bullies will see themselves in the book, and can learn some empathy. After all, who hasn't felt "different" from time to time?
Did you always envision a career as a children's book author? (If not, what lead you to Raffi?)
I never imagined I would write a book. But I love children and have always been very involved in the lives of those kids around me. When I was told about this incident I believed that others could learn something from Raffi's story and his loving parents and teachers.
What's next for Raffi? (Will this become a multi-title series?)
It might! The book has been translated into eight languages and is in eleven countries to date. With Margaret Chamberlain's delightful illustrations, Raffi has become a popular character and several people have asked to see more of him, including my publishers.
What's next for you?
I am working on several projects. One is a book about body image that I hope will empower children. My professional life has always been primarily as a singer touring in clubs. So I am excited to have released the song "Different" that was inspired by Made By Raffi. My friends, composers Amanda McBroom (Bette Midler's award-winning song "The Rose") and Michele Brourman (The Land Before Time), wrote the song and I provide the vocals. You can download it now from iTunes here: Different.
Now for the Giveaway!!
I'm so excited to be doing my very first blog (and Instagram) Giveaway with a prize that I love as much as I love this book. I'm giving one hardcover copy of the book away here on the blog, if you'd rather enter the Instagram Giveaway, head on over here for more information.
Here are the Rules and Conditions for the Blog Giveaway:
1. Share this blog post on Facebook, tagging at least one friend in the post.
2. Come back here and leave a comment, letting me know you've shared it.
3. Cross those fingers that your comment is randomly chosen as the winner!
4. If your comment is selected, I will reply to your comment with instructions on how to send me your mailing address.
**You must have a mailing address within the continental United States to be eligible to receive the prize.**
**Comments will close on Friday, March 25 at 2pm. Winner will be selected and announced shortly after.**
Now start sharing and commenting...you're going to LOVE Raffi!