Children's Book Interview
My name is Raea Gragg and my passion is storytelling.
I just graduated cum laude from Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television in Los Angeles where I majored in animation and minored in screenwriting. Currently, I am developing family-friendly screenplays and children's content for the entertainment industry.
Previously, I was the lead character illustrator for an Ethiopian children's book by Tsehia Publishers, a company dedicated to African literature and social justice stories. At my 2019 internship for Motion Picture Corporation of America, I helped review, source and develop teleplays for Netflix and Hallmark. I created concept art for Fox Broadcasting for a series pitch by the director of American Horror Story.
I independently published my first book at age 15 and have gone on to create several more works of young adult and children's fiction. Mup, a graphic novel for children ages 7-12 is a coming-of-age tale that follows two girls on their adventure to save the earth and learn to accept the changes that come with time while staying true to themselves. The story (previously titled Meeting Me) was a quarterfinalist in the 2018 Final Draft Big Break Screenplay Competition and earned a Kirkus Star.
Mup is about girl power, celebrating authenticity and appreciating the wonders of the earth. Primarily set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mup has multi-cultural appeal. The main characters were inspired by my sister (an Ivy League athlete who still goes by the name Mup) and my dad, a botanist who took me on many plant-related adventures.
Currently, I am working on two Mup sequels. In Mup and the Mammoth, we meet 12-year-old Mup who stops her father’s engagement only to accidentally time travel eleven thousand years into the past with her would-be stepsister, where the two have to work together to get back home. It is a full color, approximately 132-page, female-led adventure with themes of family, self-acceptance and growing up. The script for the third and final book in the series (working title: The Missing Mup) is under development.
In other exciting news, I am working on new YA graphic novel, Bodega Bay. Bodega Bay is a 170-page, black-and-white graphic novel for young adults 13+. The coming-of-age thriller follows Ben, a Japanese-American teen who simultaneously wrestles love, loss, and an impending natural disaster that he alone has the power to solve.
My life's goal is to create joyful page-turners that are easy to pick up but hard to put down. I want to make stories that are accessible to all, especially squirmy tweens with short attention spans and reluctant readers with visual and processing challenges. I believe the best way to do this is through words + images.