Children's Book Interview
When an elementary school teacher asked "How did you become a storyteller?" This was my reply.
Find me on Instagram: Raeag
My name is Raea Gragg and my passion for storytelling is my own hero’s journey.
As a child, I suffered from an undiagnosed eye disorder that made reading next to impossible. But after vision therapy fixed my eyesight, I fell in love with visual storytelling and its unquestionable power.
Flash forward to today and I've been putting my dreams to the test: illustrating, animating, and writing.
I'm finishing up my last year as an animation and screenwriting undergrad at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television in Los Angeles. I expect to graduate May 2020.
Currently, I'm the lead character illustrator for an Ethiopian children's book with 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 was recently commissioned by Fox Broadcasting to create concept art for a news 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. My current passion project is Mup, a middle grade graphic novel and accompanying animated trailer. It's 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 was work shopped with the renowned animation directors of Toy Story 2 and Surf's Up.
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 heptathlete who still goes by the name Mup) and my dad, a botanist who took me on many plant-related adventures.
Mup is 278 pages and 4,600 words. It is fully storyboarded and ready for production.
My 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.
Storytelling is what I was born to do. I know, first hand, what a difference it can make in a kid’s life.
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Lafayette, CA 94549