Alex Raffi, writer, artist, cartoonist and creative genius is the author and illustrator of The Sheep Counting Dream. We recently caught up with him to learn more about this richly-illustrated and heart warming book. Alex was kind enough to spend some time talking about his journey.
What inspired you to write The Sheep Counting Dream?
I enjoy creating art and have dabbled in many mediums. I always wanted to take on the challenge of story telling and with my short attention span children’s stories seemed perfect. I believe that’s why I enjoy writing in rhyme. I find it more interesting to tell a story that way and the limitations provide a process of discovery. My inspiration came from wanting to create a book that I would have found interesting as a child. Thankfully I had the encouragement of my wife Debi and daughter Elli. They helped fuel my passion.
What’s the message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
The world that lives within the imagination of a child is powerful. I guess that’s the point of the book for me. It reminds me how special young minds are. As a boy I imagined that each piece of furniture in my house was alive and had specific personality traits. I’d say goodbye to the couch and the chair and the tables and lamps on my way out the door to go to school. I imagined that the dining room chairs must be jealous of the couch in the living room as it had full view of the television!
The idea of counting sheep had always intrigued me. I had trouble doing it when I was a kid as my mind would wander. I always wanted the sheep to turn into soaring dragons and exploding starships.
In addition to writing you have other creative endeavors. What are your other interests?
I enjoy playing and writing music and painting. The biggest creative endeavor of my life has to be the exploration of my own creative process. I share these ideas in a workshop called Creative Courage. Creativity in schools and business is often ignored. In my view, nurturing creativity in yourself and others is one of the most important things you can do in life. We need more innovation and passion!
What would you like to tell our readers?
Surprise yourself! Explore the uncomfortable every once in a while because that’s where you learn new things about yourself. Be fearless when exploring new ideas. And never stop. Why would you? It’s so much fun.
Alex has shared a video of his wife Debi reading this wonderful treasure.