My name is Raea Gragg and my passion is storytelling. 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.
I'm thrilled to release Mup, my first graphic novel. It follows an adventurous young girl and her future self as they collaborate to save the planet from a pandemic. I'm currently working on the next installment of the Mup graphic novel series.
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 including The Fox Trot, Escaping Elsewhere, Little Coconut Island, Four Paws, and Purr Noodle Loses His Capoodle.
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. In addition to working on my next graphic novel, I'm developing screenplays and concept art for the entertainment industry and illustrating children's books. 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. I also created concept art for Fox Broadcasting for a series pitch by the director of American Horror Story. At my 2019 internship for Motion Picture Corporation of America, I helped review, source, and develop teleplays for Netflix and Hallmark.
“A bold, entertaining, and intelligent environmental tale with great emotional resonance—a winner.”
– Kirkus Reviews
In this graphic novel, an adventurous girl and her future self collaborate to save the planet.
At 6 years old, olive-skinned Arianna Theresa Machado, called Mup, has a wonderfully vivid imagination. At home, Mup’s affectionate botanist father supports her love of “the wild places,” promising to take her to them when she’s older. But at school, Mup’s happy confidence runs up against the conventional. Other girls dream only of becoming popular, beautiful teenagers, not explorers who discover dinosaurs—and Mup never wants to grow up if it means turning into that. But after entering a glowing portal to the future, Mup meets her 16-year-old self, now called Arianna, who’s everything she feared; just as disturbing, the Black Dread disease has killed all the plants. There’s hope, though, when Mup’s father discovers a still-green African valley that could hold a cure. He, Arianna, and a stowaway Mup travel in search of that valley, but the villainous White CEO of Leopold Enterprises also wants to find it and exploit its resources. Waasi, a 12-year-old African girl, knows the way, and it’s up to her, the Machados, and a helpful dinosaur to save the last forest, the whole Earth, and Mup’s future. Writing and illustrating her first graphic novel after two conventional YA works and three children’s offerings, Gragg blends a comic-book style with beautifully rendered, richly colored landscapes. Her artwork expressively captures characters’ personalities and uses panels to convey both action and states of mind vividly. The story offers an urgent environmental message but doesn’t seem preachy thanks to the overarching personal question of staying true to yourself. Clever touches abound, such as in-group friendship necklaces and the CEO’s understated connection to King Leopold II of Belgium and his African atrocities.
A bold, entertaining, and intelligent environmental tale with great emotional resonance—a winner.
Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2020
Page count: 282pp
Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021
In this fantastical novel, a teen is stolen from her home and taken to a place called Elsewhere, where nothing is as it seems.
Eva Emmetts thought she was like any other teen. Sure, she, a Native American, and her best friend, Jane, who is deaf, didn’t exactly fit in with their peers at their Idaho school, but they certainly made the best of it. After Eva’s mom left, Eva’s dad went crazy, and Eva has had to grow up and fend for herself. One day, after one of her father’s particularly troubling episodes in which he says he knows “where she is,” Eva goes to school only to be met by black-suited CIA agents. When Eva is ripped from her classroom without explanation and taken to an underground lair in the Nevada desert, like any best friend would, Jane follows, until she is taken herself. Chipped, tagged, and told not to speak, Eva meets Logan Colley, a cowboy intent on showing her Elsewhere, the place where they are now trapped. In Elsewhere, there are Neanderthals, a Great Wall of China, dinosaurs, and more—it’s like the regular world, only not quite. Why was Eva taken, and what does this have to do with her parents? Will she make her way to Jane? Eva must work with Logan and other characters to find her way. Imaginative and difficult to put down, the work is one that some young adults may finish in a single night. It’s hard to believe that author Gragg (The Fox Trot, 2014) is in high school—her writing is so adept. While a few minor errors appear in the book (“loose” instead of “lose”), they don’t overly distract. Because she is a teenager, the dialogue between the teens is actually believable. The tale is also beautifully paced, and the action never flags. With clever banter, plenty of action, and a touch of history, Gragg’s work is a welcome reprieve from the trending dystopian YA novels.
A lively, smart novel for teens and imaginative adults alike.
Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015
Page count: 286pp
Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016
In this YA novel, a high school boy’s life changes after an ominous prediction and his meeting a mysterious new girl.
Jaden Miller isn’t looking forward to starting his sophomore year. He misses New York City, where he lives during the summer with his dad. He hates Duncan, “the lamest town anywhere,” in the swampy mud of Gulf Coast Louisiana. It’s little consolation that he happens to be a cool, popular kid: a varsity lacrosse player, tall and built, with the hottest girls in school vying for his attention. His first day of school, however, offers surprises. Madam Marian, silent proprietor of the Stop-N-Shop, actually speaks to him: “Someone dear to you, boy, will die within the year.” And at assembly, he sees a beautiful dark-haired girl with scratched, bloody hands whom no one knows. Jaden becomes increasingly obsessed with tracking her down; he can’t discover her name, but he finds little tokens: a “dandelion…clinging by a piece of tape to the bottom of her desktop, and…another, on the floor, close to my feet.” Are his mysterious encounters with a red fox and mourning dove somehow related? Why are flowers going missing? Jaden’s cool status is threatened as he pursues his obsession to a final, dramatic confrontation at the bayou’s supposedly haunted Duncan Shipyard. In her remarkably accomplished debut novel, Gragg, a high schooler, skillfully combines a truly spooky ghost story with a coming-of-age tale. Jaden defies expectations of the cool kid/jock, showing sensitivity and empathy: “Sometimes—well, most of the time—losers are actually decent guys, more decent than the dudes on the lacrosse team.” Observing a dandelion clock, he muses: “All plants have a pattern, a beautiful pattern, if you just look.” Gragg effectively builds mystery and suspense, while keeping things moving at a decent pace and making excellent use of her setting. A framing story—Jaden as a middle-aged man recalling the whole story—seems out of place, and some elements, such as the girl’s continued invisibility in such a small school, challenge credulity. Still, with a writer this young, readers have a lot to look forward to.
Multilayered, resonant and intriguing.
Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2014
Page count: 316pp
Review Posted Online: April 3, 2014
Mup The Graphic Novel Trailer
Island of the Blue Dolphins or maybe Heart of Darkness
San Francisco Bay Area
Passion in life
Helping reluctant readers learn to love reading
Unexpected skill or talent
tree climbing and cliff jumping
MUP: Kirkus Star
MUP: Readers' Favorite Five Stars, 2020
MUP: Final Draft Quarter Finalist, 2018
LMU School of Film and Television, 2020
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