Raf and the Robots

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Set in a deliberately ambiguous unconventional family, young Raf learns about getting his timing right.

The family in the book could represent a number of real family situations - a poly family, a couple with a donor or surrogate, a blended family with an involved ex, sisters living together, or many other configurations.

This book was written with the belief that all children should be able to see their families depicted in the stories around them.

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Hi, I'm Sarah, creator of Stories for Unique Families.

As a school teacher and mother of little Eliska, I see a lot of children's books.

My own family is a little non-traditional, and standing amongst all the shelves of books about stereotypical family models, I found myself wondering:


I then started thinking about all the children whose families are a little different, and wondered how they must feel.

Over and over again, in children's books, the same family type - not theirs.

How many examples are there? My friend's daughter came home from childcare one day crying after a "paint your family" activity because her painting was like nothing she saw depicted around her - there is no dad in her family, yet she has a wonderful supportive and stable family that she's been with from birth.

And what about the children of my gay and poly friends? What about families with step-parents that actually get along? What about families with a surrogate or a donor? Where are the books for the single mums share-housing together? Or families with a transgender parent or child?


(Actually more than one, but let's just start with one for now.)

Raf and the Robots is based on my family but I don't want to influence how you read it by talking too much about that. My hope is that different families will read it in ways that are meaningful to them.

Click here to read more about the author.

About the Illustrator

Kia Maddock

When Kia Maddock was a little girl she was more often than not found drawing pictures and creating fun-filled art works. This childhood passion has now blossomed into her career in children's book illustration. Her published works include 'The Girl with the Golden hair', 'Silly Sausage', 'The Little She-Wolf'' and now 'Raf and the Robots.'

Kia's style is uniquely versatile from the fun, simple and quirky to the mystical, beautiful and detailed. You can visit her etsy shop 'DearKia' to discover her whimsical side.

Kia comes from a family of artists and is often buzzing with inspiration and creativity, pouring lots of love and energy into creative endeavors such as funding her travels by painting murals as she goes; and designing and creating toys from recycled materials.
Most of all Kia enjoys creating picture books with her three year old son, Toshi, who comes up with the wonderful words and instructs her on what to draw next. Their books include 'Book' and 'Meow Meow Cat Meow'. Toshi is her greatest source of joy and inspiration.

Kia is also greatly inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner and weaves her understanding of nurturing imagery for children into her illustration work wherever possible.

She especially enjoyed creating the art work for 'Raf and the Robots', relating to Raf's passion to creatively express himself as well as the unique family situation, that she and Toshi can also relate to. The Robots came to her so naturally that they were drawn straight to the paper with no sketch. Kia loves really getting know the characters through drawing them (don't tell anyone, but Kia often found her self chatting away to Raf as she drew). She loves how expressive and validating this story is of a child's emotional process and thoroughly enjoyed working in collaboration with the very talented Sarah Corner.


"The impressions of our children come from the culture to which we expose them. One of them is the nuclear family which has become less and less relevant as time moves on. And in an effort to start changing the paradigm Sarah J. Corner has started a series of books under the banner Stories for Unique Families."

---Louisa Leontiades (Postmodern Woman)

"I think it's great that you've taken such a positive step toward making the world a better place. Thanks for being so forward-thinking and action-oriented."

---Melissa A. Fabello (editor Everyday Feminism)

"Representation (the political concept) in cultural forms (books, TV, radio etc) is an extremely important avenue for wider social acceptance of difference. It also helps us to accept, and be at peace with, our own points of difference. There were no gay characters when I was growing up... and there are barely any accurate representations of bisexual men even now... let alone any depictions of functioning long term poly relationships with children! The task of fairly representing the great diversity of human ways of being and relating is nowhere near complete! This book contributes to that worthy goal by making unique/mixed/modern families visible and understandable... I will be reading this to my daughter when it's finished. "

---Grant Bailey (communications specialist and former politics lecturer).

"I am a parent in a 'Traditional Family', I have educated my 2 daughters that 'Unique Families' are the norm. I applaud your work and look forward to the day that this kind of education is no longer required. But for now let's try our very best to show through your words and everyone's actions that all are accepted and just normal."

---Neita Wilson



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