Frankie B. Rabbit Discusses the Dynomike Series and the Influence of Rap Culture
Interview Sponsored by Frankie B. Rabbit
The Children’s Book Review | January 31, 2019
Frankie B. Rabbit is the creator of Dynomike. He was born and raised in New Jersey where he spent most of his time creating rap music. Frankie grew past rap music so he decided to write children’s books as a new hobby. He then started “DYNOMIKE” – a children’s book series with fun rhymes, vibrant illustrations, memorable characters, and stories to help kids learn life lessons while enjoying our fun stories.
The Children’s Book Review: You were born and raised in New Jersey and spent a lot of time creating rap music. What was your childhood like?
As far as childhood relating to rap, that’s all I listed to—we listened to. Growing up in the 80’s & 90’s the rap culture excelled at light speed and if you weren’t blasting Jay-z, Nas, Biggie, Tupac, Outkast, N.W.A, Wu-Tang, or ONYX (the list is MUCH longer but, I’ll spare you) out of your SONY boombox powered by eight D batteries, you didn’t listen to rap. The rap culture had every kid writing rhymes and dropping bars at every street corner, food-courts at the mall, school hallways, and arcades. Our Trapper Keepers and FIVE STAR notebooks were filled with rap verbiage, pyramid eyeball doodles, and incomplete homework assignments.
What inspired you to transition into writing books for children?
We are all creators, and our creations project into the world for someone to pick up and discover their own perspective with our work. Whether it’s relatable or non-relatable, the creation will influence the observer, or the reader in this manner, in one way or another.
So, I feel creating content that will enlighten our youth is a great seed to plant. If a child smiles at any point of the story, then that’s all that matters. If there is an inspiration, it would be for a child to explore their emotions.
Dynomike is the name of your series of picture books filled with rhymes and life lessons. Where did the name Dynomike come from?
The name “Dynomike” was a stuffed animal I named as a child – along with the other characters in the books – some were toys. Basically, they were my imaginary friends growing up. Haha.
How many books, in total, have you written for the Dynomike series? And do you have more books planned?
In this moment, there are eight books published. I have a few others in the works “as we speak” and will continue to write them until I no longer feel that they serve a purpose.
How do you decide on which life lesson to present in each of the stories?
I take “life lessons” I’ve gone through and create a story that’s relatable to kids around the emotional experience.
Here’s the cake:
- An experience that has moved my emotions.
- A fun story that relates to the emotional experience.
- And, Don’s (our illustrator) artistic ability to make a. & b. come to life.
If all three components can trigger feelings, then we’ll publish the book. We try our best to travel the spectrum of one’s emotions. We have many completed titles that have not been published because, sometimes, it just doesn’t work.
The illustrations are so bright and eye catching, like mainstream 80s and early 90s inspired clothing colors. What made you decide to take this vivid visual path with your illustrator? And can you talk a little bit about how you collaborate with illustrator Don Suratos on each book?
It’s what our generation grew up with – bright colors, hard outlines, and funky clothing that also creates a great contrasting feel. Growing up watching; Nickelodeon, The Simpsons, Ren & Stimpy etc. just really captured our attention (visually) as kids. But, my vision isn’t nearly half of what Don could produce.
Don, is a great member of our team and always goes above and beyond to make our projects come to life. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to connect with, especially an artist that can “read between the lines”. There are parts of the story where we will give him instructions and there are parts of the story where I’ll leave it completely up to him. His imagination is nothing compared to what I have to offer. Either way, his creations always get us excited. We make a good team but, hats off to my homeboy for creating such beautiful work.
When we first started I had another illustrator but, it just didn’t work out. After publishing four books with our first illustrator, unarguable events repeated and we had to find someone new. Six “interviews” later, we found Don and we couldn’t be happier. Our first book together I basically gave him the script with zero instructions that way he would have free will at the project – and man did he hit the spot. You’re the best Don!
Dynomike: What’s Heartfulness? is the latest book in the series. From where did you draw the inspiration for this specific story?
I believe in helping others, not for joy, not for self fulfillment but, for the nature of our existence. Our planet is reciprocal. A plant doesn’t look for a “thank you” when it gives us oxygen, it just gives – and we don’t look for a “thank you” when we give it gases, we just give. I feel that’s how we should treat one another – just give.
I believe in helping yourself. Being kind to you, is equally as important as helping others. This is also reciprocity – when you are kind to yourself, that kindness transfers into your external world. Be kind to yourself and kindness will spread organically.
So, with that said, in “What’s Heartfulness?” Dynomike and his crew see that Jack Brussel’s (a super cool dog) is in need, so they just give by helping their friend come out of a rut without looking for a thank you. I won’t spoil the story (too much) so, if you want a better feel, go get the book.
What has been one of the best reactions from a reader, so far?
A year ago, when we (my partner Robyn and I) visited Mrs. Picillo’s 1st grade classroom at Lincoln Elementary in Harrison NJ, we walked into the classroom and the kids erupted with joy, which, gave me and my partner instant tears. I hadn’t the slightest idea the impact a children’s book could have – nada. During this time, writing children’s books was just a hobby. After this moment, my perspective changed and I said to Robyn, “This is it.”
The reaction from the classroom of 1st grader’s moved me in such ways only tears could explain.
On our way out, they decided to give us a giant group hug from the entire classroom – tears again.
When you read the book out loud yourself, do you rap it?
Haha! Sometimes . . .
Is there anything else that you would like to share with the TCBR readers about Dynomike: What’s Heartfulness?, your writing, or yourself?
“What’s Heartfulness?” is just a speck in the sky. Delivering a heartful message to children (and some adults), to me, is a wonderful way to share personal feelings that have potential to move the reader. We live on this planet to connect with one another through art, creativity, or any form of expression of oneself which helps us discover our truth. When we connect with others, the more smiles we create to help us untie–and what better way to spread our truth than through the art of children’s books? Art, is expressed in all forms of language; words, dancing, paint, music, playing etc. So, when we can express our truth through art, that to me, is life.
Our stories will help children discover their own emotions to better understand the feelings they feel with something as simple as; creating meaningful fun rhymes (Frankie), eye-catching illustrations (Don), creative design (Robyn), and an open minded reader (you) to expand our beliefs.
Everytime we move one another, we help the nature of love make the world go round.
“Kindness Toward Nature is Kindness to Self” or as Dynomike would say, “BE YOURSELF AND BE KIND.”
“Heartfulness is about being kind. Send kindness to all, one thought at a time. Heartfulness is being kind to yourself. This magic can also help someone else.”
From the Dynomike series: It’s a beautiful day in Dynomike’s neighborhood, and he is excited to playwith his friends. Unfortunately, not everyone is in a happy mood. Jack Brussles’s mom is sick, and hejust wants to be left alone. Luckily, Dynomike knows just what to do. Through the simple magic oftheir hearts, he and his friends send waves of joy and love to their friends, bringing peace andharmony back to their world.Sometimes bad things happen to those we care about. In Dynomike: What’s Heartfulness? Kids learnhow they can make the world a little better in those unsure times, just by opening their heart.
“Dynomike: What’s Heartfulness? offers plenty of fun, fun, fun for spirited young readers ages 4 and up.” — The Children’s Book Review
Ages 4+ | Publisher: Independently published (2018) | ISBN-13: 978-1724109026
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