Rain School

RainSchool9780547505008_p0_v1_s260x420Rain School

James Rumford, Author and Illustrator

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Fiction, 2010

Suitable for Ages: 4-7

Themes:  Africa, Educating Children, Schools, Multicultural

Opening“In the country of Chad, it is the first day of school.  The dry dirt road is filling up with children.  Big brothers and big sisters are leading the way.”

Synopsis:  Thomas and the other children are excited about their first day at school and pester their older siblings with questions.  When they arrive at the schoolyard, there is no school.  But, there is a teacher who says, “We will build our school.  This is the first lesson.”  The children are so eager to go to school that they quickly learn to build a frame, make mud bricks and dry them in the sun, and build their school and mud desks.  After they spend a year filling their heads with knowledge, school is over.  Summer arrives, and torrential rains destroy the school.  But, the children leave knowing they will return to build their school again.

Why I love this book:  James Rumford, a former Peace Corps volunteer who taught school in Chad, drives home a very strong message in Rain School.   Learning and going to school is very important to children in third world countries.  They want an education!   Such a strong contrast to what many children in first world countries take for granted.  Rumford’s text is very simple and his bright and colorful ink and pastel illustrations tell a powerful story.  This book should be in every school library.  Visit James Rumford at his website.

On Monday, September 9, I will review A Girl Called Problem, by Katie Quirk.  It is an MG novel about a Tanzanian girl who wants to attend school even though the boys and men don’t want her to attend.   

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

27 thoughts on “Rain School

    • Thank you Diane. James Rumford has written so many wonderful books. I’m sorry, I meant to include your link. My review was already written and I forgot to go back and insert your link to his other books. Thank you so much for sharing!


  1. This book sounds AmAzInG! During her time at Milwaukee School of Engineering, my niece designed two bridges for Guatemalan school children to cross so that they didn’t have to go through a river to get to school. She was blessed to work with Engineers Without Borders and go there to help turn those drawings into real bridges for the children. This makes me think that we ought to write Danielle’s Bridges …..


    • What an amazing story. I’m glad this review inspired you to realize it may be important to write Danielle’s Bridges. It sounds like an incredible story to tell. My husband’s niece is heads an organization (Girl’s Education Collaborative) that has just built a school, library, medical clinic and school dorms for girls in Kitenga, Tanzania. She just returned from Tanzania.


  2. What a lovely book, Pat. My parents went to a school in Cape Town and handed out pencils and things. The stories they told me were so sad.


    • Then you understand the need. That is so cool what your parents did. Our niece has built a school, library and dorms for girls in Tanzania. Reviewing an MG novel on Monday from an author who taught in Tanzania for two years.


  3. Wow! As everyone else has said, what an important message for kids here to read. I am so impressed with these children who have to build their school before they can start to study — they are learning so much more than just “book-learning” but wow, they appreciate the book-learning so much too. This is so great. Thanks, Pat.


    • Again, thank you. When I decided to review Katie Quirk’s MG book on Tanzania, I wanted to balance it with James Rumford’s picture book, “Rain School.” I think it is important children in first world countries to see how badly kids in third world countries want an education — and the lengths they will go to attend school. It is such a privilege for those who can attend. Our children take so much for granted.


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