Rain School

Rain School

5.0 1
by James Rumford
     
 

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It is the first day of school in Chad, Africa. Children are filling the road.

"Will they give us a notebook?" Thomas asks.
"Will they give us a pencil?"
"Will I learn to read?"

But when he and the other children arrive at the schoolyard, they find no classroom, no desks. Just a teacher. "We will build our school," she says. "This is our first

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Overview

It is the first day of school in Chad, Africa. Children are filling the road.

"Will they give us a notebook?" Thomas asks.
"Will they give us a pencil?"
"Will I learn to read?"

But when he and the other children arrive at the schoolyard, they find no classroom, no desks. Just a teacher. "We will build our school," she says. "This is our first lesson."

James Rumford, who lived in Chad as a Peace Corps volunteer, fills these pages with vibrant ink-and-pastel colors of Africa and the spare words of a poet to show how important learning is in a country where only a few children are able to go to school.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"While serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, Rumford was a teacher in Chad, and the authentic details illuminate the spare text and beautiful artwork. On double-page spreads, the colored-pencil, ink, and pastel images echo the words’ elemental rhythms as they contrast golden-hued portraits of the children happily learning with dark, rain-drenched scenes of the school disappearing. The building eventually vanishes, but "it doesn’t matter. The letters have been learned and taken away by the children."...Without a heavy message, this spare and moving offering will leave kids thinking about the daily lives of other young people around the world."—Booklist, starred review

"The illustrations are dramatic and inviting, with the black linework strong yet casual and nimble in its delineation of the excited kids and their self-built surroundings; more immediately striking is the array of bright colors, in mottled, strongly resisting pigments that sometimes suggest fresco, sometimes crayon, against the richly textured sandy-gold walls of the mud school. The notion that school on the other side of the world is both different and similar will be interesting to schoolgoers and aspirants, and this could elicit discussion about other kinds of ways schools could and do work."—The Bulletin

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
The first day of school in a little village in Chad has far different meaning to the local children than it would to their American counterparts. These children build their school from scratch before they can start to learn. Mud walls and desks must be constructed. Grass must be gathered and spread for a roof. The very desire to have an education involves hard, physical labor. The children are up to the task, and their combined effort will lead to a good discussion of working as a group to achieve a goal. Once the school is built, the enthusiastic and supportive teacher starts teaching, first without tools but then with minimal supplies. A pencil and notebook are great gifts for these children. At the end of the school year, the rainy season starts and the school literally "washes away." The children, however, have learned their lessons and will begin again next year. This is an awesome way to discuss the value of education as children study the eager faces of African students and the importance they attach to the rudimentary tools of learning. Children can compare and contrast the ease with which they come to school in sturdy buildings, well equipped with new school supplies. This is a celebration of education that can provide an excellent lesson in cultural differences, geography and hopefully, gratitude for the bounty of the American classroom. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—"In the country of Chad, it is the first day of school. The dry dirt road is filling up with children. Big brothers and sisters are leading the way." Thomas and the other younger children follow behind their older siblings, bombarding them with eager questions. "Will they give us a notebook? Will they give us a pencil? Will I learn to read like you?" When the children arrive at the schoolyard, they find only their teacher. Working under her direction, they build a school, using a wood frame, a few bricks, and a thatch roof and walls. With that completed, they have their classes. Nine months go by and rain clouds begin to gather. School is over until next year. Along with the rain comes the wind, and over time, the building disappears—washed away. Come September, the process will begin again. The final illustration features a smiling confident Thomas at the forefront, with eager, younger children following behind. The yellow, brown, and burnt orange shades dominate each of the spreads, both as background color and as part the dry, sandy, and hot landscape. The message of the story is clear—while the school structure may be temporary, education is permanent. This book also gives young children a glimpse into the school life of children in another part of the world.—Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547771472
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/25/2010
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
Lexile:
AD420L (what's this?)
File size:
9 MB
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"While serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, Rumford was a teacher in Chad, and the authentic details illuminate the spare text and beautiful artwork. On double-page spreads, the colored-pencil, ink, and pastel images echo the words’ elemental rhythms as they contrast golden-hued portraits of the children happily learning with dark, rain-drenched scenes of the school disappearing. The building eventually vanishes, but "it doesn’t matter. The letters have been learned and taken away by the children."...Without a heavy message, this spare and moving offering will leave kids thinking about the daily lives of other young people around the world."—Booklist, starred review

"The illustrations are dramatic and inviting, with the black linework strong yet casual and nimble in its delineation of the excited kids and their self-built surroundings; more immediately striking is the array of bright colors, in mottled, strongly resisting pigments that sometimes suggest fresco, sometimes crayon, against the richly textured sandy-gold walls of the mud school. The notion that school on the other side of the world is both different and similar will be interesting to schoolgoers and aspirants, and this could elicit discussion about other kinds of ways schools could and do work."—The Bulletin

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Meet the Author

Master storyteller James Rumford combines his love for art and history in his picture books. Each of his books is vastly different in its content, design, and illustrations but one aspect remains constant throughout his work: his passion about his subjects. Rumford, a resident of Hawaii, has studied more than a dozen languages and worked in the Peace Corps, where he traveled to Africa, Asia, and Afghanistan. He draws from these experiences and the history of his subject when he is working on a book. His book Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing was a 2005 Sibert Honor winner.

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