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Rain School

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  229 ratings  ·  79 reviews
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 i
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 28th 2010 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published September 17th 2010)
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I read this book to a couple of Kindergarten classes this week in leau of Tsumami by Kimiko Kajikawa. It is a simple story of a school in Chad, Africa, which must first be built by the children and their teacher before classes start. When school lets out for the summer, the heavy rains come and wash their school of mud bricks and straw away leaving them to have to rebuild again in September. I love the way the author makes it a point to tell the reader that the learning that has taken place duri ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This story takes place in Chad, and describes how a group of school children have to build their school out of mud bricks and thatch before they can begin lessons. At the end of their school year, the rainy season comes and washes their school away. Everything has to be rebuilt for the next school year. This is one place where a permanent school out of wood or corrugated metal would help. I liked the illustrations, which looked like they were pictures colored with crayons in a coloring book. For ...more
This book is another book that was one of the chosen books for the Washington State Children's Choice Picture Book Award. The pictures in this book are tremendous, they look like crayon and then they were made to look wet like rain had gotten to them. The story was beautiful because it told of a life much different than ours. It talked about a school in Chad where big brothers and sisters were the ones that led them to school instead of a Bus and they had to build the entire school, step by step ...more
CH13_Lisa Matthews
Rain School is a story about children in African in a village name Chad and a little boy name Thomas and their first day of school. For many children in the United States their first day of school begins in a building inside a classroom. For the children in Chad, their first day of school begin with them and their teacher building their school with sticks, mud bricks, mud walls, mud desk, grass and saplings for the roof. School for the children in Chad last for nine month, after which the big ra ...more
I never fail to be amazed at the lengths some individuals must go to in order to receive an education. Filled with vibrant, engaging illustrations, this picture book describes how the children in one village in Chad, just south of Libya, eagerly anticipate the first day of school. While they imagine the materials they will get to use for the very first time, once they arrive they must build the school and its desks out of grass and soil. The reason for this first-day activity is revealed at the ...more
Dana Beyer
It should make us appreciate what educaational opportunities e have in the US. The story of the struggle to build a school out of mud bricks, saplings, and thatched grass is the children's first lesson, Their teacher is very positive. The school ends after nine months BUT the whole school is washed away in the rainly season to have to be built again in the fall. Bit the knowlege is not washed awaay. It is within each of the children who attended.. written by a peace corps volunteer. the illustra ...more
Rain School tells the story of Thomas, a young boy in Chad starting his first day of school. The story starts the way many stories about the first day of school begin -- Thomas is getting dressed in his school clothes, he asks questions about notebooks and pencils, and his older brother and sister walk him to school.

When Thomas gets to school however, there is no actual school. The teacher and the students work together to build the school, put up a roof, and make desks. And after they build th
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Amy Musser
It is the first day of school in Chad, Africa and Thomas is very excited. As he walks to school he asks the big brothers and sisters who lead the way many questions. Will he get a pencil? A notebook? Will he learn to read? When the children arrive at the schoolyard they find the teacher, but no schoolhouse. Their first lesson is to build the school. Thomas learns how to make walls and desks out of mud and he gathers grass and saplings to make the roof. Finally, the students sit in their very own ...more
Amber Hestwood
I found this book to be very interesting. It is about a school children in Chad, Africa. Their first day is spent very differently than that of kids here in the US. They have to build their school before they can start to learn because after nine months of learning, the rains come and wash the school away, hence the title of the book. I think that this story could send a very strong message to kids the value of their education. I do not want to even think of the moans and groans I would hear if ...more
Megan D. Neal
A gentle story about a boy in Chad, central Africa, who is excited to go to school and finds out when he gets there that first they must re-build the school. My girls liked this look at the school experience for children in some parts of Africa and so did I.

(When I saw this book at the library, I was excited to read it because Chad was the first African country I lived in when my parents brought me there as a newborn, and we visited monthly over the next three years when we moved over the borde
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
It’s the first day of school. A group of children are walking to school, excited about the start of classes. They walk and walk and finally they arrive. There are no books. There are no desks. There is no school building. The teacher is there. ‘’We will build our school,” she says. “This is the first lesson.”’

What a moment. ‘”We will build our school,” she says. “This is the first lesson.”

The children live in the African county of Chad. The children have an excitement about learning that I don’t
Amy Carr
This is a beautifully written and illustrated story about children attending their first day of school in a small village in Africa. First they have to work together to build their school and then they meet to "learn". But as you discover, the learning really begins that first day as they work together to accomplish this huge goal and continues throughout the year even when the rains wash their school away. The book very simply illustrates some excellent thoughts about the value of education, wh ...more
I give it four stars because it teaches you about building schools and about how you learn and when you grow up, you lead your group to the school and when you get there, you have to build the school, so this book teaches you how to be a good helper and not to deny working. You have to do it. (Noah)
I give this book four stars because it teaches you about schools and it wants you to go to school a lot and it wants you to learn about how to build schools. (Isaiah)
I give this book 5 starts beca
Kate Hastings
Grades K-5. It is the first day of school in Tchad, a country in Africa. The main character walks with older students until they find their teacher... but no school. That is their first lesson. Building the school. Once the school is built of mud and grass-- the reading, writing, geography and math classes begin.

Great discussion about how school supplies are few in some schools around the world. Students have 1 pencil and notebook to keep track of the whole year. Some kids live outside the schoo
Beautiful children's book about a village school in Chad, Africa, that is rebuilt every year after the seasonal rains turn the building into mud. Sweet and significant message about the joy of learning for younger children (K-3rd grade).

(See also the YouTube video with the complete text and illustrations set to music. )
I really liked this book, though the story within wasn't what I was expecting to read after viewing the cover. This is a great story to share with kids in first/second-world schools, as it shows children in Africa (Chad, in this story) being excited about learning even with the hardships they have to endure. Everything was a learning experience, from the building of the school to the alphabet to geography and more. Then after the children go home for the summer, the hard summer rains destroy the ...more
Katie Fleming
"Rain School," by James Rumford is a story about what school is like for children who live in Chad, Africa. Every year, the students have to build a new school out of straw and mud because it is washed away by the rain annually. This book is a shock. American students do not understand what life is like outside of America. I think this book is wonderful and it portrays the difference of the rest of the world. Also, I think students may learn to appreciate school and knowledge more because it is ...more
Easy to read book with very nice illustrations. I will be keeping this one in mind for when my son is a little older and we start to study some preschool-level culture and geography. :)
This was an inspiring story about children building their own mud and thatch school each year so that they can learn until it is washed away by the summer rains. It's simple in the telling, but has a strong theme about love of learning, desire for education, and the fact that once you have learned something, nobody can take that away from you. Great lessons for older kids! It wasn't quite as appropriate for my baby, who is currently more interested in interesting sound effects and bold pictures, ...more
This would be a great book for students to use to compare their school with schools in Chad, Africa.
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I will say i did like this book quite a bit. It's a fascinating story and I like how the author tells the readers as well as, showing then how school is over in Africa. It teaches readers how tough it is and some of the hardships the people over there have to go through in order to be able to provide everything they need to educate the children. I thought the pictures and colors through out the book were good. It's a good book worth reading. I would suggest this book as a good one for young chil ...more
I think the teacher in me in what made me love this book and pick it up at a bookstore. There is definitely a good lesson in it which speaks for appreciating the chance to have an education, and is probably a book I would read during the first days of school. I've found a new favorite children's author in James Rumford now as I explore the other books he has written having to do with different cultures and experiences. Of the ones I've read though, this one is still my favorite.
An inspiring look at the effort required for students to go to school in a village in the African country of Chad. The students build the school that they will study in as well as the desks and stools they will use. A nice read-a-loud for younger students that gives a glimpse of a world so very different from their own. The illustrations are bright and colorful and create an energetic feel for the story, for the passion that drives these students and their teacher.
Thomas is so excited for his first day of school in Chad, Africa. But upon arriving to the "school", they find there are no classrooms, no desks, no school....but there is a teacher. Starting from the ground up, the students build their own school and then fill their minds with knowledge. Using his own personal experience from his time in the Peace Corps, Rumford's book demonstrates how valued learning is in a country where very few children are able to go to school.
Kellie C.
Thomas, a child who lives in Chad, is accompanied by his siblings on his first day of school. When they arrive they are greeted by a teacher who says "We will build our school, this is the first lesson". The book goes on to describe the building of the school and the lessons that take place through the end of the school year. Engaging story and vibrant illustrations...I read this book to a group of first graders and they were fascinated.

Kentucky Bluegrass Nominee.
Karen Arendt
An excellent story about the importance of education, how once you learn something it cannot be taken away, and the perseverance of continuing despite difficulties. Accessible for the youngest children, the story shows children in Chad, Africa going to school only to find when they get there, they need to build the structure. That is okay because they have a teacher. Then, after the rains come, the building falls apart, ready to be built again next season.
Set in Chad, the first task the students have is to build their school. And they do - with mud bricks for walls, mud desks, and a grass roof to provide cool shade. Rumford's palette is oranges and tans and browns and yellows of a dry environment . . . until the rainy season comes again. Side note: His rain scenes were inspired by Japanese prints, and are lovely. I especially like the picture of the students drawing the A in the air with their arms outstreched.
This was a great story about a young boy excited to go to school for the first time. When he got there his school was not there. His teacher said their first lesson would be making the school. So they made their school and then started all there lessons afterwords. At the end of the story the heavy rains came again and the next school year the first lesson will be making a new school.

Wonderful for my diversity collection.
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I have been writing, illustrating, and designing children's books since 1996. I am on the verge of self-publishing through books that are printed on demand and via the internet. For more on my children's books, see my website: I also have a blog about writing and illustrating children's books at Besides commercially published books, ...more
More about James Rumford...
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