Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010
It is the first day of school for Thomas and the other children of his village in Chad. When Thomas and the other children arrive there is no school building, just a teacher. The students' first lesson is how to build a school from the ground up, as they do every year after the summer rainy season.
Rain school stems directly from James Rumford's experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Chad and his knowledge shows. Many details, from the patterns of fabric to the local fauna, make it evident that he is familiar with the country. The backgrounds of the illustrations are predominantly shades of yellow and orange, which not only gave me a sense of heat but also provide an appropriately joyous atmosphere to the book.
It is difficult for many of us to imagine having to build a school every September in order to have a place to learn or teach. However, people in many parts of the world are not as lucky as we are and need to go above and beyond simply to learn, and Rain school is a delightful introduction to the topic.