Rain!

Written by Linda Ashman, Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. 978-0547733951

Reviews & Honors

The Ezra Jack Keats Award for New Illustrator for Christian Robinson

“Buoyant.” — The New York Times Sunday Book Review

“Altogether delightful. ” — Starred review, Kirkus

“Perfect for storytime sharing.” — School Library Journal

“Good and bad moods alike can be contagious, as this rainy-day story handily demonstrates.” — Publishers Weekly

Extras—For Parents and Teachers:

RAIN! Teachers Guide

Extras—For Writers:

Want to see what the text of a nearly-wordless manuscript looks like? And my messy—but helpful—storyboard?

RAIN_Submission                 RAIN! Storyboard

About this Story

In a small household like ours — two adults and one teenager — someone’s bad mood can put all three of us in a funk (and send the dogs skulking off, to boot). Luckily for me, Jack and Jackson have mostly sunny dispositions. Mostly. I’m the one most likely to have the black cloud hovering over my head.

I was thinking about the power of moods one day, and how even an encounter with a stranger can lift your spirits or dampen them. In a face to face meeting, I wondered, which force field would dominate, the positive or the negative? And how might one convey the contagious impact of a mood in a picture book?

From the beginning, I imagined a story told in images rather than words. I wanted something universal — and visual — that two people might respond to very differently. Rain fit the bill. Then it was a matter of coming up with two contrasting people — a young boy and an older man — and showing how differently the two reacted to the weather. And then showing how the two responded to each other when brought face to face. This was the tricky part.

Kate O’Sullivan at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquired the manuscript. Besides being a genuine pleasure to work with, Kate signed up the oh-so-talented Christian Robinson to illustrate the book. I love Christian’s characters, especially the adorable little boy, his city landscape, and the heart he brings to the story. Oh, he also gave my anonymous coffee shop the perfect name: The Rain or Shine Cafe.

Illustrations copyright 2013 by Christian Robinson. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.