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Rain School    by James Rumford order for
Rain School
by James Rumford
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

With American education coming under fire lately, as well as deplorable conditions in some American public schools, this picture book is both timely and relevant.

In Rain School, students in Chad, Africa take part in building their own school out of mud bricks. This is a surprise to Thomas, who is going to school for the first time with his sister.

When he gets to school, there is no building. Thomas arrives at the schoolyard, but there are no classrooms. There are no desks. It doesn't matter. There is a teacher. 'We will build our school,' she says. 'This is the first lesson.'

After the children build the school, they learn their lessons for a nine-month school year. Soon, the winds and rain destroy the school that the children have built. While the school's structure may have been eradicated, the education received there is a lasting monument, and that is the book's lesson.

Slowly, the school disappears until there is almost nothing left. It doesn't matter. The letters have been learned and the knowledge taken away by the children.

This book, with its elegant, dignified drawings, is an important addition to education-related literature for young people.

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