Written and illustrated by James Rumford
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010
Themes: Tchad, Africa, school, rainy season
In the country of Chad it is the first day of school. The dry dirt road is filling up with children. Big brothers and big sisters are leading the way.
It’s Thomas’ first day at school and he wonders what will happen. But when the chidlren arrive in the schoolyard, after a long walk, there’s no classroom to be found, not even a building. The first lesson will be to build the school! The children, big and small, throw themselves into this first activity, learning new skills as they do. With sparse text, the author then details the simple but enthusiastic learning that fills the school year. At the end of nine months the storm clouds are gathering and the rainy season arrives. The rains and wind not only terminate the academic year, but they tear off the school roof and melt the mud walls, until almost nothing remains. As the dry season returns, Thomas, now one of the big boys, will rebuild and continue his education.
Why I like this book:
In a nation where very few children go to school, this story highlights the importance of school, the effort adults and children will go to for education and the ability to teach and learn with very few resources. It is a warm story and the scenes are all set against a warm, orange, sunny African backdrop, until the rain clouds threaten. Vibrant African illustrations welcome the reader into this little known central African country. This hunger to learn has been my own personal experience throughout east, west and southern Africa. James Rumford and his wife lived and taught in Tcahd as peace corps volunteers and the firsthand experience is evident in the illustrations and story. Another great multicultural text to add to your home or classroom.
Diane did a wonderful interview with Jim on her blog, Patient Dreamer.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.