Our relationship with rain is fraught. We’ve just seen areas in New South Wales flooded by record-breaking rains and the effect of this chaos and loss is hard to measure. Many of the same communities had also experienced drought and bushfires not long before.
Rain can be devastating or joy-bringing, a threat or a relief – and all the shades of cloudy grey in between.
Home in the Rain by Bob Graham (Walker Books)
This book brings back so many memories of rainy car journeys. Graham packs in both an intimate family story and panoramic detail. Francie and her pregnant mum are driving home from Grandma’s. The grey pages are streaked with driving rain, falling so hard on the canal it turns “the water white”. He nails all the emotional colours too: “the windscreen wipers in despair”, the yearning and anticipation to be back home, the utter relief when the sun appears…
Big Fella Rain by Beryl Webber illustrated by Fern Martins (Magabala Books)
You can absolutely smell and feel the rain in this book which tells of a storm breaking “way up north” in Australia – the skies, the earth, the flowers, the birds, the animals all express the moment in the incredible watery illustrations and poetic descriptive text. Who could resist the glee of those frogs…
Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Halls illustrated by David Litchfield (Walker Books)
This is a sweeping book, with big feelings and epically gorgeous illustrations. The text is pared down, rhythmic and powerful to deliver its optimistic message. It’s a beautiful and accessible metaphorical book to handle ongoing challenges.
Big Rain Coming by Katrina Germein illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft (Puffin)
Depicting the deep longing for rain over one week in the dry hot bush, this book is another you feel and smell. Old Stephen predicts the rain and Brownwyn Bancroft’s powerful illustrations show the towering cloud building and advancing on the horizon. Reading, we experience the overheated tension of waiting and utter joy when the rain comes.
Thunderstorm Dancing by Katrina Germein illustrated by Judy Watson (Allen & Unwin)
No apologies for including two of Katrina Germein’s books here – she is a wondrous writer of weather. This book really stuck in our minds after first borrowing a year or so ago. A family of a young girl staying at the beach are caught up in a storm. Instead of just watching it, each member of the family becomes some facet of the storm; dancing together they become the weather itself.
A couple other newly published rainy day books I’d love to check out: Sunday Rain by Rosie J. Pova illustrated by Amariah Rauscher (Lantana) and Sunny-Side Up by Jacky Davis illustrated by Fiona Woodcock (Harpercollins).
Check out my post about the marvellously percussive Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Candlewick Press) about sheltering from a storm in the city.
Home in the Rain and Rain Before Rainbows borrowed from Karrinyup Library
Big Fella Rain, Big Rain Coming and Thunderstorm Dancing borrowed from Duncraig Library @joondaluplibraries