Title: Rain School
Author and Illustrator: James Rumford
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Concepts: human resources, scarcity, economic development, child schooling
Review: Thomas, a young child in the African country of Chad, eagerly anticipates his first day of school. When he arrives at the schoolyard, Thomas is surprised to see a teacher but no building and no desks. He discovers that before the reading instruction can begin, he needs to help make mud bricks, build walls, and thatch a roof. When the school term ends nine months later, Thomas has learned a great deal. That knowledge will stay with him, even though not much will remain of the mud building once the rainy season has passed its course.
With its exuberant illustrations and graceful text, this book introduces readers to how young children living in remote parts of Chad, one of the poorest countries in the world, may experience primary school. The author draws on his Peace Corps experience in Chad to add realism and to convey the desire of children to overcome the obstacles they face and become educated.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children