Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and David Litchfield. The publisher offered a free download – click here. See what illustrator David Litchfield Illustration has to say about his latest publication:
“Drawing this book was a complete joy. The emotion that comes through Smriti’s poetic writing is really powerful and it was a very happy challenge to try and translate that visually within the illustrations. There are many messages that this book contains. What stands out most for me personally is the idea that the journey that the girl and her Fox friend find themselves on is obviously really tough and really scary, but they keep going. They keep holding on to hope. I completely loved that idea when I first started drawing the book all those months ago, and I absolutely love it now as I sit here writing this note. In fact, the idea of ‘Hope over Fear’ is one of the reasons the Fox looks the way it does. No matter how dark and terrifying things might get, the pattern on Fox’s fur will be a constant reminder of the light and natural beauty that exists in the world.
For the past few months a lot of you have been drawing your own rainbows and displaying them on your windows. I have loved seeing some of these on my daily walks. They always remind me of all the brave people in the world. They also remind me of the Girl and her magic Fox and the journey that they had together. Hope over Fear. Rain Before Rainbows.”
Picturebook as object
Front cover: The main characters are at the end of a rainbow, so it presents the end of the story. Ask the children how they got there. Notice the fox is filled with leaves and twigs
Endpapers : These suggest a passing of time. Front endpapers are dark and foreboding, the beginning of the story. The back endpapers are bright and sunny suggesting a happy hopeful end.
Title page: Read the psalm (if appropriate to your context) on the copyright page, as it has significance for interpreting the story.
Notice how the colour scheme moves from dark to light as the book progresses
Considering different features of the picturebook such as the way David Lichtfield creates light.
Literary literacy: identifying and predicting rhyming words and rhythm, developing phonological awareness, recognising collocations and processes.
Emotional literacy: identifying emotions and feelings by reading facial expressions and plotting the cycle of emotions as the story unfolds.
Visual literacy: recognising how colour is used to depict changes in mood and atmosphere.
Nature literacy: noticing details in the illustrations – animals, plants, trees, seasons and changes in landscapes and in the weather.
1. Grumpy Frog by Ed Vere.
Great book with a strong message of being tolerant, supporting each other and living together in harmony. A few months ago we wrote a mini e-lesson for this book based on Ed’s read-aloud. If you have the book, you will notice that the final rainbow picture is not included in this video. In our e-lesson children are asked to predict / write / draw their own ending which might just include a rainbow? Here is the link to the lesson and I have added the final rainbow image. If you are new to our minis, check the teaching notes to learn more about the underlying pedagogy and how they work.
2. Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival
“Meet Ruby, a happy, curious, imaginative girl. But one day, she finds something unexpected: a Worry. It’s not such a big Worry, at first. But every day, it grows a little bigger . . . This perceptive and poignant story is the perfect springboard for talking to children about emotional intelligence and sharing hidden anxieties.”
CLPE has created a teaching pack which no doubt will give you many ideas: https://bit.ly/35s17jM and here is the activity pack by the publisher with a fabulous Worry-Buster activity https://bit.ly/35xcdUD
If you watch UK TV, you will have seen the new BBC Children in Need Goodbye Rainbows short-film by Tom Percival. https://bit.ly/34qylR7
Tom says that: Over the past few years I’ve made a lot of children’s books that explore emotional wellbeing. When I talk to groups of children at schools or festival events and ask, ‘who has ever felt angry?’ or ‘who has ever felt worried?’ hundreds of hands shoot up. Of course they do. These feelings are completely universal, it’s all part of being human, sometimes we feel good and sometimes… we don’t.
But what about the children who have even more to cope with than the emotional up’s and downs that we all face – and especially during these last six, testing months? […] So that was what I wanted to communicate, a message of hope. To do this, I decided upon using the metaphor of a persistent raincloud which follows each child around always getting in the way, always causing a problem and stopping them from being able to enjoy their childhood and achieving everything they are capable of. Then, with the help of the respective charity workers; like Charlie at PEEK, Ella at Back Up or Thora the hearing dog, these children are eventually able to find a way to get rid of these gloomy clouds and say “Goodbye Rainclouds!” All about Tom Percival BBC Children in Need CLPE