Rainy Day Reading

By Molly Alexander

We have certainly had our fair share of rainy days this summer. We hope everyone enjoys the much deserved sunshine this week! Here are some family reading suggestions for the next time we are met with a rainy day.

The Family Reading Partnership advocates for children to play outside every day, rain or shine. Rather than racking our brains to come up with fun indoor activities, there’s a whole world of adventure and open-ended play to be had when we gear up and step outside. But, when it is too stormy or when we are simply tired of all the rain, sometimes curling up with a bunch of good books is the coziest way to embrace the day. 

Here are some book suggestions for rainy day family reading with infants, toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary aged children. Most of the following books are available through the Finger Lakes Library System. Each book explores different aspects of rain- the rhythm and sounds of rain, the role of rain in nature, stories of joyful and playful rainy days, and books that speak to the fear and disappointment that might come up during thunderstorms and days stuck indoors. We hope these books will bring your family some comfort on the next rainy day!

If you feel that your child is old enough to discuss the increased rainfall in connection to the climate crisis, reading a book together can be a helpful way to begin your conversation. It’s worth noting that there is an oversaturation of children’s books about climate change right now— the number of new children’s books about the climate crisis and wildlife more than doubled in 2019! It can be overwhelming to sort through all these new books and choose which ones would be most meaningful and engaging for your child. Here is an excellent list of suggested reading put together by environmental educators. 

Rainy Day Reading List:

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider Illustrated by Rosemary Wells

Age: Infants and Toddlers

This illustrated version of the beloved classic nursery rhyme is a warm and comforting book that will have even the very youngest readers eager to turn the page and remember the words. Babies and toddlers will be drawn in by the illustrations of the friendly-looking goose, chicken and spider playing by the water spout, and the melody and rhyme of the song will capture their attention. You might find yourself reading it again and again!

Who Likes Rain? By Wong Herbert Yee

Age: Toddlers and Preschoolers

“Pit-pit-pit on the window pane. Down, down, down come the drops of rain.” Toddlers will love the rhyming and expressive language in this book that invites the reader into a guessing game to find out which animals like the rain and which ones don’t. The illustrations are just as cozy and soothing as a rainy day. Toddlers will especially relate to the child in the book who excitedly jumps barefoot into a puddle with an adventurous “Ker-splat!”

Rain by Peter Spier

Age: Toddlers and Preschoolers

This wordless picture book uses illustrations to tell the story of two children in a rainstorm. The children play in a world transformed by rain and each page is filled with activity and life. Reading a wordless picture book together is a wonderful way to connect and talk about what you both see!

Rabbits & Raindrops by Jim Arnosky

Age: Toddlers and Preschoolers

This beautiful book follows a mother rabbit as she leads her five baby rabbits out of the nest for the first time. They nibble clover, meet grasshoppers, spiders and bees, play tag, and then suddenly rain begins to fall on their exciting day. The rabbits must quickly duck back to their shelter under the hedge— for as readers will learn, rabbit fur is not waterproof. Arnosky’s watercolor illustrations are up-close and detailed, allowing children (and adult readers alike!) to feel like they are experiencing the rain from the rabbit’s point of view. This book is currently on display as a Story Walk behind Enfield Elementary school, starting at the apple orchard to the right of the school!

On Monday When It Rained by Cherryl Kachenmeister, photographs by Tom Berthiaume

Age: Preschooler

“On Monday when it rained my mother said I couldn’t play outside. I wanted to ride my new red bike with the blue horn to my friend Maggie’s house. I was… disappointed.” Matter-of-fact language and real-life portrait photographs of a child’s face come together to create a book about different events that occur throughout one child’s week and how he feels in response to them. This book will help children to identify and explore their emotions in a way that feels safe, clear, and accepting. It is a great choice for those rainy day blues.

Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse, illustrated by Jon J Muth

Age: Preschoolers and Early Elementary

“Up and down the block, cats pant, heat wavers off tar patches in the broiling alleyway.” The summer depicted in this book is quite different than our own has been— there’s a heatwave and a drought and everyone is hoping for rain to come. The plants are parched and drooping, and a young girl hopefully watches the sky for rain. When she sees the rain clouds rolling in, she finds her friend and they go outside in their bathing suits to dance under the rain. Soon her mama, and then the entire neighborhood, are outside together dancing in the rain and everything is springing back to life.

Thundercake by Patricia Polacco

Age: Preschoolers and Early Elementary

In this enchanting book Patricia Polacco tells the story of how her grandmother— her Babushka— helped her to overcome her fear of thunderstorms when she was a little girl. It’s thundering outside and a storm is brewing. Grandma finds her special recipe for Thunder Cake and they embark on an adventure to collect all the necessary ingredients to bake the cake before the storm rolls in. Collecting eggs from mean old Nellie Peck Hen and milk from old Kick Cow, and even a secret ingredient last, they hurry back inside all while counting the seconds between the lightning and the thunder to know how many miles away the storm is. What better way to enjoy a storm than by watching it out the windows while safe and snug with a slice of warm cake. This is the perfect story to read to a child who might be afraid of thunderstorms. If you’re feeling inspired, you could even try baking your own Thunder Cake following the recipe at the end of the book!

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