Home in the Rain


Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.

John Updike

Last week, at Reading Rocks South West, I was introduced to Bob Graham’s ‘Home in the Rain’ by the lovely people at Bookwagon. I can’t believe I missed it when it first came out and I am very grateful to them as it’s a real treasure!

Francie, mum and Baby Sister are on their way home from a visit to Grandma in their little red car. The rain is lashing down so the little family stop to eat the picnic packed by Grandma. Whilst they shelter from the storm, Francie wonders what they will call Baby Sister when she arrives. Will they decide before they get home?


This is such a tender, loving book. Bob Graham skilfully hones in on the everyday, exploring the things that concern Francie beautifully. The warmth of the relationships- between Grandma, Francie and Mum and between Mum and Francie- light each page, shown as much by the wonderful illustrations as the text. The very last picture is a complete joy, showing the love of this family perfectly. The comfort of the little red car contrasts with the beating rain, offering a safe space for Francie to explore her worries about the little sister yet to be born and the absence of her father, far out at sea.


Similarly, Francie’s joy and excitement when they decide on a new name is perfectly captured. Little details make each picture perfect for exploring time and time again, offering many stories to be told in addition to that of Francie and her mum.


It is a book radiant with joy and love; a simple tale, beautifully told which is going on my shelf of favourites!

Home in the Rain Bob Graham

Walker Books ISBN: 978-1406379785

Half Term Book Crawl!


This week, I have been on a quest to seek out some of the best books on offer for this year’s North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards 2019. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! Although I wasn’t able to visit as many as I’d hoped due to other things getting in the way, I managed to visit some in London, Bath, Bristol and Taunton.


It’s always a pleasure to pop in to Waterstones Picadilly and have a browse in the children’s section. I love the way it is laid out and the displays they have. I found some great non-fiction ideas here as well as some suggestions for our Read Aloud category.


Close by is Hatchards- delightfully charming with its old-fashioned air and quiet rooms- another favourite for spending some time. I spent quite a while sitting in their children’s room, exploring a large pile of treasures. Found some wonderful picture books here!


Although not a bookshop and alarmingly changed since I used to visit as a child, I must include this picture of Paddington I took when I popped into Hamleys as it made me very happy!


Foyles on the Southbank was a veritable cornucopia of book-ish delight for many categories. Once again, there was lots of wonderful non-fiction and I chose a few books which I think will work really well as Quality Fiction candidates.


Foyles in Bristol was equally interesting and offered some additional finds. (This picture was taken a while ago as I forgot to take a photo whilst there!)


Bath offers the triple joy of Waterstones, Mr B’s and Toppings.


All three produced some great ideas, but poetry remains the hardest category to find a wide selection of ideas for. Still, we will continue searching!


Visiting Mr B’s was a particular delight this time as they have extended and now have their new children’s room which is a wonderful space, well worth a visit.


Finally, I visited the stalls at Reading Rocks on Saturday. Book Island were there with their usual fabulous selection of very original and beautiful picture books. Bookwagon had a stall there with lots of lovely books, many translated or by authors/ illustrators from other countries. The main bookshop was provided by The Roving Bookshop whose range never ceases to amaze me. I found some real treasures, not necessarily for the awards, but wonderful books it’s hard to get hold of now! I think we need a new award’s category to pay tribute to these!


So, lots of lovely new books ready for consideration, but many more still to discover! Let’s get reading!