Growing Reader

Rainy Day Reads:
7 Picture Books That Revel in the Magic of Rain

by Jennifer Garry

Illustration credit: StudioBarcelona, iStock/Getty Images

Rain gets a bad rap. More often than not, when we see it in the forecast, we groan and wish for sunshine and clear skies. But rain can be magical! From those drizzly days to downpours, too. These seven picture books celebrate the beauty and enchantment of those cool, wet drops falling from the sky.

  • Worm Weather

    by Jean Taft, illustrated by Matt Hunt

    This story follows a boy and a girl as they go for a puddle-filled walk in the rain. With simple, rhyming text and engaging illustrations, readers watch the kids stomp, hop, and run through the rain as earthworms wiggle around beneath the surface. Playful and uncomplicated, this story will have even the littlest readers itching to romp in the rain.

  • Rain

    by Sam Usher

    Rain is a character in this story, thanks to a combination of a little boy’s imagination and Sam Usher’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations. When Sam sees it’s raining, he’s delighted by the possibilities for adventure. But it’s pouring, so Granddad thinks they should stay inside until the rain stops. Sam settles for daydreaming about grand, rain-soaked escapades until Granddad says they need to go out to mail a letter. A wonder-filled journey unfolds that’s sure to enchant.

  • Tap Tap Boom Boom

    by Elizabeth Bluemle, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

    The rhythmic, onomatopoeic language in this story captures the energy and excitement of getting caught in a rainstorm. The book takes readers from the first drops of rain to the moment the sun peeks back out — and highlights the unexpected camaraderie of strangers in New York City caught in a rainy moment together.

  • It’s Raining!

    by Gail Gibbons

    For curious readers hungry for facts, It’s Raining! tackles the big questions: What is rain? Why do we need it? How can we stay safe and dry during a storm? Through clear text and vibrant illustrations, Gibbons explores rain in a way that children will understand without ever talking down to them.

  • When the Wind Blows

    by Linda Booth Sweeney, illustrated by Jana Christy

    At first glance this story seems to focus on wind, but then it unravels the thrill in the air before a big rainstorm. When the wind begins to blow, this little family doesn’t hunker down — they pull on their boots and grab a kite. As the wind picks up, the kite escapes them, and they race to catch it before the rain sets in. The narrative’s comprised of simple two-word sentences that combine with the swirling illustrations to sweep readers into the story.

  • Rain

    by Manya Stojic

    This book traces the anticipation of several animals as rain comes to the hot, parched African savanna. The animals use their five senses to detect an oncoming storm: A porcupine smells rain, zebras see lightning, baboons hear thunder, a rhino feels raindrops, and, finally, a lion tastes the rain. The bright, bold illustrations will engross young readers.

  • Home in the Rain

    by Bob Graham

    Home in the Rain follows Francie, her mom, and her unborn sister on their long trek home from Grandma’s during a downpour. Forced to pull over and wait out the storm, a bored, dreamy Francie writes Mommy, Daddy, and Francie on the windows with her breath and wonders what her baby sister’s name will be. Once on the road again, Francie’s mom decides on the baby’s name in a magical moment Francie is sure she’ll remember forever.