Monday, November 17, 2014

‘Rain Reign’ by Ann M. Martin

Book cover, Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. Image shows the silhouettes of a girl and dog running through a field during an evening rain.
The people in Rose Howard’s life get angry with her sometimes for her insistence on following rules. Her tendency to point out every driving infraction got her kicked off the school bus.

Rose’s dog Rain provides consolation and solace in her lonely life. Rain’s name is extra special because it’s a double homonym; the words “Rain,” “Reign” and “Rain” all sound alike, but have different meanings.

Rose’s father lets Rain outside during a terrible storm, and the dog becomes lost. To find her beloved dog, Rose carefully executes a systematic and detailed plan.

But as important as it was for Rose to find Rain, she also has to follow the rules. And sometimes in order to do the right thing, you have to make difficult choices.

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (Feiwel and Friends, 2014) is shelved as juvenile fiction, available through Jackson County Library Services. And it’s the latest addition to my list of recommended books for readers on the autism spectrum.

One area that readers need to pay particular awareness is to the use of “functioning labels” in reference to the protagonist’s autism in some descriptive and review copy for this book. Use of these labels is controversial among members of the autism community. I recommend reading Bec Oakley’s essay at, “The Problem With Functioning Labels,” to understand the issues for concern.

Update, as of Feb. 2, 2015: Among youth media awards announced today by the American Library Association, Rain Reign is the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award, middle-school division, for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.

Disclosure of material connection: My taxes support my public library’s acquisition of this and other resources. I consider the access I enjoy to be a “priceless” return on my investment.

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