From sliding on those perfect London Littles rain boots and splashing in puddles to relishing in quiet moments indoors, there is so much joy to be found on rainy days. Our picture book contributors have put together a list of books that celebrate these small delights, teaching children how to find brightness even on the gloomiest of days.
1. Come On, Rain by Karen Hesse; illustrated by Jon J. Muth
On a dry, scorching summer day, a little girl yearns for the clouds to open up and let the rain come pouring down. At the first sight of a grey cloud, she collects her friends to rejoice in the summer storm. This treasure of a book uses vivid writing and lovely watercolor illustrations to remind readers of the rejuvenating effect rain has.
2. This Beautiful Day by Richard Jackson; illustrated by Suzy Lee
Three energetic children find the splendor of a rainy day by jumping in puddles and marching through their neighborhood inspiring others to join them in a carefree parade. The lively illustrations beautifully capture the movement of the children and the cheerful tone of the book.
3. I Don’t Like Rain by Sarah Dillard
When a group of woodland creatures scatter at the first sight of rain, a bunny wonders what it is about rain they don’t like. After getting soaked in the rainstorm, the bunny shares in their aversion to rain until she realizes she can have fun playing outside in her raincoat and rain boots! Colorful illustrations combined with onomatopoeia make this a good read aloud choice for children.
4. Float by Daniel Miyares
With his bright yellow rain slicker and boots on, a boy braves the rainy outdoors to sail his paper boat. This gorgeous wordless picture book captures the joy he feels when splashing through puddles and his anguish when his boat his lost down a drain pipe. The resourceful boy returns home to find comfort from his parents and an idea for a new adventure. This stunning story even comes complete with folding instructions for children to make their own boats and a special surprise at the end.
5. The Rain Stomper by Addie Boswell; illustrated by Eric Velasquez
When an annual parade has to be cancelled due to a rainstorm, a little girl named Jazmin is furious. She expresses her irritation by angrily splashing in puddles. Her stomps soon turn to skips, however, as she discovers the joy in playing in the rain. Other neighborhood children join in on the fun and when the sun appears, they deem Jazmin to be the Rain Stomper and congratulate her on driving away the storm. The spirited illustrations are perfectly paired with the playful onomatopoeic text that makes this book an excellent read aloud choice.
6. Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre
Stunning photographs paired with lyrical language provide incredible insight into the natural world during a rainstorm. The rhythmic text matches the pitter patter of the rain as gorgeous pictures showcase insects hiding under leaves while plants receive a refreshing shower. Once the storm is over, raindrops are seen elegantly dangling from spider webs or sliding down petals. An author’s note provides more detailed information on the various forms of water and why raindrops can cling, magnify, reflect, and eventually dry. This outstanding informative book will most likely encourage young readers to slide on their galoshes and explore their own backyards with a magnifying glass.
7. Puddle by Hyewon Yum
When a little boy is stuck inside his house, he grumpily pouts over all the things he cannot do. His creative mother invites him into her imaginative world where they draw pictures of themselves having fun outside in the rain. Inspired by their artwork, they venture outside to act out their inventive renderings.
8. After the Rain by Rebecca Koehn and Simone Krüger
Donning his rain gear, a boy excitedly races outside to play in a stream of water only to find another girl playing in the same area. A battle over the desired puddles ensues until the two children realize that their splashing is causing the water to disappear quickly. A truce is agreed upon and the children work together to create a new place to play, learning the important lesson that it is more fun to play together.
9. Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems
It is hard not to giggle while reading this award-winning book. The exuberant Piggie and her fretful friend, Gerald, are excited to play outside until they start to feel raindrops. In a comical reversal of roles, Piggie despairs that their day is ruined while Gerald helps her find fun on a rainy day. Perfect for newly independent readers or as a read aloud, this humorous book has tons of kid and parent appeal.
10. Singing in the Rain by Tim Hopgood (Henry Holt & Co.).
If a rainy day is giving you the blues, bust out this one and sing along; the bright colors and song are guaranteed to cheer you up.
11. Rain! by Linda Ashman and Christian Robinson (HMH Books for Young Readers).
Find the positive in everything and join a young child as he convinces a grumpy old man that rain can, in fact, be a great thing.
12. The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates (Simon & Schuster)
A message of inclusion is woven into this story about an umbrella. Perfect for reading on rainy - or sunny - days.
13. Worm Weather by Jean Taft and Matt Hunt (Penguin Random House)
With sparse rhyming text and vibrant illustrations, this is a joyful book that celebrates rain (and the sun after the storm).
14. Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle and G. Brian Karas (Candlewick)
Tiny tinkling rain drops tap tap and then boom boom as a rainstorm covers New York City. When everyone rushes down to the subway for cover, they find that rain can bring people together. With a fun repeated refrain, this is a great one to read aloud.
15. Bruce’s Big Storm by Ryan T. Higgins (Disney-Hyperion)
Everyone's favorite grumpy bear is back, this time, begrudgingly offering shelter to his neighbors when a big storm arrives. In typical Bruce fashion he ultimately helps save the day, but his neighbors have some saving to do if their own as well.
16. Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld (Henry Holt & Co.)
A little (tiny) cloud proves that even the smallest among us can do mighty things. Bonus: Cloudette is the absolute cutest cloud you’ve ever seen.
17. Once Upon a Raindrop by James Carter and Nomoco
Immerse yourself in the wonderful world of water and discover the story of H20 from its very beginning. Engaging, informative poetry flows over the pages and stunning illustrations bring this story to rushing, gushing life.
(Kim at @bookbairn)
18. Under the Umbrella by Catherine Buquet and Marion Arbona
I am quite smitten with this one. It is about a grumpy man outside on a rainy day who sees nothing but gloomy weather until a little boy with an eye for the beautiful helps change his perspective. Another great book about the great influence of kindness.
19. The Pink Umbrella by Amelie Callot and Genevieve Godbout
This is a sweet and gentle love story about a young woman who is the heart and soul of the town. However, her mood changes with the weather and while she is perky and joyful on sunny days she is sad on rainy days. This continues until a secret admirer surprises her with a pink umbrella and pink rain gear and shows her just how happy rainy days can be.
20. Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud by Katie Harnett
This is a wonderful story about a lonely raincloud and a sad little girl and how the two create a mutual friendship that brings them joy and companionship. Thought provoking and beautifully illustrated, this one is a treasure.
21. A Rainy Day by Heather Knudsen
Join Bear and her friends as they learn the importance of sharing and saving for a rainy day.This charming story introduces a valuable life lesson that the whole family will enjoy.
22. Dad's Wishing the Rain Would Come by Martine Miller
Such a good read and the illustrations are BEAUT! Have you ever seen Galahs and Cockatoos hanging upside down squawking & wings out? Check out one of the illustrations for this . As kids we were bought up with the story that if you hear Kookaburras laughing there will be rain soon. Such a true blue Aussie book. The rejoicing of rain, there is nothing like that feeling!
23. Big Rain Coming by Katrina Germein and illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft
Children have a way of getting on with life and making the best of any situation, swimming in a waterhole or dam to cool off and when it rains - dancing in the rain or throwing mud at each other or racing leaves down gutters. Vibrantly illustrated, for me this is a treasure - a keeper!
24. Rain by Samuel Usher (Templar Publishing)
A young boy wakes to heavy rain and imagines the fun and adventures that are to be had by donning his wellies and raincoat. But his grandad has other ideas and isn’t quite so willing to be dragged out into the pouring rain. Or is he?
25. The Rhythm of the Rain by Grahame Baker Smith (Templar Publishing)
A charming celebration of the water cycle From the tiniest raindrop to the deepest ocean. This is a breathtaking story with rich illustrations and scintillating facts, packaged up in the perfect picture books.