When The Rains Come tells the story of three children who must be
looked after by their grandmother, while embedding within that real life story,
a folk tale from Malawi. The folk tale was told to Tom Pow as he was being
driven to one of the villages where the MUMs charity (Malawi Underprivileged
Mothers) is involved. Everyone involved in the book determined that, while
showing the work of MUMs, When The Rains Come would also be full of joy –
dancing, love, stories, colour, laughter – for that too is Malawi. This is a
lively story for children that highlights some of the challenges facing Malawi
and how they are being met, simultaneously drawing on the folk tales of the
country. It will be a response from the writer and illustrator to the situation
in Malawi with the aim of raising money for MUMs’ work and raising awareness
among children and adults everywhere.
When The Rains Come is a great children's book for answering questions relating to cultural and racial difference. There is a story within a story, which adds to the interest and offers something different to many other children's books on the market. The story is not the most fast-paced, but does offer the contrasts between the joys and challenges of life for the characters.
The artwork by Malika Favre is sublime and the real strength of the book; beautifully stylised and with a real African flavour. Children will find it attractive to look at.
The map of Africa at the end is a lovely feature, showing Malawi in relation to the rest of the continent and adding a sense of place.
That it supports Malawi's Underprivileged Mothers is an added bonus.
When the Rains Come is out now, published by Polygon.