Uncle Rain CloudUncle Rain Cloud
By Tony Johnston
Illustrated by Fabricio Vandenbroeck
Published by Charlesbridge Publishers

“This concise tale about bridging cultures, languages, and generations will strike a chord with many children who are both learning English and translating for their families. The sensitive telling may also help monolingual children understand their classmates who are in that situation.” –Ann Welton, School Library Journal

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Description
Uncle Tomàs looks after Carlos, whose hard-working parents get home late. He captivates his nephew with stories of the Aztec gods, but troubles him with his bad temper. Their relationship is sometimes stormy, until the day that they discover that they both struggle with English, and make a pact. Carlos will help his uncle with English–the source of his grouchiness–and Uncle Tomàs will teach him more stories, but in Spanish. They’ll know “twice as much as everyone else!”

Reviews & Accolades
This concise tale about bridging cultures, languages, and generations will strike a chord with many children who are both learning English and translating for their families. The sensitive telling may also help monolingual children understand their classmates who are in that situation. Brisk pacing, sympathetic characters, and clear prose that uses embedded Spanish words effectively make a winner. Vandenbroeck’s acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations flesh out the narrative in soft, bright colors enhanced by dramatic shading.” –Ann Welton, School Library Journal

“Speaking Spanish in the U.S. is both barrier and celebration in this funny, touching picture book…Vandenbroeck’s bright, softly textured pictures in acrylic and colored pencil show the child’s bond with the hurt, angry man, who is a stranger in the supermarket but brings the richness of the ancestors’ stories into Carlos’ home. When Tìo Tomàs finally admits he feels “like a broken-winged bird,” and he lets his nephew teach him English (he’ll keep Spanish for important things), Carlos knows they both will have twice as much as everyone else. Johnston’s text is clear and poetic, “stretching the words out clear to Mexico,” and she smoothly weaves in the Spanish in a way that’s easy to understand. Many immigrant kids will recognize the role reversal: what it’s like to act as teacher to the adults in the family.” –Hazel Rochman, Booklist

Groups Represented
Mexican American

Themes
Family relationships, learning English, immigration, oral traditions, cultural traditions

Setting
United States

Author Research
TBA

Engagement Projects
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