written by Dee White; illustrated by Tracie Grimwood
2017 (EK Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Reena couldn't hear the children count to ten, but she saw their smiles, and ran to join them.
Reena is unable to hear but she uses her eyes to take everything in. At the park, she meets a dog who doesn't have a home. Reena and Dog enjoy each other's company. Soon, she sees a group of children playing hide and seek. Dog shows them good places to hide while Reena is the seeker. She's very good at finding the other children. Without relying on sound, Reena uses her keen eyesight to spot them. Now it's time for Reena to hide. Unfortunately, she's a little too good at hiding. The other children can't find her and wonder if she has gone home. When Reena reappears, she ends up being alone. She worries about being different, but her mother explains that we are all like the colors of the rainbow. Different, but better together as one. This didn't seem to help Reena or Dog as he felt apart as well. On another day, Reena is once again at the park and sees a group of kids playing on a low to the ground zip line. One of the group is standing underneath a tree branch that breaks. Reena lets out a warning scream and Dog pushes the boy out of harm's way. From that point on, Reena and Dog no longer felt apart at the park as they became a permanent team.
Children want to belong. Being alone stinks. When you are different, it can be harder to be part of a group. That's one of the reasons why building a welcoming community in their classroom may be the most important thing a teacher can do. One way to build a community is to share books like Reena's Rainbow that encourage students to work together. I really like the example of a rainbow and the colors combining to make something special. This is also a terrific book to share when studying the five senses. The story alludes to Reena having great eyesight by continually saying "Reena saw..." or "She saw..." It would be interesting to see if students pick up on this. All in all, this is a sweet story that illustrates the need for acceptance and working together.