For a time, my little brother and I used to scurry down to the basement at the first rumble of thunder. We’d curl up on the old green sofa and listen to the transistor radio just in case a tornado cropped up. It never did.
While there is so much to love about the wind, rain, and snow, and so many different ways to play, it’s also true that weather is sometimes scary for children. Storms can be noisy and dangerous. It’s natural and even wise for children to feel some apprehension. However, children, like my brother and me, sometimes develop big fears that trouble them as weather shifts or storms approach.
For times like these, the I Like the Weather series can be comforting medicine. Reading I Like the Rain during a thunderstorm, for example, may help a frightened child refocus on the joyful, intriguing, sensory delights of rain and even storms. The back matter will help parents and teachers explain some common questions and concerns. In all three of the books (I Like the Rain, Snow, and Wind) there are scenes and language evoking strong weather, but the weather in the books—like weather in real life—always calms. Easy breezes blow in, sunshine reappears, snowflakes settle and beckon children out to play.
These messages are gently embedded into each book and can be very reassuring to children when wind whirls or thunder booms. I hope that through these playful stories, your children will grow to love the weather and feel more confident, too, that storms always pass.
Here are a few more comforting reads for stormy weather.
Patricia Polacco’s Thunder Cake is a must-read for any family struggling with storm fears. (My mom often read it to her kindergartners.) As distant thunder drums, Grandma teaches her frightened granddaughter how to track the storm. They have just enough time to make a thunder cake! So they race to gather eggs and milk the cow, collect flour, sugar, a secret ingredient, and then sift and stir. Soon the thunderstorm is booming overhead. But thunder doesn’t scare the girl anymore–she has already been so brave–besides, there’s frosting to make!
I am the Storm by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple is a beautifully written and illustrated book that captures our human resilience through all sorts of storms: a tornado, a blizzard, a wildfire, and a hurricane. The text is honest, but calm and comforting: “Nature is strong and powerful. But, I am strong and powerful, too.” This is a book I wish we’d had when my brother and I were small and worrying in the basement about tornadoes.
Lorraine: The Girl who Sang the Storm Away by Ketch Secor is another creative antidote to storm fears. Lorraine is a Tennessee girl who’s not afraid of anything. She’s full of energy as she helps her Pa Paw on the farm and plays her pennywhistle. But when a thunderstorm more powerful than any she’s ever seen rolls in, Lorraine is truly frightened–and can’t find her familiar whistle. But with the help of Pa Paw, Lorraine finds her voice and sings that storm away.
The Bears in the Bed and the Great Big Storm, by Paul Bright, is a good silly option, especially for very little ones. They will love Jane Chapman’s charming, expressive illustrations and the twist at the end that Daddy Bear is sometimes scared of storms, too.