Monday, March 12, 2018

Protagonist on autism spectrum shares challenges with readers in Rain Reign

By Elaine Cohen

Award-winning American author Ann M. Martin’s protagonist in Rain Reign is fifth grade student Rose Howard. The 12-year-old is obsessed with homonyms and prime numbers.  When her father finds a dog in the rain, Rose aptly names the 23-pound dog, Rain Reign. Coincidentally, the 221-page pocket novel is distributed by Raincoast Books in Canada.

Photo: Raincoast Books
 Suggested for nine to 12 year-olds, this enlightening story is bound to enthrall educators and parents. The author acknowledges the insight she gained from Jamey Wolff, co-founder and program director of the Center for Spectrum Services in New York’s Hudson Valley. The Center serves students on the autism spectrum. The author’s captivating delivery and focus on autism are enlightening.  Her knowledge and lifelong experience as a dog owner also come into play.

Martin masters her protagonist’s voice and transports readers into Rose’s mind. We share the girl’s loneliness and pangs of frustration. Rose is on the autism spectrum. She is bright but quirky; therefore, unwittingly disrupts the class with verbal outbursts and inappropriate behaviour. In addition, her hard-drinking father’s employment issues, volatile temper, intolerance and financial woes complicate the child’s motherless home life. 

This human interest story is laced with intrigue. Readers may shed a few tears but they are certain to bond with Rose and gain respect for her compassionate nature. As a bonus, they receive a good grounding on homonyms.