Mango Rain :: 2016
To purchase a copy, click here.
A Chuva de Manga :: 2005
published in Brazilian Portuguese by BrinqueBooks, São Paulo
When I lived in Chad—in the early seventies—I saw a strong Chadian man on his way home from a day's work. He was pulling a huge trailer—he had no truck--he was just pulling the trailer with his strong arms and legs. In the empty trailer was one mango. It rolled back and forth. I thought, "Maybe that will be his reward after a hard day of work." I also thought that someday, a story about the mango rain, the fruit and transportation in Chad would make a wonderful little children's story. I had no intention of becoming a children's book author, but the idea of the mango in the truck bed and the mango rain appealed to me. These ideas lay dormant until I found myself a children's book author—quite by accident—in 1996 after a retired librarian named Harriett Oberhaus challenged me to write and illustrate a book for children. I accepted the challenge and sent Houghton Mifflin my first manuscript called "The Cloudmakers." Soon after that I revisited the idea that first came to me in Africa so many years ago.
I sent my manuscript with the pictures to my editors. None was interested. Not wanting to give up, I decided to send my story to Brinque-Book in São Paulo, Brazil, a publishing house that had just come out with a Portuguese translation of my Nine Animals and the Well. I knew some Portuguese; so I sent them the mansucript in Portuguese. and they agreed to publish my book. Several months later, they wrote wanting the English translation. Reluctantly—because I wanted to be the author in Portuguese—I sent them the English version with a note saying that, even though my Portuguese was faulty, I'd like them to work with my translation. A few days later an email arrived telling me not to worry. "Your Portuguese," they wrote, " is better than your English!" And so, my story about a Chadian boy and the mango rain appeared with the title A Chuva de Manga. The book was well received and was honored by the Fundação Nacional do Livro Infantil e Juvenil (National Foundation of Books for Children and Young Adults). Soon the book became part of the curriculum in most Brazilian schools. Brinque-Book also thought enough of the book to send it to Denmark as one of the official entries from Brazil for the Hans Christian Andersen Award!
How I did the illustrations for this book and for Rain School:I started by inking the sketch I had made in pencil. Then I put a wash of yellow watercolor over the background and a wash of purple over the skin. When the wash was dry, I colored my illustration with pastels and sprayed it with fixative to bring out the inked lines.