Day 161: The Day It Rained Books

The Day It Rained Books
Matt Zurbo

(Dedicated to the great Isobelle Carmody!) 

Joshua Chad was walking from A to B…

when it started to rain books!
“Hm. This is interesting,” he said.
(Kid looking up as books fall from sky.)

Books! Books! All over the place!
(Double page spread of kid running along street as it rains books. Policeman signalling for the books to stop, old couple hiding under umbrellas, one bully looking up, the other reading a book, playground, and a gorilla reading)

(Wide shot of books raining on township.)

Politicians bellowed: ! “WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!” Parents wailed: ‘WHAT SHOULD WE DO!?” Everyday people hollering; “VOODOO!”
Joshua Chad just smiled.

And set about swapping to get the books he liked best:
Truck books for Mem Fox! Romantic novels for Where the Wild Things Are! The Hungry Caterpillar! Rabbits going to the moon and back!
(Kid, books under arm, swapping with a polite, but big and hairy garbo – a fishing book for a pirate book.)

Oh, the fun! The colour! 

Some people built book fortress they could read page by page. Others made paper mache masks, one a day, chapters all over their faces, waiting to be read. 

Others made paper planes, lines, versus, paragraphs floating past.

Others simply read, wonder filling their hearts.

Soon, a swap meet was organised at the carnival. Everybody came!

The librarian was the happiest person ever! She stood and preached: “Now meanies will read, everybody will learn! Minds will expand, the world will be saved!”

“Please explain…” the adults said.
“Well, science, good politics, open-mindedness, all take imagination,” the librarian said. “And that is what books give!”

“Hmm…” the politicians and wowsers pondered. “A well read world. Things could be worse.”

But then, with a Crack-a-BOOM! The sky turned black…
(Librarian up on carnie spruiker’s soap box, top half covered in shadow, looking up at books falling. Everybody in the crowd, including kid, is doing the same.)

And fell.
(Ship overflowing with fallen books. Books in water. Row boat overflowing with books.)

And fell…
(Dad using a snow shovel on books to get to car.)

All the adults went insane!
But Joshua Chad and the other kids… somehow… felt saved!
(Kids, sitting, reading, with smiles, piles of books around them.)

Time travel and magic and dinosaurs, and girls called Alice falling down rabbit holes. Oh, it was like a sea of imagination!
(Kid reading, images of Alice in Wonderland coming off of him.)

Ideas that lead to ideas! Stories that inspired stories!
(Opposite types of kids talking with each other about the books they’d read.)

But enough was enough for the grown-ups! Roads wee blocked.
(Mayor, red-faced, shouting, as, traffic at standstill, flooded by books. Workers, seen through office windows, all reading in their cubicles.)
People were not working like they should.

The Mayor bragged: “I’ll solve this!” and lit a match.
(Fingers holding a lit match.)

“Oh, no…” said Joshua Chad.
(Running ahead of flames, as town on fire.)

“Quick, this way!” he called, reading an emergency book,
as Sister Sally glanced through a fireman novel,
and Tommy Tuckers read about first aide!

(Kids running, while reading two books each, people following, cloth over mouths, holding shoulders in a line.)

Lives were saved!
But the books were all gone.

(Walking through burnt out town, looking up, while pouting, at falling ash.)

Soon, everything returned to kind of the same. It drove Joshua Chad insane! There had been something special, magical, throughout town – books… books… BOOKS…!

Reading books there was nowhere he couldn’t go.
(On old Spanish warship.)

Nobody he couldn’t be.
(Reading E=Mc2 book, dressed as Einstein)

Nothing he couldn’t see.
(Standing on grass, head down, reading. Behind him are African animals and a waterfall.)

Each one was another world in the palm of his hand.
(Kid reading, five or six dragons walking around him.)

“Why doesn’t it just rain books again?” Tommy Tuckers asked the sky.
“Or Crayfish!” wondered Sister Sally.
(Boy and girl looking up while main kid walks by, dejected.)

Joshua Chad decided it was because the sky had offered them a miracle, and they had given nothing back. 

Determined to make it rain books again, he wrote another book each and every day.

Amazing books, sad books, adventure books, history books.
Books about his ideas, about is dreams,
about his hopes and tears.

With each book he would yell: “For you!”, and throw it with all his might at the clouds!

And each day, another of his books would rise…
and fall.
(Handmade book, with handwriting on cover, bound with leather thread, rising through air. Bird watching it go.)

Joshua Chad did this so many times he became a really good writer. His books were sought after. Everybody loved them!

They would laugh and sob and cheer, and share, and read them to each other.

Each of his books a one-off.

A collector’s item.
(Person selling one over the counter, to librarian.)

A thing of legend.
A story of its own.

Page by page, his ideas, his wonder and anger and joy spread, covering the world.

“For you!” he called, again and again, so often, that if you took a photo each day,
and pressed them together,

you’d swear it was raining books from the sky…


The End.

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