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Children's Fiction Special Needs

Rainbows in the Dark

by (author) Jan Coates

illustrated by Alice Priestley

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2005
Special Needs, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2005
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3
  • Reading age: 5 to 8


Abby hates visiting the second-hand clothing shop with her mother — until she meets Joanna and Charlie. Charlie is Joanna’s guide dog, a loyal friend and worker who helps her to see, but he’s no help in picking out clothes for a very special event.

About the authors

Jan L. Coates is the author of numerous books for young readers, including A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award and the Ann Connor Brimer Award, as well as a USBBY Outstanding International Book. Her middle grade novels have been finalists for the Ann Connor Brimer Award, the Violet Downey Award, and the Hackmatack Children's Choice Award. Sky Pig received the 2017 Lillian Shepherd Award for Illustration and was shortlisted for a Willow Award. She lives, writes, and teaches in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

Jan Coates' profile page

Alice Priestley has illustrated numerous books including five other children’s stories. Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay was shortlisted for a Mr. Christie Book Award and the Amelia Frances Gibbon Award. Her other books include Winning the Girl of the Sea, The Watcher, Clouds on the Mountain and Someone’s Reading This Book. She lives in Toronto with her husband and children.

Alice Priestley's profile page

Editorial Reviews

It is just the sort of book to help youngsters learn what it means to have a physical challenge.

Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Children will see that being blind doesn't slow Joanna down, and maybe wishes do come true sometimes!

Resource Links

A delightfully written and colourfully illustrated book that would appeal to young children as a read-aloud.

etfo Voice

Provides rich, thought-provoking material that educators can use to allow students to explore their feelings and values.

Voice (Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario)

The dialogue is sure, the artwork expressive and sensitive and the story is a lovely one.

The Brandon Sun

Coates gives her young readers a taste of what it's like to be blind, but does so in a lovely and up-beat manner.

CM Magazine

This story respectfully presents disability as a part of diversity.

ForeWord Magazine

A very important book.

MultiCultural Review

This powerful account of friendship and acceptance is extraordinarily written.


Librarian Reviews

Rainbows in the Dark

Abby is bored while waiting for her mother to finish shopping – until she meets a woman and her guide dog, and makes a magical discovery.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2006.

Other titles by Jan Coates

Other titles by Alice Priestley