The Chalk Rainbow (Hardcover)

By Deborah Kelly, Gwynneth Jones (Illustrator)

EK Books, 9781925335453, 32pp.

Publication Date: July 1, 2017

List Price: 17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Zane is different to other kids. He has his own made-up language. He likes to line things up. And he is frightened of things that don’t seem to bother other people — like the colour black. His father gets frustrated and angry with Zane. His mother tries hard to explain things to him. But nothing seems to work. Zane just scrunches himself up into a ball and screams. Things are looking pretty bleak for Zane and his family; that is, until Zane’s big sister starts to draw a chalk rainbow at the top of the front steps … The Chalk Rainbow explores difference and diversity through a family living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It’s also a story of unconditional love, of trust and of learning to look at the world through the eyes of others. The story is told by Zane’s older sister in a way that young children can easily relate to. The ending is uplifting as all members of the family learn to look at things differently and find a way to move forward together.

About the Author

Deborah Kelly is the author of several popular picture books for children as well as a chapter book series. She also writes Haiku poetry, inspired by living in Japan for two years. Born in New Zealand, Deb now lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

Gwynneth Jones drew all through her maths book at school, so left to study art at the institution of Technical and Further Education in Australia. She then majored in Plant and Wildlife Illustration at the University of Newcastle. Since then, Gwynneth has been imagining and drawing madly, exhibiting and holding market stalls, and creating picture books.

Praise For The Chalk Rainbow

“Here is a story of trust, where we learn that unconditional love can help us to view things differently…There are many ways of solving problems and sometimes it is important to follow that rainbow.”
- Bookseller NZ

Being different is hard. Zane is autistic and can’t stand the colour black. His sister devises a perfect way to deal with this and the family joins in. Touching and thought-provoking with colourful illustrations.
- Pinerolo

"This thought-provoking picture book shows the challengers faced by a family living with Autism, and how love, acceptance and all the colours of the rainbow help them work through the difficulties together."
- The Sunday Telegraph

"The arcs of imaginary rainbow are as bright and present as the actual chalked part, and they convey a buoyant sense of triumph as they lengthen to fill the pictures with light and color."
- Kirkus Review

"Reading this book to my eight year old autistic son, he says “it reminds me of my brother, and the little boy is me.” To him, it is simply a book about a big sister helping her little brother, and I believe not making autism a literal issue (by actually stating that Zane has autism), means that this book does not need to be pigeon holed as an “autism book” but can rather be viewed as a book about inclusion, and respecting differences, no matter what those differences are."
- Spectrum Women

"An essential addition to the school library’s collection and the home library of the siblings of an ASD child."
- The Bottom Shelf

"A wonderful book to share with the children giving them a real insight  into how kids with autism see the world. It encourages acceptance and understanding of difference while showing there are many ways to solve a problem."
- Jnr Bookworms Book Review

"(an) important (book).. for all childcare centres, kindergartens and primary schools"
- Toddler Book Reviews