Raj’s Rule

(For the Bathroom at School)

Written by Lana Button
Illustrated by Hatem Aly
32 pages  •  Published 2020 (Owlkids)
Book cover
Recommended Age Range: Preschool through 2nd grade.
Publisher's Summary: Raj has one rule: he never uses the bathroom at school. It’s just not the same as the one at home. All day, he avoids bathroom trips. Easy enough, since he lives by these tips: Don’t linger at the sink. Stay away from anyone who makes you laugh. Watch out for distractions, especially schoolwork. And sit still: no running, jumping, cartwheels, or sneezing. Until one day―achoo!―Raj has to break his own rule. After he faces his fear and uses the bathroom at school, Raj feels different. He doesn’t have to rush! He can try new things, laugh, explore … even enjoy his work. He can stay awhile and play. Raj discovers things are better if you just go when you need to.
Book cover

Dr. Annie's Takeaways

Recommended for: This book addresses a common cause of accidents– a fear or reluctance to use the bathroom at school. In rhyming verse, Raj spells out all of the “rules” he has in order to make it through the day without using the bathroom (e.g., no juice, no cartwheels, no laughing). When he ends up having to use the bathroom at school, he realizes that it’s not so bad and that it allows him to have a lot more fun at school. This book could motivate a child to brave the school bathroom and be a start to conversations about bathroom-related exposures .
Would a child like it? A child who is anxious about using a bathroom at school will likely feel encouraged by this book. It’s a fairly fun read.
Evidence-Based Practices: Exposure
Tone: Cheerful, encouraging
Story Quality: Written in rhyming verse that mostly flows well, this story tackles an important topic that doesn’t get much coverage. It’s cheerful and a fairly quick read.
Illustrations: Engaging, brightly colored cartoons with expressive faces.
Representation: Raj is a boy with light brown skin and dark brown hair; he is perhaps of Indian descent, based on his name. His classmates are diverse and have a range of skin-colors, abilities (there is a girl in his class who uses a wheelchair), and body types. Raj’s teacher is a Black woman, and his friend Kyle is a White boy.
Psychological Practices: This book helps a child to recognize the sacrifices they are making in order to avoid using the bathroom at school (e.g., not drinking during the day, not playing at a water station, feeling distracted, rushing home at the end of the day), and it motivates a child to be brave and practice using a public bathroom when they feel the need to go. After Raj uses the bathroom at school, he realizes that it isn’t so bad, and it frees him up to have a lot more fun at school.
Concerns: None.