It’s 1937 in Kansas, the heart of the Dust Bowl. Crops are gone, clouds of dust whirl through the area, and a whole generation of young children have no idea what rain even looks like. But 11-year-old Jack Clark knows where the rain’s gone. He’s seen it, in an abandoned barn, a shadowy figure with a face like a thunderstorm. And as times grow even more desperate and people begin to succumb to “dust dementia,” the brave boy will undertake a dangerous quest to save his family and his town.

That’s the story of The Storm in the Barn, a new all-ages full-color graphic novel premiering from Candlewick Press this summer. It’s the first graphic novel from Matt Phelan, an acclaimed children’s book illustrator whose pictures have graced such books as the 2007 Newberry Medal winner The Higher Power of Lucky. Phelan was gracious enough to talk with us about his first journey into the world of comics, and share some watercolor pages from the book. Read on to find out more about this mysterious storm…

Read the full interview here!