Images (Top Left Cat, Middle Left Cat); (All Other Images)


R.1, R.2, R.3, R.4, R.7, W.3, W.4, L.4, L.6

The Day It Rained Cats

Suddenly Sheera knew that her life would never be the same.


    When cats came raining down from the sky, I knew it was because Grandma was angry. I saw one cat fall past my window, then two more. So I shut my book and rushed outside.

    Grandma stared over the fence. Our cat, Harry, flew out of the apple tree. “About time!” she yelled at him. “Where have you been?”

    “Grandma, what happened?” I asked.

    “I wanted to feed Harry,” she said. “I called and called and he didn’t come, so . . .”

    I realized then that Grandma had tried to lev Harry. And she had  ended up levving all of our neighbors’ cats as well.


    Levving means lifting something with only your thoughts. Lots of people have the power, but I’ve never seen anyone better at it than Grandma. Every Halloween, she would carve a pumpkin without touching the knife. She could thread a needle just by looking at it. To make money, she organized yard sales. Levving people’s junk into boxes to be sold was easy—it was the perfect job for her.

    I didn’t know it at the time, but the cats raining were a sign of a big change. Life would never be the same for Grandma or for me.


    It had started maybe two years ago. Grandma and I were eating breakfast a few weeks before my 11th birthday. Suddenly, Grandma slapped her hands together. “That’s it,” she said. “It’s time to decide.” 

    If you wanted to be a levver, you had to start training on your 11th birthday. Practice took at least two hours a day for a whole year. 

    Then the skill became permanent. Grandma stared at me. “It’s hard work,” she said. “If you give up, it’ll be a waste of my time and yours.”

    Levving had been a much bigger deal when she was young. Today, most kids thought it was pointless because everything is done by computers and machines. My older brother Kai never learned how to lev. Most of my friends weren’t planning on it either. 

    I took a deep breath. “I want to be able to lev like you,” I said. “I promise, I won’t let you down.”

    And at that moment, I really meant it.



Here are the levving basics: You have to focus completely on whatever you want to lev. The bigger or heavier an object is, the harder it is to lift. Levving something that’s moving is trickiest of all. 

On only my second try, I levved the flap of an envelope. Over the next month, I moved on to heavier objects: a paper cup, a metal spoon. By January, I could lev the TV remote. Each time I succeeded, Grandma gave me a little nod.

And then I got stuck on a can of baked beans for weeks. No matter how hard I tried, it didn’t move. I stared at it for two hours every day.

One Friday after school, I was thinking about the evening ahead: me and my new BFF, a can of beans. Then my phone buzzed with a text from my (human) best friend, Sandra: IRONWEAVER!!! TWO TIX!!! PICK U UP AT 7!


    IronWeaver was a book series Sandra and I loved. The bookstore had given out 500 tickets to the release of Book Three. I couldn’t believe Sandra had gotten a pair. It was all I could talk about at dinner—until Grandma cut in.

    “What about the beans?” she asked.

    Everyone got quiet.

    “Tomorrow’s Saturday,” I said. “I’ll practice extra.”

    Grandma took a sip of water, staring at me over the top of the glass.


    After dinner, I texted Sandra: CAN’T GO. GET A BOOK FOR ME? Tears stung my eyes as I put down my phone.

    The book signing was the first of many events I would miss. I skipped the water park and the mall, movies and basketball games. Instead, I hung out with the can of beans. I could still only get it to move a little. But at least I was getting better with other stuff. By July, I could empty a laundry basket—and fold everything except the sheets.


Rob Wilson/

    On a hot afternoon in August, Grandma asked me to help her with a yard sale. It was for the Lewises, who live around the corner. Grandma would lev the heavier things. I’d do the lighter ones. 

    Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were in the garage. Their two kids—Molly, 4, and Liam, 2—blew bubbles on the front stoop. I levved the junk items into boxes. Grandma levved the boxes into a huge pile at the curb. 

    As I tried to focus on an ugly lamp, Molly and Liam ran past me. They were chasing a giant bubble toward the street. Just then, a big gray car came barreling around the corner. The large pile of boxes blocked the driver’s view of the kids. 

    “MOLLY! LIAM!” Mrs. Lewis screamed.

    Grandma called out to me: “Quick, Sheera!” 

    I fixed my gaze on Liam. He was so much heavier than a can of beans! And he was moving too. Sweat broke out on my forehead. Liam rose a few inches into the air. I held my breath and tried my hardest as the car came closer . . .

    And somehow, I lifted Liam and set him down safely at the end of the driveway. Meanwhile, Grandma had levved Molly onto the lawn.

    The car drove past, and Mr. and Mrs. Lewis cried as they held their kids. Grandma walked over and gave me a hug. “I knew you could do it,” she said. 

    That night, I levved the beans. It was so easy, the can almost hit the ceiling.


    Over the next few weeks, Grandma’s levving powers started to slip. She would pick up the wrong things. She almost scalded herself when she dropped a cup of tea. Then came the day she levved all those cats.

    That night, Dad called a family meeting. “Ma,” he said gently. “We think it’s time for you to stop levving.” 

    Grandma looked sad. She knew it was time, but she didn’t stop right away. Then later that week, she came into my room. 

    “I can’t lev anymore,” she said. “From now on, you’ll do it for me.”

    “But I’m not as good as you are,” I said.

    “In that case, we’d better practice,” she said.

    After that, practicing felt less like training and more like a partnership. While I was learning to lev, she was learning not to.


Ambient Ideas/ 

    Grandma never levved anything again. That winter she passed away. A few weeks later, I found a picture of us. I was 4, and she had levved me into the air. I was grinning like the happiest flying kid on Earth. Now, I fought back tears. “I miss you, Grandma,” I whispered. 

    Then I levved the picture into the air and made it flap open and closed—like the wings of a butterfly.

Making an Inference Images (Top Left Cat, Middle Left Cat); (All Other Images)

You’ve just read “The Day It Rained Cats.” Now it’s time to try this activity.

Tip: An inference is something that is not stated but can be figured out from clues in the text.

What to do: Imagine that you are Sheera. Your grandmother has just passed away, and your friend Sandra has some questions for you about levving. Make inferences to answer each of her questions below with at least one complete sentence.

Sandra: Why did you decide to learn to lev?

Sheera: ___

Sandra: What made you decide not to go to the IronWeaver book signing with me?

Sheera: ___

Sandra: How could you lev Liam to safety when you could hardly move a can of beans?

Sheera: ___

Sandra: You gave up a lot so you could learn to lev. How do you feel about that decision now?

Sheera: ___

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