The Blue Roses

By Booklist

This fine debut is a heartwarming story about a special bond a young Native American girl shares with her grandfather. Papa, as Rosalie calls him, is a wise man who teaches Rosalie about gardens and life. He shares tidbits of wisdom as they tend the garden together, calling seeds ‘tiny promises’ and explaining when some newly planted peas die that, ‘Everything has its time to die. New or old, it doesn’t matter.’ Even with Papa’s wisdom firmly planted in Rosalie, she is devastated by his death, which occurs shortly before her tenth birthday. She cries often, seeks solace in her garden, where she can ‘still smell Papa,’ and plants rosebushes by Papa’s grave. Codova’s pleasant childlike pictures provide a window for children to watch the blossoming of Rosalie’s relationship with Papa and see Rosalie’s grief as well as her growth, both physical and emotional. The garden scenes are particularly lovely, bursting with vibrant colors and patterns. Youngsters who have lost a loved one or who share a special relationship with an older adult will relate to this touching story, which clearly shows what healthy grieving is like.