The Blue Roses

By School Library Journal

Since Rosalie’s birth, her grandfather has cared for her while her mother works in a fish cannery. Their happiest times are spent in their garden among the flowers. There are several rose bushes of various colors, but the child is disappointed that there aren’t any blue ones. When Rosalie is almost 10, her grandfather dies. She and her mother miss him terribly until Rosalie dreams of him in a magnificent garden with blue roses. On her next visit to his grave, she finds the tombstone wreathed with them… Trish Cooke’s The Grandad Tree (Candlewick, 2000) and Adjoa Burrowes’s Grandma’s Purple Flowers (Lee & Low, 2000) also connect a grandparent’s death to the natural world. What sets Boyden’s work apart is her depiction of contemporary Native American culture, with Rosalie’s family living in a small-town community. Their everyday life and loss connect them to universal experiences of growth and death that cross cultures. Cordova’s paintings have static quality that reinforces the reflective tone of the text… the book would be suitable for one-on-one sharing with children who are mourning a grandparent or other relative.