Cover image for The blue roses
The blue roses
Boyden, Linda.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Lee & Low Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) color illustrations ; 23 x 24 cm
A Native American girl gardens with her grandfather, who helps to raise her, and learns about life and loss when he dies, and then speaks to her from a dream where he is surrounded by blue roses.
Reading Level:
AD 600 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.2 0.5 62784.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A modern-day Native American girl learns to understand the cycle of life after her grandfather dies.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. 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. Cordova'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. --Lauren Peterson

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-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. The message of death as a part of nature's cycle is somewhat heavy-handed, and the magical ending jars a bit. Trish Cooke's The Grandad Tree (Candlewick, 2000) and Adjoa J. 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 a static quality that reinforces the reflective tone of the text. Although not a first purchase, the book would be suitable for one-on-one sharing with children who are mourning a grandparent or other relative.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.