A Rose Named Peace: How Francis Meilland Created a Flower of Hope for a World at War

Candlewick. May 2022. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536208436.
Gr 3-5–On a small farm in the south of France, a beautiful collection of roses bloomed beside fruits and vegetables, all of which were carefully tended by the Meilland family in the early 1900s. Francis Meilland was born in 1912, and he was as passionate about roses as his father and grandfather before him. So, when he observed another gardener’s cross-pollinated beauty, Meilland was inspired to try crafting his own unique rose. Patience and tenacity led him to his goal, but as war broke out in Europe, Meilland was left wondering what would happen to his precious creation. This narrative nonfiction picture book tells a lesser-known story about one man’s involvement in World War II through beautifully crafted text and illustrations. The story itself unfolds in accessible phrasing that uses such elements as font sizes to punctuate aspects of the narrative. Words are artfully placed within and around the images to ensure that each piece has its own space while working in tandem to tell the story. Most striking of all are the illustrations; using watercolors, Ibatoulline has created tangible images of Meilland’s life, and readers of all ages will be in awe of the realistic appearance of each one. At the end of the book is additional information to supplement the text and provide further context.
VERDICT This is a stunning and provocative addition to biography collections for elementary school-age children.

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