Martin de Porres: A Rose in the Desert

Schmidt, G. (2012). Martin de porres: A rose in the desert. New York, NY: Clarion Books.

This story tells the upcoming of a hispanic-african poor boy who begins doing amazing things as part of the church, and eventually reaches sainthood!

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade level: 2nd-4th

Readers who would like this book: Children who have some religious background, children who enjoy historical fiction based on true stories, children who enjoy vibrant illustrations.

Rating and response: 4; I really enjoyed this book. I had never heard the story of Saint Martin de Porres (the first African saint in the Americas) before, and I realized how important a story it is to tell. The illustrations in this text match very well with the story and overall, it provides a clear, easily understandable story for children! I think the illustration in this text was also very successful in helping with this, and conveyed a clear picture of “mood” for children.

Question: What is a saint?

Award Winner: Pura Belpre Award for Illustration

This book was awarded the Pura Belpre Award for an outstanding Latino illustrator who celebrates the authentic Latino culture through illustration in a piece. Specific criteria for “outstanding illustration” are listed below.

  • Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed
  • Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept
  • Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept
  • Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting mood or information through the pictures
  • Positive and authentic portrayal of Latino culture
  • Excellence of presentation for a child audience


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