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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Ian McEwan
Age Range: 6-8
Rose notices that there are changes happening all around her as the streets of her small German town fill up with soldiers. One day she sees a little boy escaping from the back of a truck, only to be captured again. Rose follows the truck as it travels to a desolate place out of town where she discovers a group of emaciated children behind an electric barbed wire fence. Rose doesn't quite understand what she has found – a concentration camp in the wood near her home – but she knows she must help these starving children and keep it a secret from the adults, even from her mother. Rose continues to bring food to the children until the tide of the war turns and soldiers in different uniforms appear. The camp is destroyed, the imprisoned children disappear and Rose is never seen again.
The book title, Rose Blanche was the name of a group of young German citizens who, at their peril, protested against the war. This picture book captures the spirit and courage of those people who risked their lives. It is an evocative and strangely beautiful book where the magnificent illustrations by Roberto Innocenti, one of Italy’s most renown and prolific artists, really tell the story. Innocenti’s expressive pictures tackle a difficult topic in a sensitive way. This is as much a book for adults as it is for children.
Rose Blanche won the Mildred L. Bachelder Award in 1986.