Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert” as Want to Read:
Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  278 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
2013 Pura Belpre Award for Illustration

As the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a former slave, Martin de Porres was born into extreme poverty. Even so, his mother begged the church fathers to allow him into the priesthood. Instead, Martin was accepted as a servant boy. But soon, the young man was performing miracles. Rumors began to fly around the city of a stran
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Clarion Books (first published June 19th 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Martin de Porres, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Martin de Porres

Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret HodgesSaints by Ruth SandersonMartin de Porres by Gary D. SchmidtPatrick by Tomie dePaolaThe Song of Francis by Tomie dePaola
Picture Books about Saints
3rd out of 40 books — 15 voters
Martin de Porres by Gary D. SchmidtEsperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz RyanYum! MmMm! Que Rico! by Pat MoraAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire SáenzReturn to Sender by Julia Alvarez
Américas Award Books
1st out of 174 books — 11 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 610)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Richie Partington
Feb 06, 2013 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
Richie's Picks: MARTIN DE PORRES: THE ROSE IN THE DESERT by Gary D. Schmidt and David Diaz, ill., Clarion, June 2012, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-547-61218-8

“If you hear the song I sing
You must understand
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand”
-- Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti), “Get Together”

"Soon, all the people of the barrios knew who the young cirujano was. When a man was hurt, he was carried to Martín. When a child grew pale, she was brought to Martín. When a slave was whipped, he
Jenifer Neilsen
Jul 13, 2013 Jenifer Neilsen rated it it was ok
Audience: Primary
Genre: biography
Pura Belpre Illustrator Award Winner 2013

The son of a Spanish nobleman and a former slave born out of wedlock, Martin de Porres was born into extreme poverty. His mother begged the church fathers to allow him into the priesthood. When his father returned from Ecuador, he was accepted as a servant boy. But soon, the young man was performing miracles for the nobles and and beggars in Lima. After a healing, he was given lemon seeds which then bore fruit during every
Charmie McKinney
Martin de Porres the Rose in the desert - Gary D. Schmidt
This book won the 2013 Pura Belpre Award for Illustration in which it was well deserved! It is a multicultural picture book which depicts the racial and economic prejudice in 17th century Peru. "Martin" was born into poverty and was frowned upon by the priest because he was born to a slave mom who was African and a father, a royal conqueror, who was Spanish. As he grew up, many people disliked him because of his racial background. However,
L13F_Robert Rising
Sep 20, 2013 L13F_Robert Rising rated it it was amazing
Newbery-winning Gary D. Schmidt's deftly-penned biography of St. Martin de Porres, the first black Catholic saint in the Americas, is an absolute joy. Martin, the "rose in the desert", was born the son of an African slave and a Spanish conqueror into the extreme poverty of 17th century Peru. When Martin the young boy entered the Dominican monastery in Lima as a willing servant, he began to bloom into the miracle-worker of legend:

"...Some said that Martin could appear at two places at the same ti
Mississippi Library Commission
This is one of the prettiest picture books we've seen in a long time. David Diaz is amazing; the illustration of Martin and the angels literally gave us goosebumps. Gary D. Schmidt's text is pitch perfect. It lets children learn a few unique words, including some Spanish and monastery-related words, from context clues and the accompanying pictures. It also highlights the interesting aspects of Martin's exceptional life without becoming dry or boring. We really enjoyed meeting Martin de Porres, t ...more
Feb 27, 2013 CH13_Kieran rated it it was amazing
This incredibly beautiful picture book is the story of the life of St. Martin de Porres. Martin was a young bi-racial boy in the early colonial period in Lima, Peru. His story is one of struggle and prejudice in a time in which it was systematic and viscerally cruel. Martin's actions of love from a boy to a man show others that love, real love, is universal.

The artwork in this book is stunning. It is no wonder that it is a Pura Bulpre Illustrator award-winner. Each page's color and form draws y
Jul 14, 2013 Erica added it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Audience: Primary
Genre: Biography

"And the stories became more wonderful then before. Some said that Martin could appear in two places at the same time. Others saw angels with lighted candles guiding him through the halls."

I choose this quote because I felt it beautifully summed up the life of Martin de Porres. He was always a light for others, brightening the dark spaces of the world and provided hope and meaning for all. It also shows the legacy of Martin de Porres and how his story was told th
Jul 15, 2013 Cindy rated it really liked it
Audience: Children ages 8-10
Genre: non-fiction story
Format: Picture Book

Quote:"He is a rose in the desert" Pg.7 and Pg.25

I chose this quote because it describes how his mother views him (pg.7) and then later in the book (p.25) it is how others described him after they really go to know him and see his heart.

It is rare to see a rose in a desert. I could picture how shocking it would be to be driving down the interstate and see a single rose growing along side the road. It just doesn't happen. It
Apr 03, 2013 Ann rated it it was amazing
David Diaz won the 2013 Pura Belpre Illustrator's Award for this book. Diaz, who won the Caldecott Medal back in 1999 for his illustrations in "Smoky Night" by Eve Bunting, is a rare successful artist who never imitates his own style and improves his singular craft all the time. The text by Gary D. Schmidt is very well-written. You don't have to be Christian to enjoy this amazing story about Martin de Porres, Lima, Peru's 16th Century St. Francis. How can anyone dislike the patron saint of inter ...more
Hannah West
Apr 21, 2015 Hannah West rated it it was amazing
Text-to-Self Connection:
I would ask my students, if they feel comfortable raising their hands, who has mixed race parents. How does this relate to the main character, Martin? How do you think Martin's parentage inspired or helped his compassion toward the poor and oppressed? I would also ask my students if they've ever gone hungry before or seen a truly hungry person before, how that relates back to the story, and how that influenced Martin to act as he did.

Text-to-Text Connection:
I would ask
Laura Brenneisen
Title: Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert By: Gary D. Schmidt Illustrated by: David Diaz Copyright: 2012 Lit Require: Pura Belpre (illustrator) Pages: 32

This book is about an African American woman who gives birth to a Spanish baby. The baby's father was royalty and could not be seen with the poor African American woman. One day the father came back and took Martin and his sister Juana out of the poverty they were living in. Martin was told he would never get work and he would just be the
Jessica Valdez
Oct 29, 2014 Jessica Valdez rated it really liked it
With images of surpassing beauty and power and a text both simple and lyrical, Diaz and Schmidt tell the life of the first black saint of the Americas.
Martín’s mother was African, his father a Spanish nobleman. His father took his children from Lima, Peru, where they lived in desperate poverty, to Ecuador, where he gave them his name. Back in Lima, Martín was apprenticed to a healer, and at 15 he asked admittance to the monastery. Because of his mixed blood he could not be a priest,
Onesia Thompkins
Oct 14, 2014 Onesia Thompkins rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claudia Magana-magana
The story of Martin could be introduced to a class by discussion how many people in history have overcome a difficult in which they had no control over. For many cases, this barrier has been the person's race/ethnicity.

Text-to-self connection to me personally is made by the location where Martin grew up. Martin grew up in the barrios of Lima. The barrios are the section of a town where the poorest people live. When I go back to Mexico to visit my family, I spend a lot of my time in the barrios
James Daniels
Apr 07, 2015 James Daniels rated it it was amazing
This is a very special piece of literature, the name Martin de Porres is well known among spirituals in my community. He is the saint of the poor. When a person is in need of his basic needs a Seven-Day Candle is burned to petition the aid of the saint in prayer. The impossible circumstances of the poor rest in the worship of this saint. Never knowing he was of black decent, due to his name, which of Spanish decent. The story of his birth and life is remarkable, he was born to be a saint and an ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Marisa rated it really liked it
Martin de Porres, do you know who he was?

An animal empath, a healer, a leader for his time. A winner of the Pura Belpre award, this story definitely lays out issues of race and what it means to be biracial in another era. Martin de Porres was an aspiring priest, but was negated at first because he was not of "pure blood"; meaning his mother was African and his father was a Spanish Nobleman. Despite this, he continues to work in the church and eventually becomes a priest highly regarded for his m
Ashlynn Armstrong
Mar 29, 2016 Ashlynn Armstrong rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
This book is about a young boy named Martin who is born deep into slavery. No expects much out of him, but his mother begs the priest to accept him. Soon after he is accepted as a servant boy, he starts performing miracles for everyone.

I was not very fond of this book because ultimately I was confused as to what was going on almost the entire time. It was hard for me to follow, and I got bored halfway through. I don't know if this would be an easy book for children.

I probably would not even put
Edward Sullivan
Jun 16, 2012 Edward Sullivan rated it really liked it
A beautifully written and illustrated biography of the first black saint in the Americas.
Benjamin Zapata
Feb 07, 2014 Benjamin Zapata rated it it was amazing
The story of St.Martin de Porres (Fray Escoba as some people call him), the illegitimate child of a Spanish nobleman and an African former slave, who was born(1579) in Lima,Peru and grew up to be one of the most love and famous saint in the world. He was beatified in 1837 and canonized in May 1962- the first black saint in the Americas- when Pope John XXIII named him the patron saint of universal brotherhood. Beautifully illustrated by David Diaz, and written by Gary D. Schmidt, it delivers an e ...more
Emma Hoyer
I had not heard the story of Martin de Porres before, but I’m glad that I had the chance to hear about him from the perspective of a children’s book. Of course, there are details that are not mentioned or glossed over in this book that, in real life, were much more horrible and difficult to deal with. That’s the beauty of children’s books, especially when introducing some difficult subjects to children. This book is definitely one that would aid in integrating culture into the classroom, and the ...more
Abby Owens
Apr 17, 2016 Abby Owens rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
This is the story of Martin who when he was born was not accepted because he was a mix between African and Spanish. But as he grew older people began to realize that he was different and had special gifts. He had healing powers and he was very encouraging to his community. He became a leader and he lived in the monestary. He made such a hug difference in his community.
This would be a good story for students to learn how it doesn't matter where they came from. They can always make a difference i
Emily Peer
Feb 25, 2015 Emily Peer rated it liked it
This diverse book would be best for students in grades 3-5. This book seems more advanced in the way the language is spoken and the complexity of sentences and word choice. The storyline shows the intertwining of African and Spanish culture. The book is centered around the metaphor that the child is a rose in the desert rather than just a baby from a Spanish man and an African slave. This would be good for a read aloud during a lesson about cultures around the world. The book also includes detai ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Dec 14, 2012 Margo Tanenbaum rated it really liked it
Newbery-honor winning novelist Gary D. Schmidt and Caldecott-winning illustrator David Diaz together have created a beautiful and moving portrait of Martin de Porres, a 17th century Peruvian saint. I was completely unfamiliar with this remarkable individual, an illegitimate child both to a former African slave and a Spanish conqueror. He grew up in poverty until the age of eight, when his noble father came from Ecuador and took Martin and his sister Juana back with him to raise. Later apprentice ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Martin de Porres was born to a former slave and a Spanish nobleman in Lima, Peru. He lived in severe poverty in the barrios until his father took him back to Ecuador with him. As Martin grew older, he returned to Lima and started learning to tend to the ill. His healing power revealed itself while he was there. Thanked for his healing, he was given the seeds of a lemon tree as a gift. After planting the seeds, a tree grew overnight and had ripe fruit. Word began to spread about this amazing boy. ...more
I generally try my best to stay away from books with a tough subject. However, I was curious about this figure that I had never heard of before. Juan Martín de Porres was born in Lima, Perú on December 9, 1579 to a freed slave, Ana Velásquez, and a nobleman, Don Juan de Porres. Here is a man despite racial prejudices toward none pure bloods, excelled in his abilities. He is noted with healing the poor and nobles alike. Some even say he healed them with just a glass of water. He died on November ...more
Jul 11, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it

GENRE: Biography, Multicultural Literature

AWARD: 2013 Pura Belpre Award for Illustration


"After thirteen years, every soul in Lima knew who Martin was: Not a mongrel. Not the son of a slave. "he is a rose in the desert," they said." (p. 25)

I chose this quote because I believe that it promotes a strong mental image by using the metaphor “he is a rose in the desert” to explain Martin de Porres. Martin did not become successful overnight and he was
Jun 03, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
Martin De Porres is the story of a young boy who was born to a Spanish nobleman and a slave. He lived in the poorest of the poor section. When he gets older, his father claims him and he is allowed to be an apprentice for a surgeon. It is quickly noted that he was excellent at his job. People and animals came from all over to be healed by Martin. His true calling was to be a Priest, but because of his mix-racial background, that was not possible. Instead he served in the church in many other way ...more
Tracy Bye
Jul 14, 2013 Tracy Bye rated it it was amazing
Shelves: primary
Audience: Primary
"He is a rose in the desert" is first seen on the cover in the title and on page 7 and then later we see it being used again (page 25) "After thirteen years, every soul in Lima knew who Martin was: not a mongrel. Not the son of a slave. He is a rose in the desert"

I choose this quote for many reasons. It has great meaning to the life of Martin de Porres. He grew up in extreme poverty and was often known as a son of a slave. This book made me think about the video
Mar 02, 2013 Chelsea rated it really liked it
Schmidt, Gary D, and David Diaz. Martin De Porres: The Rose in the Desert. Boston: Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print. 32 p.

A juvenile biography on Martin de Porres, this work presents the man in a way that children will be able to understand. Enjoyable, interesting illustrations in bright colors provide a visual tour of de Porres' life for readers. Events and stages in the life of Martin de Porres' life, including a difficult childhood, learning and practicing his ability to h
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I had never heard of this fellow until I read this book. Martin was the son of a black slave woman and a Spanish royal. At first he lived with in poverty with his mother and sister in Lima, Peru, and was looked down upon; then his father took the two children to live with him in Ecuador. Eventually Martin found himself back in Lima where he began studying to become a doctor. Martin was a gentle man who had a gift for healing animals and people alike. The stories about him remind me of St. Franci ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw
  • Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
  • Monsieur Marceau: Actor Without Words
  • Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
  • The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau
  • Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
  • Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride
  • The Pot That Juan Built
  • Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People
  • I, Too, Am America
  • The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors
  • Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle
  • Here Come the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-True Story of  Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure
  • Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland
  • Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller
  • Trombone Shorty
Gary D. Schmidt is an American children's writer of nonfiction books and young adult novels, including two Newbery Honor books. He lives on a farm in Alto, Michigan,with his wife and six children, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, feeds the wild cats that drop by and wishes that sometimes the sea breeze came that far inland. He is a Professor of English at Calvin College.

More about Gary D. Schmidt...

Share This Book