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Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  296 Ratings  ·  120 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)
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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
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
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,
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
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
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.
Cassidy Wheeler
Oct 14, 2016 Cassidy Wheeler rated it really liked it
Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert is a biographical picture book about Martín de Porres, a slave boy in Lima, Peru in 1579. Martín had an affinity for animals and for tending to people. He became part of the Monastery in Lima. Best suited for 4-8 grade.
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
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,
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
Apr 21, 2015 Hannah 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
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
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
Onesia Thompkins
Oct 14, 2014 Onesia Thompkins rated it really liked it
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Apr 03, 2013 Taylor rated it it was amazing
Audience: This book would be best for a 1st-2nd audience.

Appeal: This book is filled with bright, colorful illustrations. I think this age group would perceive Martin’s healing powers as magic, which would likely be appealing to them.

Application: I would utilize this book for a visual imagery activity. After reading the book as a class I would have the students get into pairs and come up with at least one thing they could each do for someone else. I would create a lemon tree (as close to life-si
Jul 15, 2013 Kristin rated it really liked it
Audience: Primary
Genre: Biography
Quotation that promotes mental imagery: "The priest frowned even more. The baby would have no name to be remembered. He would live by sweeping the cobblestones of the plaza, or selling lemon ices to the royals, or begging on the cathedral steps. So the priest dipped his hand into the holy water. 'I baptize you, the son of an unknown father.'
"I will call him Martin,' said Anna. But the priest still frowned."

Rationale: I chose this passage for the visual imagery o
Alaina Rogers
Mar 15, 2013 Alaina Rogers rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Audience: This book would be appropriate for kindergarten to third or fourth grade. The younger grades may need to book read to them instead but they will still understand the concept. This would be great for both boys and girls. The boys may connect with the topic too. The book is very colorful so it will attract most children.

Appeal: This would appeal to Spanish speakers because they may know about Martin de Porres from things they grew up with. It would also appeal because of the bright color
Born into poverty in Peru in 1579, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a former slave, Martin de Porres became a servant for an Order when he was told that his mixed blood precluded his joining the priesthood. Because of his medical training in Ecuador and his gentleness, he became the one that everyone in Lima came to see when they were ill. Even the animals relied on his tender touch. The text describes his patience and determination to help others, and the afterword makes note that ...more
I had never heard of Martin do Porres before but he has a very interesting and inspiring story. He was the son of a former slave and a spanish noble who started his life in poverty and ended up getting and education and eventually becoming a monk after working in the monastery cleaning for many years. He treated everyone equally and was the first black saint from the America's canonized and became the patron saint for interracial marriage among many other things.

The illustrations are very brigh
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
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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.

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