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Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert
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Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  230 ratings  ·  101 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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Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret HodgesMartin de Porres by Gary D. SchmidtPatrick by Tomie dePaolaSaints by Ruth SandersonBrigid's Cloak by Bryce Milligan
Picture Books about Saints
2nd out of 39 books — 12 voters
Martin de Porres by Gary D. SchmidtAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire SáenzClemente! by Willie PerdomoBecoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz RyanEsperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Américas Award Books
1st out of 174 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

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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,
Richie Partington
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
L13F_Robert Rising
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
Jenifer Neilsen
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
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
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
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
Jessica Valdez
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
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
Benjamin Zapata
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
Margo Tanenbaum
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
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

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
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
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
Schmidt, Gary D, and David Diaz. Martín De Porres: The Rose in the Desert. Boston: Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print. 32 p.

A juvenile biography on Martín 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 Martín de Porres' life, including a difficult childhood, learning and practicing his ability t
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
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
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
Alaina Rogers
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
Schmidt, G. D., & Diaz, D. (2012). Martín de Porres: The rose in the desert. Boston: Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Summary: Martin was not accepted well, even from his birth. But he made his mind up to do something significant in this world. He did that by caring for the unloved and the unaccepted. One person at a time, he made a beautiful stamp on this world.

America's Award for Children's and YA Literature - Honor '13
Children's Books Of The Year 2013 - Ages 5 To 9
Pura Belpr
This was a fascinating read of a boy who, despite having everything going against him, would become a saint. Defying social status, looking past one’s skin color, and respecting both humans and animals, “the Rose in the Desert” led an exemplary life with divine interventions. This picture book was the recipient of the 2013 Pura Belpre Award for Illustration.
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
Alondra Munoz
This book is about a boy who was born to a slave and Don Juan de Porres an important man in Ecuador. Martin de Porres became a saint because he could heal people, was humble towards the poor people. I really liked this book, especially since I am catholic and I had a little bit of a background about this saint.
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
This is a beautifully illustrated book of the life of St. Martin of Porres, the first black Saint, who spent his life starting as a poor fatherless child in the barrios and eventually became a monk. During his life he learned to heal, and became devoted to helping the poor and sick, humans as well as animals. The illustrations are rich, jewel toned pastels, giving the story a magical quality.

"The priest frowned even more." p.7
"The royals and the priests of Ecuador frowned." p.11
"The royals and the priests of Lima frowned." p.12
"Father Lorenzana, the prior, frowned." p.17

"Who is this strange boy?" p.12, p.15, p.17

"Now you are our brother." p.25

This collection of quotations from the book show the progression of Martin's life. Martin was born to an umarried woman. He grew up in the barrios. Martin was stereotyped by the powerful men in the communities. Martin used his life to
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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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