A Rose Named Peace
Francis Meilland always wanted to grow his own roses, like his father and grandfathers before him. More than that, he wanted to create a brand-new rose, the most beautiful rose the world had ever seen. Year after year — through sudden frosts and insect infestations and failure after failure — Francis tried to craft a new hybrid. And then, just as he finally began to find success, World War II exploded across Europe.
When the German army stormed into France, Francis and his family had to sacrifice their rose beds for vegetable gardens. It seemed that Francis’s efforts to create a new rose would be lost forever.
But at war’s end, the story of the Peace Rose was just beginning.
Beautifully illustrated by celebrated illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline, this biography of the Peace Rose and its creator is an ode to living a dream from beginning to end, through sun and through storm.
Behind the Book
You Never Know Where a Story Will Come From
This is my husband holding our son (thirty years ago) standing in front of the Peace roses blooming in our yard in California. We had no idea what they were — other than beautiful. But our elderly neighbor and gardener-extraordinaire, Laura Hoffman, knew exactly what they were.
“These are Peace roses,” she told me, while also showing me — a novice gardener at the time — how to care for them. “They were flown out of France at the beginning of the World War II.”
Laura’s words — and the mystery they held — stayed with me. And all these years later, I discovered the rest of the story.
- 2022 Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection
- 2023 Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List
Words are artfully placed within and around the images to ensure that each piece has its own space while working in tandem to tell the story. Most striking of all are the illustrations; using watercolors, Ibatoulline has created tangible images of Meilland’s life, and readers of all ages will be in awe of the realistic appearance of each one. (School Library Journal, starred review)
In this informative, botanically leaning picture book, Roberts and Ibatoulline chronicle the efforts of French gardener Francis Meilland (1912–1958) to create “a new thing of beauty to give to the world,” describing how WWII almost derailed his efforts. (Publishers Weekly)
Roberts offers a truly multi-disciplinary slice of history with child-accessible discussion of the aesthetic, scientific, and business aspects of 3–35-40’s ascent, woven together with the uplifting subplot of how it acquired its name, Peace Rose. Ibatoulline’s near-photorealistic watercolors, set into oversized trim, are well-suited to classroom sharing as well as leisurely examination. (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
Exquisite watercolors by Ibatoulline starkly contrast sun-drenched rose gardens with smudged, fragile battlefields, highlighting the many strands woven into the flower’s journey… a compelling combination of history and science. Poignant storytelling that absolutely blooms. (Kirkus Reviews)
Precise and detailed, Ibatoulline’s captivating watercolor paintings help readers imagine the historical settings … lovely. (Booklist)