Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Rose Blanche

Innocenti, Roberto (Author/Illustrator)
Gallaz, Christophe (Author)
Creative Editions 2005. 32 pages
First published: 1985
ISBN: 9780898123852 (paperback)
9781568461892 (hardcover)
9781566602358 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, conflict, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Rose Blanche learns that traffic on her street contains human cargo. She investigates, finding horror outside her town gates. “Suddenly electric barbed wire stopped me. Behind it there were some children standing still. I didn’t know any of them.”

Stunning, hyper-realistic paintings contrast the pretty brick village with the bleak camp. As Germany loses the war, the cold, grey light of the camp also shadows the town. Citizens begin to resemble the emaciated prisoners. Rose Blanche’s heroism is evident as she continues smuggling food to the living skeletons at the camp. Only one spread departs from sharp-edged details: a shabby Rose stands before the now empty camp. Shadows of soldiers—guns raised—can be discerned in the mists.

The language switches from first person to third when Rose Blanche discovers the camp, reflecting her loss of innocence. Newly hidden from readers, she hides within her own community, taking food and keeping secrets. When the townspeople flee the invaders, Rose Blanche is not among them: “She had walked into the forest that day.” This dark drama ends with an image of renewal. Vines encircle barbed wire; wildflowers grow from soil gutted by heavy tires. Rose Blanche may have died here, but “Spring sang.”

  •  

    Do a picture walk. What do you notice and wonder on each page? What might the pictures mean? Make inferences about the story. Read the text and compare your new knowledge with your understanding that was based on the images alone.

  •  

    Discuss the change from first to third person narration in the middle of the story. Why do you think the author made this choice?

  •  

    Is this story tragic, hopeful or both? Explain your thinking, using references to the images and text.

  •  

    Explore some teacher-selected resources on World War II. Make connections between the story and the actual events.

  •  

    Brainstorm and list your prior knowledge about World War II and the Holocaust.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the art, colours, characters, mood and details. Can you relate to any of the history?

  •  Create a character map for Rose Blanche.
  •  

    Discuss the point of view from which this story is told. Compare and contrast the portrayal of this historical event with that of companion books on the same topic.

  •  

    Using teacher-recommended resources, research the illustrator. What visual elements should we pay attention to as we prepare to read this story?

  •  

    Peruse the illustrations alone, from beginning to end. With a partner, discuss your understanding of the story. Together, write a short summary.

  •  

    In the final pages, how do the text and illustrations work together or contradict each other in conveying the ending of this story? Is this a hopeful ending? Explain.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Social Sciences