#358 – A Rose in the Desert by Chi Emerole

A Rose in the Desert cover snag//

A Rose in the Desert

by Chi Emerole

Ryan Durney, illustrator

3 Stars

New! Short Review

Website:  A Rose in the Desert is the story of a young girl, Rose, who awakens on her seventh birthday on the Tibetan mountains of Chad in a refugee camp. She is however determined to have a beautiful birthday.  The story follows Rose through an adventurous day with her family and friends. Do you think she succeeded in her quest for a beautiful birthday?

First Sentence:  Dawn broke on Friday, the twenty-first of April.

dr 1

What the Story is About:  Seven-year-old Rose wakes up on her birthday determined to have a great day.  Thus far, her day was joyous.  Her mother greeted her with her younger brother and then her father sent her on a sky-high ride in his arms.  Then the day went back to normal, beginning with fetching water from the Geyser of Hope, balancing water jugs upon their heads.

Rose and her family, displaced by war, now living in a refugee camp in the Tibest Mountains of Chad.  Worse, not all of the family is together.  Still, Rose is determined to have a good birthday.  After morning school, she and her three friends play in The Cave of Dreams, where the kids go to play music, dance, and try to forget their circumstances.  Known as The Fearsome Foursome, Rose and her three friends hold a dance contest amongst themselves.  Joshua was being crowned winner just as Rose’s parents and younger brother enter the cave with a luscious chocolate cake.

dr 2

Rose closes her eyes and makes her birthday wish.  She wants to be reunited with her Aunts, Uncles, and cousins, but after opening her eyes and blowing out the candles there is no extended family to greet her. Rose spends the evening playing with her brother.  Near the end of the day, with the sun having set and the moon high upon her, Rose gets one last gift.  A booming voice began singing Happy Birthday to Rose.  It was her revered Uncle Daniel holding a teddy bear Rose left behind and presumed lost; a gift from a home she cannot yet return to.

What I Thought:  The illustrations are wonderful dark shades depicting a refugee camp that has not lost hope, the desire to live, and the good nature to survive as a family unit.  The images realistically depict an African backdrop with wild elephants and giraffes roaming the savannah.  This is actually a very pleasant setting.  The school has few students and meets outdoors where the engaged students seem interested in learning.

dr 5

Young Rose lacks a conflict to solve and grow by on this particular day.  I want to clarify this.  Yes, this child, and the others, will face many obstacles and will have grown rapidly while residing at this camp.  However, on this particular day, Rose’s seventh birthday, and the day the story details, everything goes smoothly.  Rose wakes up, her parents warmly greet her, and Rose does chores, eats, attends school, plays with friends, eats her birthday cake, and then, mysteriously, has her wish come true.  As a story, there is not much to commend.

dr 4

A Rose in the Desert is beautiful throughout, thanks to artist Ryan Durney. Those collecting fine illustrations from children’s books may want to give A Rose in the Desert a long look.  A bedtime story this is not.  I so wanted to love this story of a young refuge, but she could have been waking up almost anywhere and have a similar stress-free, conflict-free, and plot-free day/story.

New! Short Review is HERE


A Rose in the Desert

by Chi Emerole    website   blog   facebook    twitter

Ryan Durney, illustrator    website    blog    facebook    twitter

CreateSpace (SP)    website    blog    facebook    twitter

Released November 9, 2011

ISBN:  978-1-45631815-4

32 pages

Ages:  4 to 8


© 2011 by Chi Emerole, used with permission

Text:  Copyright © 2011 by Chi Emerole

Illustrations:  Copyright © 2011 by Ryan Durney





desert rose

23 thoughts on “#358 – A Rose in the Desert by Chi Emerole

  1. This is a difficult topic for young readers, but the beautiful illustrations seem like they would make it easier for kids to read. This might be a good choice for my 8yo who is in love with the idea of war without wanting to deal with the messy bits.


    • When I was a kid “loving war” and playing with tanks, guns, and little green men was nothing. Your child may not be any different. The little green men always survived for another day of playing. I hope this book helps you and your child. Good Luck!


  2. Wow! That is a powerful book! I just love those illustrations – how do you capture the feel of a refugee camp – Geez…tough topic. Thanks for linking your review in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. 🙂


    • This was a difficult review. How do you justify saying something negative about such a tough topic? The illustrations are marvelous. Nice to see you on this side of the blogosphere! 🙂


  3. What a great story for any age. This would echo many of my students’ stories at the high school level. Fabulous illustrations. Thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop. Cheryl, Hop Hostess


  4. Such an interesting review Sue and I can totally get the point that a story must have conflict, or at least a conclusion that seems inevitable and heart warming or entertaining. With such vivid and beautiful illustrations, I think this book will capture a child’s attention regardless, but as a parent you do search for the basic theme to bring out. Thanks again for linking in to the Kid Lit Blog Hop


    • As a reviewer, the book needed a conflict that was more apparent and the child to change from that conflict. 😦

      As a reader, I loved the illustrations and the story. It will help kids understand hard concepts and situations that have the odds of never happening to them. 🙂

      Sometimes the reviewer role can be a b . . . othersome role.


  5. Fantastic review! This SO the kind of book we love to read. Sometime back we read “Four Feet Two Sandals” a book on children refugee and we loved it. A rose in the desert would be a great book to read along-with this one.Love the illustrations!


    • Thank. I love your site. I wish you’d let me know who made it. I love great themes.

      This is a good book for kids who may not understand refugees and what it is like to be one. I’ll have to check out Four Feet Two Sandals.


  6. As always, Sue, nice review, although I think I’m seeing double (repeated paragraphs).
    The characters is this story look like they could jump off the page and start conversing! Visually, well done!


    • Lobo, my mixed-up eye sighted friend, there are no double paragraphs. That had ot have been an illusion, I am guessing. Too much river water. You must boil that water before you slurp it. :mrgreen:

      To your creator: Thanks for pointing that out. Goofy things happen when I enter an illustration, then resize, then remove and post elsewhere. And then there is the problem with my fingers, the repetition that happens in my older brain, and sometimes I see correctly, instead of my natural double-vision. I am guessing, again, that my sight was actually correct and I only saw the one so added a second. If you are confused, well, that is the hope. 😆

      Seriously, thanks for catching that. I read and reread so much I think I start reading from memory and miss stuff like spelling or punctuation errors. An entire paragraph is a new one. I appreciate you having my back. 🙂


  7. How can it be a bad day when there is dancing and cake? At least in my world. This is a look into a whole other world for many of us. Thanks for linking it into the Hop!


    • I imagine it is a difficult story to tell to kids. So much unnecessary suffering and loss of homes. That must be one of the worst fears for a kid: losing their home. I like your sensitive side, Rhythm.


  8. A Rose in the Desert looks like an amazing way to tell and read to kids about the plight of children in refugee camps. There are hundreds of thousands of children living in refugee camps in Chad who have fled Sudan’s Darfur. Here is a child missing her family left behind and just wishing for a perfect day.


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