Monday, August 4, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 107

Picture Book: Aunt Mary’s Rose

Author: Douglas Wood

Illustrator: LeUyen Pham

Summary: This is a story from the author’s childhood. When he was a child, Douglas Wood’s Aunt Mary encouraged him to tend the family’s rosebush, explaining that a little bit of Douglas, his daddy, and his grandfather were inside it. The child’s confusion leads Aunt Mary to tell the story of the arrival of the rose bush and how it had witnessed key events of their family. It witnessed the arrival of Douglas' father and uncle, 2 orphans which the family adopted. The rose bush was so dear that it was transplanted in town to the small yard that replaced their farm during the Great Depression. As the stories build, Douglas begins to understand the importance of tending this beautiful plant as a ritual of familial ties, love, pride, and beauty.

Hanna’s Comments: Recently I had the privilege of experiencing a beautiful rose walk at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina. The roses were both delicate and hearty, in full bloom and budding. I was reminded of this picture book which is such a beautiful illustration of the importance of tending, family loyalty, and endurance.

Any sort of gardening is a beautiful metaphor for faith. The book below is another book about a rose bush.

Wanda's Roses by Pat Brisson and Maryann Cocca-Leffler highlights a girl's determination to nurture a thorn bush in a vacant lot. She is sure it is a rose bush. She, and eventually some neighbors, clean up the lot. Throughout her many days of faithful hard work, Wanda keeps saying to naysayers the lot will be filled with roses. Wanda is right!

Publisher & Date of Publication: Candlewick, 2010

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: audio CD

PBT Category: Non-fiction, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: action, affection, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, beauty, belonging, bonds/connections, caring/tending, care of creation, change, commitment, communion/Eucharist, covenant/promises/vows, death/loss/grief, dependence/interdependence, the environment/nature, faith/faithfulness, family, flowers/leaves/trees, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, God’s presence, grandparents, growing up/growth, helping, heritage, holiness, home, image of God, labor/work, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, mentors/teachers, milestones, mothers, nurturing, orphans, parents/parental love, participation, reverence, satisfaction, steadfastness, survival, time/timing/over time, treasure, unity

Scripture Connections: A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children (Proverbs 13:22); being rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider sharing this story with a small group in your religious community who need to explore your inheritance: the rituals, traditions, and stories that you all hold dear. Talk about tending as a spiritual practice. 

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