Rose BlancheRose Blanche by Roberto Innocenti. Creative Education, Inc.: Minnesota, 1985.Brief Overview:
This story is told through the eyes of a young German girl, Rose Blanche, who is a witness to the immense changes occurring in Nazi Germany. Her curiosity leads her outside her town where she discovers a concentration camp. Rose Blanche secretly brings food to the children behind the barbed-wire fence. The author implies that Rose Blanche is killed by crossfire as the Russian soldiers advance into Germany. The ending of this book is symbolic as spring arrives in this deserted camp.
1. The title, Rose Blanche, can be translated into the "White Rose". The White Rose was an underground resistance group of young Germans who dared to speak up for freedom. This group should be researched by students. Make a comparison/contrast of Sophie Scholl of the White Rose with Rose Blanche of the novel in a Venn diagram. Suggested website: www.historyplace.com/pointsofview/white-rose4.htm
2. Using the name Rose Blanche, have students write an acrostic poem about the Holocaust, using the letters of her name.
3. The illustrations evoke so many questions and feelings, have students discuss what they see in the pictures, the message sent, and the symbols and facts not directly stated in the book.
- the army that is she says spoke a different language and wore a different colored uniform = Russians (Red Army)
- the empty camp to which she returns = liberation of the camps
- the rebirth of flowers the next spring = hope
4. Because Rose Blanche was not a bystander,a good discussion could take place about individual responsibility and why it is important not to be a bystander, but to stand up for the injustices that one might witness. A movie that correlates well with this concept is "The Hangman", which is an animation that illustrates the poem of the same name, written by Maurice Ogden. If you do not have access to the film, you could distribute copies of the poem to your class to be read and discussed.
5. A good book to use after reading this picture book is The Short Life of Sophie Scholl by Hermann Vinke, copyright 1980. This includes portions of the pamphlets distributed by the White Rose. Have students read excerpts and rewrite these pamphlets in their words.