Roses for Isabella

by Diana Cohn


Isabella, an aspiring writer and daughter of rose-farm workers in Ecuador, relates the story of her family's livelihood. Isabella is very excited because her school will be commemorating "Pachamama" (Mother Earth) with a special assembly that will include original stories and poems. The students begin their assignment, and the teacher is impressed with Isabella's introduction about Ecuador's continual sunshine, which helps the flowers grow so well. Isabella then recounts a time when her parents worked in a rose farm that used insecticides that caused illness and strong headaches, especially for her mother. Healthier and happier days occurred when her parents began work in a new rose farm that practices fair trade and grows roses organically. Isabella's writing continues with basic section headings to explain the concept of fair trade, how the roses are sold around the world, and why celebrating Ecuador's Pachamama is important. Her composition parallels her overall narration that's distinguished by a standard typeface opposite the child-oriented look of her written story. Colourful folk-art-style drawings in marker and gouache add an authenticity to this South American tale. Unfortunately, the important message about environmental concerns and equitable working conditions dominates, leaving little story for children to latch onto. - Kirkus

This morning, Cotacachi, the volcano that watches over my village, is veiled in clouds of white, as soft as the wool my grandfather spins. After breakfast, I get ready to walk to school. Mama weaves my hair into a long braid and ties it with a brightly collared ribbon. Papa watches me put my writing book into my schoolbag. He says with a big smile, Isabella, you are our family's first writer.

Roses for Isabella invites us to experience life in Ecuador through the eyes of a young girl who keeps a journal and loves to write. We learn about Isabella's parents who work on one of the hundreds of farms growing beautiful roses that are sold all over the world. But not all of these farms are fair to workers and kind to the earth. Through Isabella, we learn how her family's life changes for the better when her parents find work at a Fair Trade farm.

Written by award-winning author, Diana Cohn and brilliantly illustrated by award-winning artist Amy Cordova, Roses for Isabella will touch the hearts of children and parents, as well as introduce them to the cultural traditions of Ecuador and the importance of making choices that support Fair Trade products.

Diana Cohn is an award-winning children's book author. For over two decades she has worked on environmental, economic, and global justice issues as a teacher, a media activist, and a program director for foundations with social change philanthropy missions. Her books include Namaste! and Dream Carver with Amy Cordova, as well as Yes, We Can! Janitor Strike in LA; Mr. Goethe's Garden; and The Bee Tree. She lives with her husband in Northern California.



ISBN: 9780880107310
Publisher: Steiner Books
Format: Hardback

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