Book Talk: The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner
" A beautiful book in so many ways. Like Shira’s imaginary bird, Jennifer Rosner’s prose is lilting and musical, yet her tale of war’s grave personal reality is gripping, heartrending, and so very real.”"
—Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours and Before and After
About the Book
In Poland, as World War II rages, a mother hides with her young daughter, a musical prodigy whose slightest sound may cost them their lives.
As Nazi soldiers round up the Jews in their town, Róza and her 5-year-old daughter, Shira, flee, seeking shelter in a neighbor’s barn. Hidden in the hayloft day and night, Shira struggles to stay still and quiet, as music pulses through her and the farmyard outside beckons. To soothe her daughter and pass the time, Róza tells her a story about a girl in an enchanted garden:
The girl is forbidden from making a sound, so the yellow bird sings. He sings whatever the girl composes in her head: high-pitched trills of piccolo; low-throated growls of contrabassoon. Music helps the flowers bloom.
In this make-believe world, Róza can shield Shira from the horrors that surround them. But the day comes when their haven is no longer safe, and Róza must make an impossible choice: whether to keep Shira by her side or give her the chance to survive apart.
Inspired by the true stories of Jewish children hidden during World War II, Jennifer Rosner’s debut is a breathtaking novel about the unbreakable bond between a mother and a daughter. Beautiful and riveting, The Yellow Bird Sings is a testament to the triumph of hope―a whispered story, a bird’s song―in even the darkest of times.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" Rosner challenges the Holocaust with a touch of magic (the yellow bird appears throughout), clarifying a dangerous time and place even as she offers a vibrant, affecting portrait of the mother-daughter relationship." —Library Journal
“ An extraordinary debut novel, brimming with beauty, hope, and heart.” —Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Last Train to London
“ This stunning debut novel sings with the power of a mother’s love and the heartbreaking risks she’ll endure.” —Booklist
“ An extraordinarily beautiful and moving novel of the human heart. It is a rich and poignant story of the enduring power of love and hope in the face of peril.” —David Gillham, author of City of Women
“ “A brilliant and transporting novel.” —Margot Livesey, author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy
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Jennifer Rosner is the author of If A Tree Falls: A Family's Quest to Hear and Be Heard, a memoir about raising her deaf daughters in a hearing, speaking world. Her children's book, The Mitten String, is a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable. Jennifer's writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Massachusetts Review, The Forward, Good Housekeeping, and elsewhere. She lives in western Massachusetts with her family. The Yellow Bird Sings is her debut novel and is being published around the world.