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Reader reviews and comments on The Yellow Bird Sings, plus links to write your own review.

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The Yellow Bird Sings

A Novel

by Jennifer Rosner

The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner X
The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Mar 2020, 304 pages
    Mar 2, 2021, 304 pages


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There are currently 34 reader reviews for The Yellow Bird Sings
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Cynthia S. (Rensselaer, NY)

The Yellow Bird Sings
The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner a beautiful book. The author handles a tough time in history with such dignity. The reader is transported to wartime Poland where a Jewish mother and child must hide from the Nazis. The mother is faced with how to keep her child and herself alive. I especially liked the power and comfort that music brought to the child. This book would be a good book club choice. There are so many topics to discuss, survival, relationships, characters, the role of the nuns in wartime, the resistance, treatment of the Jews to name a few.
Power Reviewer
Lee M. (Valley Park, MO)

Another book about WWII, but this one is a melodic offering to all the lost souls anywhere on earth or even beyond. The music that Ms Rosner writes about just sings off the page into your heart and carries pain, sorrow, family love but most of all hope. This book is that great!
Peggy A. (Fairfax, VA)

The yellow bird sings
From the first page of this fast paced book I was drawn in to the courageous lives of a mother and daughter during WWII. I read this in one sitting.

I could actually feel the pain and suffering of a mother separating from her little girl so that she might live and the daughter going through the trauma because she did not understand why she was being separated.... and the mother trying to survive so that they will find each other again.

This was a powerful and emotion time in history that must be told so as we not forget what happened to an entire group of people.

I would recommend this book to bookstores and all public libraries.
Barbara G. (Dallas, GA)

Music Helps Flowers Bloom
"Music helps flowers bloom.."

This is a lovely story about a mother's love during an untenable situation.
This novel takes place against the background of Poland in 1941 and the
horror experienced by a mother and her five year old daughter.

I enjoyed the well worded descriptions of the surroundings these two
innocents were forced to experience. It was particularly profound when
They developed there own form of sign language in an attempt to not be
discovered by the Nazis.

Although the yellow bird is a part of their life, I did not feel it warranted the title.

Overall, it was a well written book that I truly enjoyed.
Robin B. (Olmsted Falls, OH)

The Yellow bird sings
I loved the way language was used in this book. The characters had depth and overall despite the tragic circumstances somehow the books shows the deep love between a mother and child. Another book that showed the horrific times of the Holocaust but also how people survived in the worse of circumstances.
Courtney N. (Chicago, IL)

A new view on the diaspora
(spoiler alert) while this book is well written, I think the most remarkable thing is that it tells a different side of the diaspora that I, for one, had never considered. Generally I have heard stories and read books where either the whole family miraculously survives or one lone survivor perseveres. What is interesting in this book is the drive of the mother to survive despite never knowing whether her daughter has lived. The need to hang onto the hope that her daughter survived and they will some day reunite despite all odds.
Naomi B. (Tucson, AZ)

The Yellow Bird Sings: A Story of Loss, Longing, and Music's Power to Heal
What if you were a happy five-year-old girl in Poland, surrounded by the sounds of music your family makes, and suddenly you were whisked away from your home and forced to live inside haybales, forbidden to make the slightest sound? This is the story of The Yellow Bird Sings the debut novel of Jennifer Rosner. It's told through the voices of Shira and her mother Róza, Jews who are forced into hiding when the Germans invade their village, killing Róza's husband and parents.

The book explores the themes of silence, creative expression, and identity and how they intertwine to shape our character. Shira and her mother find refuge in the barn of Polish farmers. As Shira is too young to understand what has happened, her mother invents stories of a magical garden to keep her entertained and press upon her the need to remain absolutely still and silent. In order to hold onto her identity when sound is denied her, Shira invents a little yellow bird, and it is through the bird's songs that she expresses herself.

Shira is a musical prodigy. Before their lives were shattered, she would impress her parents, both accomplished musicians, with her grasp of complex musical themes and composition. In the end, after Róza makes the difficult decision to send her daughter away, it is music that must save them both. "She and Shira have this: The soar of violins mixing with cellos. The flight of notes, like wingbeats, that transport them together, beyond the confines of a forest burrow, a convent wall."

Rosner's Author's Note sheds an interesting light on the story. While on tour to promote her memoir about, "raising deaf daughters in a hearing, speaking world," she went to a talk given by a "hidden child," a girl who hid with her mother to evade the Nazis during WWII, remaining silent to save her life. This was an experience antithetical to Rosner's own, where her children were encouraged to, "vocalize as much as possible." Hearing this experience planted the novel's seed in Rosner's mind.

I have to confess I did not fall in love with this book. The prose has a YA feel to it (not necessarily a detriment), and stretches of dialogue seemed a bit forced or mundane. But the story itself is both strong and compelling, and I was taken in by the deftly woven narrative arc. This is a strong choice for Young Adult reading, and book clubs will find plenty of subjects ripe for discussion.
Julie Z. (Oak Park, IL)

The Yellow Bird Sings
A moving Holocaust story centering on a mother and child in hiding in Poland. The mother makes the decision to let the child go into hiding in an orphanage, while the mother must struggle for survival on her own until the end of the war. I found the ending a bit abrupt, but appreciated both the lyrical writing style and the many allusions to the idea that it was both love and music that kept both mother and daughter fighting for their lives. The book held my attention from beginning to end, and I finished it within 24 hours. Thank you to BookBrowse for the ARC.

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