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


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Power Reviewer
Betty Taylor

Poignant Mother-Daughter Story
The author’s combination of lyrical and descriptive power enabled me to feel the beauty and love that managed to exist in these most horrific of times. Her superb rendering of the power of music and a child’s imagination gave me hope that Shira, a musical prodigy, would somehow be shielded from the horrors that existed all around her.

Rosner’s poignant description of the mother-daughter bond was heartbreaking yet also somewhat optimistic. The conditions Shira and her mother endured made me ashamed to complain even one iota about being confined by this Co-vid virus. They hid in a barn loft in Poland unable to move about freely and always having to remain silent. How does a mother et a five-year-old child to remain silent 24-hours-a-day? When they eventually became separated, I was kept on the edge of my seat wondering if they would ever be reunited.

This book addresses the phenomena of hidden children. Many Jewish parents made the heart-rending decision to put their children in the hands of Christian neighbors they trusted, or sent them to Christian schools run by Catholic nuns, or put them on train transports to another country. All this done in an effort to save the children’s lives. Some of these children were never reunited with their parents.

An excellent book, very moving. I highly recommend it.
Dorothy Schwab

The Yellow Bird Sings- A Symphony!
“Beauty will save the world,” – The hope and optimism shared from mother to daughter.

Roza and Shira are running for their lives; fighting the memories of the killing and devastation of families and homes. With the chilling descriptions the reader is left wondering how in the midst of such tragedy does a mother find the fortitude to keep going? In Jennifer Rosner’s own words: “to fight the sting in her thighs, the rolling bile in her stomach, the biting cold at her nose and cheeks and fingertips. She pushes on despite the pain and atrophy, despite her acute desire to stop and rest. She tries to outrun her loss.”

Jennifer Rosner’s detailed descriptions take the reader on a roller coaster of the senses. Through her deftly chosen words the reader cringes at the sting of the biting cold, the pungent, rotting smells of the barn and the itchy hay and stiffness of legs and arms. Just at the right moment the reader reaches the crest and is lifted and encouraged as the memories of those glorious and melodic sounds of violins, cellos and music halls are shared. Then oh so quickly, plunged and jerked back to the dreaded fear of being found and shot. The “death defying ride” is worth it in the end.

This emotional tale of a mother’s love and her daughter’s devotion is intricately and indelibly woven with a ‘fairy tale of hope;” told by Roza so that Shira remains perfectly still and quiet. It’s her story of how an imaginary yellow bird sings in a garden of daisies- perfect for weaving garlands for princesses, and magical music that helps the flowers bloom. Of course, every fairy tale must also include an element of evil: the “boot stomping” giants and beasts that are to be feared.

This debut novel rotates between Roza’s frantic search for Shira, and the stoic quest of a daughter to rejoin her mother. The rubble and chaos of war is mixed with the tuning of violins and ecstasy of concertos; leaving the reader breathless, anxiously awaiting the crescendo.

Jennifer Rosner’s The Yellow Bird Sings is indeed a true “symphony!”
Mary Anne R. (Towson, MD)

The Yellow Bird
The yellow bird sings a song of hope,encouragement, and comfort in Jennifer Rosner's novel. The characters display the good,evil and mixed actions during WW2. The little girl,Zosia,strength and development is beautifully described as is the pain and courage of her mother.

I loved the musicality of the novel, The author's words through the story are like a concert with somber and sad chords and others joyful and hopeful. Her words are often poetical and lyrical.

I think this is a good book for a book club.People might discuss which characters are most inspiring or the least. They might also discuss how the complexity of non-central .characters develop the main characters.

Parts of the story are difficult to absorb but the faith and courage of Rosa and Zosia are inspiring. This is a beautiful book.
Jean B. (Naples, FL)

The Yellow Bird Sings
The Yellow Bird Sings is simultaneously heart breaking and hopeful A mother and her child survive the horrors of being Jewish during World War II. The child comforts herself with the imagined yellow bird as she and her mother hide and experience unimaginable horrors. The author puts her readers into this time and place. It will always be important to be reminded of the terrible penalty paid by citizens when a single mad man hypnotizes a nation. Jennifer Rosner is the most recent author to do so and she does it beautifully.
Sally D. (Jacksonville, FL)

Absorbing story
The Yellow Bird Sings is a surprising novel. Although the story revolves around a horrific time in history, it mainly centers on the beautiful relationship between a mother and her daughter. The story captivated me. Through difficult situations, separation and heartbreak, it remained sweet, hopeful and powerful.
Power Reviewer
Diane S. (Batavia, IL)

The yellow bird sings
A simply told tale about a dark time in history. The Holocaust, a horrendous happening that cost millions of innocent people their lives. Can a story written during this time, about this event be both brutal and tender? Both horrific and lovely. In this, her debut novel, I feel Rosner did just that. A Jewish mother, Rosa, her young daughter, Shira forced to hide in a farmers barn, share a profound love of music. It is their background, and it and their love of stories are the way they communicate when silence means safety. Terror and quiet against their love for each other, the music balancing the two. It is the music, the beauty of the songs that both will lean on in the times to come. A time of sacrifice and discovery.

I remember the book, book:She Rides Shotgun|23361199 because of a little bear, that personal item inserted and the role it played, for me, made the book unforgettable. In this book it will be a small yellow bird, a bird of friendship and love. A bird that signifies the freedom they no longer have. It will be the beauty of the music, and a mother, daughter love that can not be broken.

Ultimately I felt both devastated and hopeful reading this, as if there was something the Nazis could not steal, destroy. Hard to do, and the author uses the magic and power of storytelling, within and without, to do the near impossible. Melancholy, bittersweet, hopeful and sad, all emotions I felt while reading.

I look forward to Rosner's next fictional rendering.
Tracey S. (Largo, FL)

A great read!
I couldn't put this book down! This was a very moving story about Roza and her daughter Shira hiding in a barn to escape capture by the Germans. It is a story of survival and a mother's love for her daughter that is so strong she will send her daughter away to have a better life. While they are separated they both try to survive without the other. I so wanted the story to keep going!
Marion C. (Peabody, MA)

The Yellow Bird Sings
The magnificent novel The Yellow Bird Sings tells the story of a Jewish mother with her five-year-old daughter in exile in June 1941 Poland. Her mother tells her daughter of a yellow bird that sings. If the yellow bird goes silent, she must be quiet. No noise, not even tapping her arm to the beat of music. When the mother hears the same piece she played with the Polish Orchestra, she realizes her daughter is a prodigy. The yellow bird offers the young girl much comfort until one day it disappears. The violin masters recognize the young girl's talent giving her violin lessons. Years later, the girl guest solos with the New York Philharmonic, and the yellow bird returns. The girl feels her mother's presence in the audience. The mother recognizes the piece her daughter composed years ago. Then she hears the yellow bird sing. This is a love story that transcends diversity. Exquisite writing allows the novel to progress quickly. The Yellow Bird Sings is an enjoyable read.

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