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.
“In Shira and Roza, Rosner captures two souls in turmoil, chronicling their grief as well as their strength of will to overcome, their longing and even surprising triumphs . . . The Yellow Bird Sings keeps your heart in your throat, your eyes pricked with tears.”—BookPage (starred review)
“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
“Music and love course through this beautiful novel, twin rivers of wonder. Jennifer Rosner has written a book that will break your heart, and then put it back together again, a little larger than before.”—Alex George, author of A Good American
“Desperately moving and exquisitely written. If you only read one book this year, make it The Yellow Bird Sings. A beautiful story with achingly memorable characters, for me Jennifer Rosner’s novel stands alongside The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Code Name Verity as one of those profoundly special World War Two novels you know you will never forget.”—AJ Pearce, author of Dear Mrs. Bird
“A beautifully written tale of mothers and daughters, war and love, the music of the living and the silence of the dead.”—Kate Quinn, author of The Huntress and The Alice Network
“A captivating novel of the power of music, the human voice, and what we sacrifice in order to survive extraordinary circumstances. Absolutely riveting.”—Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and No One Is Here Except All of Us
“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 (starred review)
“A World War II story with a Room-like twist, one that also deftly examines the ways in which art and imagination can sustain us . . . This is a Holocaust novel, but it’s also an effective work of suspense, and Rosner’s understanding of how art plays a role in our lives, even at the worst of times, is impressive.”—Kirkus Reviews
Reviews from Goodreads
A brooding heat permeates the tight space of the barn loft, no larger than three strides by four. The boards are rough-hewn and splintery and the rafters run...