The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner is her debut novel.
In the summer of 1941 Hitler’s army has invaded Poland and soldiers are rounding up Jews. After her husband is killed and her parents taken away, Roza flees with her 5-year-old daughter, Shira. They reach the small village of Gracja, where they are reluctantly given refuge by a local farmer, Henryk, and his wife, Krystyna.
Soldiers continually pass through the village, making it necessary for Roza and Shira to hide in Henryk’s barn. They must stay hidden and silent beneath the hay, immobile to prevent discovery. To keep Shira occupied, Rosa makes up stories and, in whispers, tells of a small girl who tends a magical garden helped by her yellow bird. When alone and afraid, Shira composes music in her head, which the yellow bird sings to make the flowers bloom.
Henryk provides food for mother and daughter as best he can, but his motives are not entirely altruistic.
Krystyna, as a mother herself, becomes fond of Shira and, when it’s safe, takes her outside to visit the chickens and collect their eggs.
But, the time comes when the Germans sweep into the village and Roza and Shira must flee or lose their lives.
Krystyna’s sister has offered to take Shira away to find refuge in a convent orphanage.
Facing an agonising choice, will Roza agree to let her go?
This enthralling novel takes the reader on an emotional journey via the lives of a devoted mother and her gifted daughter. Escaping from the holocaust, they discover previously unknown skills to survive, not only physically but mentally. The author has created an empowering narrative demonstrating that even when events threaten to overtake us, humankind can prevail.
Uplifting, emotional, thrilling and a must-read for 2020.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
The Yellow Bird Sings is available in paperback, hardback and e-book
About Jennifer Rosner
Jennifer Rosner is the author of the memoir If A Tree Falls:A Family’s Quest to Hear and Be Heard, and the children’s book, The Mitten String. Her writing has appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. Jennifer lives in western Massachusetts with her family.