Jennifer Rosner
The Author
Short Works

The Yellow Bird Sings - A Novel, Front Cover

Buy The Yellow Bird Sings now ›Indiebound ›
Barnes & Noble ›Amazon ›

A National Jewish Book Award Finalist
A Massachusetts Book Awards Honor Book
A Best Historical Fiction Book (Goodreads)
A Must-Read Book (Massachusetts Book Awards)

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, Róża 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, Róża 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, Róża can shield Shira from the horrors that surround them. But the day comes when their haven is no longer safe, and Róża 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.


Rosner’s exquisite, heart-rending debut novel is proof that there’s always going to be room for another story about World War II....This is an absolutely beautiful and necessary novel, full of heartbreak but also hope, about the bond between mother and daughter, and the sacrifices made for love.
The New York Times

A study of music, imagination and the power of a mother’s love.

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)

This stunning debut novel sings with the power of a mother’s love and the heartbreaking risks she’ll endure.

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.

Moving…A wrenching chronicle.
Publishers Weekly

Jennifer Rosner hooks readers from the onset…Readers will have empathy for Róza and Shira, and admire Róza’s courage and persistence as she faces life without her daughter, releasing her to save her, like a bird freed from a cage.
The Missourian

Written in beautifully understated prose and tinged with magical elements, The Yellow Bird Sings is about the bonds between mothers and daughters, and the enduring power of music and storytelling even in the most devastating of times.

Satisfying and sweet…Love, empathy and fear―as well as a yellow songbird―wind through this tale of an unbreakable bond between mother and child. The novel demonstrates Ms. Rosner’s deep understanding of the terrors of the Holocaust.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The book will help you escape the drudgery of solitude in your own home―and remember past beacons of hope during troubling times.

The power of a mother-daughter bond is beautifully portrayed against the backdrop of 1941 Poland.
WBUR’s The ARTery


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 Pyjamas 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

Music and love course through this beautiful novel, twin rivers of wonder. The Yellow Bird Sings is a powerful hymn to the resilience and determination of a mother’s love in the face of the inhuman horrors of war. 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 the #1 Indie Next pick A Good American

The Yellow Bird Sings is 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. Told beneath an overarching sky of the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter, this is a story readers will continue to ponder long afterward.
–Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours and Before and After

Room meets Schindler’s List in The Yellow Bird Sings, a beautifully written tale of mothers and daughters, war and love, the music of the living and the silence of the dead. Jennifer Rosner is a writer to watch.
–Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Huntress and The Alice Network

An extraordinary debut novel, brimming with beauty, hope, and heart.
–Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Last Train to London

Imagine a mother hiding in fear of her life.  Then imagine she is also hiding her lively daughter whose smallest sound may betray them. With wonderful tenderness and imagination, Jennifer Rosner evokes the dangers Roza and Shira face and how, in the midst of those dangers, love and music survive.  A brilliant and transporting novel.
–Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury and The Flight of Gemma Hardy

The Yellow Bird Sings is a captivating novel about 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


From Library Journal, Starred Review on December 1, 2019 | Fiction

DEBUT As Nazis descend on Poland, rounding up Jews and sending them to concentration camps, Roza and five-year-old daughter Shira survive by hiding in the barn of a grudging neighbor. To stay safe, they must stay still. But musical prodigy Shira shimmers with music, so Roza tells her the story of an enchanted garden where a yellow bird does the little girl's singing for her: "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." But the danger doesn't abate, and soon Roza realizes that she must send her daughter away to save her. As Shira is hidden in plain sight at a convent, where violin training reveals the virtuoso she is to become, Roza vanishes into the forest, where she initially survives on her own and finally finds love and meaning at an encampment of Jewish resisters. But will she ever see Shira again?
VERDICT Memoirist and award-winning children's author 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. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]

–Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal


Rosner has gifted us with a novel for both fans of WWII fiction and those who have grown weary. This unique approach is a deep delve into the isolation of a mother and daughter in hiding. Filled with struggles so quiet your heart shatters, and with moments of such beauty your blood pumps over the shards, The Yellow Bird Sings is a binge read. This novel is reminiscent of Szpilman's memoir, The Pianist, had it been filled with feminine strength and the tangible vibrations of the mother-daughter bond.
–Carrie Koepke, Skylark Bookshop

The Yellow Bird Sings is a literary work of art. Jennifer Rosner has written an engrossing World War II story that will leave the reader weeping. Heart wrenching and hopeful, this book is an absolute treasure which I will champion whole heartedly to my readers. Coming next Spring, The Yellow Bird Sings is a literary tour-de-force and a book that is not to be missed.
–Mary Webber O'Malley, Anderson's Bookshop


Once We Were Home - A Novel The Yellow Bird Sings - A Novel If a Tree Falls The Mitten String

facebook Become a fan of Jennifer Rosner on Facebook ›

Copyright © 2022 Jennifer Rosner.
All rights reserved.