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Jennifer Rosner Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Yellow Bird Sings (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jennifer Rosner is a historical fiction author best known for her debut fiction novel “The Yellow Bird Sings.” The first book she ever wrote was “If A Tree Falls” published in 2010. The book was a memoir that spoke of her experiences bringing up children in a speaking and hearing world. Rosner then wrote the Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable children’s book “The Mitten String.” In both her memoir and novels, she explores the themes of connection, silence, loneliness, and sound. Her novels, short fiction, and essays have been featured on Good Housekeeping, the New York Times, The Forward, and The Massachusetts Review among many other places. Jennifer went to Columbia University for her bachelor’s and then to Stanford University for her doctorate. In addition to writing, she also teaches philosophy and has been a professor at Mount Holyoke College and Stanford. She has also taught a college-level course in the humanities at The Care Center in Holyoke in Massachusetts. She currently lives with her family in Massachusetts.

Even as Jennifer Rosner has written for publications such as The Massachusetts Review and the New York Times, she never thought of becoming an author growing up. In fact, had her daughter Sophia not have had issues with hearing, she would never have become an author or written any of her essays and features. It was while she was completing her Ph.D. in California that she had her child and realized she had difficulties with her hearing. Jennifer had planned to take up a teaching job but now had to move to the Valley with William Corvin her husband. By living in the Valley, their child could attend the Northampton Clarke School for Hearing and Speech. Her younger daughter also attended the same school when it was discovered she had similar problems. She had a lot of stress during this time and as a form of escape, she started writing about her experiences. Rosner also found a job at The Care Center in Holyoke, where she taught a five-week philosophy seminar. During this time, she became acutely aware of sounds that her children may not hear and this developed in her a very strong sensory acuity. This informed her later writing as she is now more immersed in her environment and can see and mentally record almost everything that happens.

In 2010, She published “If A Tree Falls” her memoir about having to raise children living with deafness. The book examined the debate between sign language or hearing device to help the deaf communicate. Jennifer won critical acclaim for how she tackled the issue, which was described by one reviewer as gentle meditation on family, love, silence, and sound. The same year she published the novel, she met an elderly Jewish woman while in Florida. She had been giving a book reading and after the session, the woman approached and said she wanted to share her story as a young girl in Nazi-occupied Poland. Unlike her children that she tried to vocalize using hearing technology, the woman told a story of how their mother tried to hush them while they were hiding from the Nazis in an attic. It was a startling comparison given that for the Jewish family, the silence was a matter of life and death. It was the story that sparked the idea for “The Yellow Bird Sings” her debut novel. Her novel tells the story of Roza, a mother who together with her five-year-old child flee from Eastern Poland where the Nazis are rounding up the Jews to be taken to the concentration camps. Jennifer Rosner visited Israel and Poland and conducted interviews with Jews that had been in the holocaust to collect material for her story. By traveling to Poland, she could immerse herself in the sensory aspects of the settings where the soldiers were encamped and the Jewish children were hidden. While she believes “The Yellow Bird Sings” is at its core a story of the bond between daughter and mother, she also hopes it can be a great introduction for young readers learning about the Holocaust.

“The Yellow Bird Sings” is a hopeful, heartbreaking and emotional story. It is set in 1941 where mother and daughter Shira and Roza are escaping from Poland in 1941. The countryside is swarming with soldiers rounding up Jews and they find refuge in a barn where some kindly farmer has hidden them. Henryk ensures their safety but rapes Roza in the night while his wife Krystyna provides food for the child as she believes all children should have a chance at a good life. Quiet and afraid, they spend more than a year in the barn sleeping on hay as they reminisce on cherished memories of their families now taken away from them. But then the Germans announce that they would be converting the farmer’s ban into a depot and the two runaways now need to find a new place to hide. The farmer tells them to separate with the child going to a convent where she can find shelter with the nuns, while her mother heads for the forest on her own full of fear, regret, and sadness. Jennifer Rosner tells an extraordinary story of daughter and mother, secluded and stifled and full of fear of the unknown, only to be separated with no hope of finding each other again any time soon, if ever.

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