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  • Historical Fiction WW II

    Poland 1941, Roza and her daughter Shira hide in a hayloft in a neighbor’s barn, they’re desperate, they don’t know what else to do or where else to go? Shira is five, she’s confused, and her dad Natan has disappeared, her grandparents as well and she now she can’t go home? They stay hiding in the cold dirty barn for over a year, they are given food by the farmer’s wife Krystyna and the owner of the farm Henryk wants much more from Roza so they can stay. How far would you go to save your child, keep them safe and quiet? Roza invents a made up story based around a little yellow bird to keep Shira occupied, it’s has a musical element and Shira's family come from a musical background and she loves the tale. It gets too dangerous for the mother and daughter to stay in the barn. It’s arranged for Shira to be hidden in a convent, her name is changed to Zosia and her hair is bleached blond to make her look less Jewish. Roza decides her only option is to hide in the woods, Henryk has explained what mushrooms, roots and berries are safe for her to eat. He also shows her how to hide her foot prints; soon she’s cold, filthy, hungry, gaunt and lonely and misses Shira. The one thing that keeps Roza going is her plan to be reunited with Shira as soon as she can and the knowledge her daughter is safe and she knows where she is. Zosia is safe at the convent the nuns are nice to her, she misses her mother desperately, she starts having violin lessons and she’s extremely talented. Of course it’s dangerous times during a war and nothing lasts forever. Between the German soldiers constantly searching the convent for hidden Jewish children and the Russian army arriving in town, the convent is forced to evacuate when the town is bombed. Roza and Shira are separated by war, but nothing can break the bond between a mother and her daughter. Based around true stories of Jewish children being hidden during WW II, The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner is an inspiring, heart breaking and beautifully written book. I read it in a day, thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for my copy and five stars from me.

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