The Yellow Bird Sings tells the story of a Jewish mother Róźa and her daughter Shira. They survive the Nazi occupation of their city by fleeing to the country and hiding in a barn. Their saviors Henryk and Krystina are reluctant saviors, at least at first. They urge Róźa to move on but are not about to let them die on their watch. When the Nazis come to their farm, though, Krystina arranges for Shira to be hidden in a convent while Róźa hides in the forest.
The story then splits into separate lines, following Róźa who encounters other Jews hiding in the woods and Shira, now called Zosia, in the convent. Their experiences are harrowing in different ways, but their connection remains. Shira has her yellow bird that she imagines singing out to her mother. Róźa has the address of the convent and the dream of reuniting. This gives them hope and determination to survive the war and find each other again.
I liked The Yellow Bird SinI gs. I came to care about Róźa and Shira, to admire their courage. The story felt credible and real, though I wondered if bleaching Shira’s hair was so necessary since Jews were not the only people with dark hair. The tell-tale dark roots would be so much more damning than brown or black hair. The end, too, felt a bit contrived, though explaining why would be a spoiler. What I most enjoyed was how Róźa and Shira found relief and strength in music.
I received an ARC of The Yellow Bird Sings from the publisher through Shelf Awareness.