Gwen Strauss and Jennifer Rosner in conversation with Alison Law

Authors of The Nine and The Yellow Bird Sings

Author Talks

Wednesday, Jun 16 @ 12pm - 1pm

  • Virtual Event

Join us for a special lunchtime conversation with authors Gwen Strauss and Jennifer Rosner as they discuss their newest books with Alison Law.

The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany

The Nine follows the true story of the author’s great aunt Hélène Podliasky, who led a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escaped a German forced labor camp and made a ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII from Germany back to Paris.

The nine women were all under thirty when they joined the resistance. They smuggled arms through Europe, harbored parachuting agents, coordinated communications between regional sectors, trekked escape routes to Spain and hid Jewish children in scattered apartments. They were arrested by French police, interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo. They were subjected to a series of French prisons and deported to Germany. The group formed along the way, meeting at different points, in prison, in transit, and at Ravensbrück. By the time they were enslaved at the labor camp in Leipzig, they were a close-knit group of friends. During the final days of the war, forced onto a death march, the nine chose their moment and made a daring escape.

Drawing on incredible research, this powerful, heart-stopping narrative from Gwen Strauss is a moving tribute to the power of humanity and friendship in the darkest of times.

The Yellow Bird Sings

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

Gwen Strauss' poems, short stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals including The New Republic, London Sunday Times, New England Review, and Kenyon Review and she has published a collection of poetry, Trail of Stones. She was born and spent her early years in Haiti. Strauss lives in Southern France, where she is the Director of the artist's residency program at the Dora Maar House.

Jennifer Rosner is author of The Yellow Bird Sings, called "exquisite, heart-rending...an absolutely beautiful and necessary novel" by The New York Times Book Review and a Finalist for the 2020 National Jewish Book Award. Her previously published books include the memoir, If A Tree Falls: A Family's Quest to Hear and Be Heard, about raising her deaf daughters in a hearing, speaking world and the picture book, The Mitten String, a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable. In addition to writing, Jennifer teaches philosophy. She received her BA from Columbia University and her Ph.D. from Stanford University, and lives in western MA with her family.

This virtual event is free and open to the public. The Nine and The Yellow Bird Sings are available for purchase online at Charis Books & More.

Promotional language provided by publisher.

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