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Rosa, Sola

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  28 reviews
NOTE: this revised edition includes a Discussion Questions section for classroom use.
Rosa Bernardi, an only child living with her Italian immigrant parents in 1960s Chicago, often feels alone, or SOLA, as her parents would say. But after she holds her best friend AnnaMaria's baby brother for the first time, Rosa is sure that if she prays hard enough, God will send her a br
Paperback, Second, 176 pages
Published July 20th 2016 by Carmela A. Martino (Originally published by Candlewick Press) (first published August 9th 2005)
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Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-keepers
This is a lovely story of a young girl from an Italian immigrant family in the 1960's. I love how Rosa grows during the story, and my heart aches for her and her family. I really liked how the author included so many Italian words to immerse the reader in the culture. The best thing about the story is how true it is to family and how that glue holds everyone together through tragedy. Highly recommended! ...more
Andrea Rodgers
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sola, Rosa is a thought-provoking book for children that addresses numerous topics, such as longing for a sibling and the pain of miscarriage. It also highlights the desire of children to fit in and not be different. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It captured the family dynamic of the 1960’s in a warm and loving way. I liked the way the author demonstrated the power of prayer and hope throughout the story.
A.J. Cattapan
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
School Library Journal called this a "gentle and moving story," and I have to agree. Rosa is a good Catholic girl who desperately prays the rosary every night for God to send her a little brother. I don't want to give the story away, but as the Amazon summary states, tragedy strikes the family. You can't help but feel for Rosa and her family. Carmela Martino's descriptions of love and loss are dead-on. Make sure you've got a hankie nearby when you reach the mid-point of this book. Still, the sto ...more
Nov 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
wonderful story from the pov of a 9 year old about how we deal with the challenges in life. My favorite quote: "I believe with all my heart that God hears our prayers. And that when bad things happen, God finds a way to turn them to good." ...more
Mary E.
Love this story, characters and message
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rosa, Sola is good middle-grade drama. I connected and empathized with Rosa as she and her family suffered. Extended family members brought relief and interesting additions to the story that helped Rosa cope and grow. The ending was handled well to be uplifting. I'm so glad Ms. Martino wrote a novel like this one! Kids need this type of story when coping with an emotional loss or illness in the family. ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As an 18-year-old, I had no trouble relating to 9-year-old Rosa. And I am not ashamed of that. Rosa is strong and tough who never gives up. In the (view spoiler) I felt Rosa's grief and emotion. I did. I really did.

Uncle Sal was my favorite. I want someone in my life like him. I loved his handkerchief anecdote despite the fact that handkerchiefs aren't sanitary. That's a lot from me. ;) He was so cheerful and sweet throughout the book; it was impossible not to
Leslea Wahl
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rosa Sola is a beautiful story about an Italian immigrant family in the 1960’s. Rosa is in the fourth grade and wants nothing more than a baby brother. She decides to pray for a brother until God blesses her family. Amazingly, her prayers are answered! All seems perfect when she finds out her mother is expecting a baby, she will no longer be the odd girl at school with no siblings. But when tragedy strikes her family, she has many hard lessons to learn.
This novel, for older elementary and middl
Jarm Boccio
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Peek into the Heart of a Lonely Girl

Totally immersed into an Italian-American Catholic family, Rosa, a lonely and only child finds solace in her thoughts and prayers for what she desires most: a baby brother. Although her prayers are finally answered, events take a tragic turn, and now she feels twice alone, even with a bustling family surrounding her who are trying desperately to help. As her heart accepts the circumstances, she grows to have a deeper understanding and love for God and family
Susan Peek
A beautifully moving and tragic story about a little Italian girl who manages to put the shattered pieces of her life and dreams back together by her faith in God and His Blessed Mother. The author has done an admirable job of handling sensitive issues and making her characters come alive in the pages of this incredibly touching novel. I loved the tidbits of Italian customs and language that are woven so naturally into the plot. Just a warning: a nearby box of tissues may be required before you ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book about a 9 year old girl who goes through a family tragedy. It would be excellent for any kid dealing with death or sickness in their family. The realistic portrayal of grappling with God, parents, relatives and school friends is presented so honestly. I LOVE the references to her Italian Catholic upbringing, including an entire glossary of Italian words. It is sad, but it ends in a hopeful way, introducing a middle grade child to the deeper questions of life and loss in ...more
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rosa wants nothing more than a baby brother of her own. But this is more than simple envy over her best friend's new baby brother. Rosa is an only child, and in 1960s Chicago, that's a rarity--and she feels like an outsider among all her friends with their large families. Rosa's wish comes true, but she blames herself for the tragic events that follow. Recommended for readers 10 and up. As this is a sensitive topic, parents will appreciate the classroom discussion guide at the end of the book (i ...more
Tender, beautifully-written story of love, longing, and loss. Carmela Martino expertly captures the the dreams and hopes of childhood along with the joys and grief that are an inevitable part of family life. I especially enjoyed the coziness of this Italian-American family and its setting - both in time and place.

Highly recommended for children and young teens but also enjoyable for adults. My fourth grader will be reading this next. I'll give her a tissue warning, but a few shed tears are well
Gayl Smith
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so appropriate for today's elementary school student who is being encouraged to embrace their heritage. Rosa is exploring what it is to be Italian American while wanting what's best for her family. But when tragedy strikes, she is filled with guilt that her prayers were selfish. Meanwhile, her ambition to do well in a spelling bee resonate with anyone who's ever wanted to stand out and be recognized. Wonderfully written ...more
Marilynn Farmer
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, childrens, christian
Rosa Sola is a beautifully written middle grade or YA story about an Italian-American girl who must face a major family crisis while growing up in Chicago of the 1960s. The emotional storyline deals with many issues including grief, and author handles them with great skill and reverence, while adhering to Christian (more specifically, Catholic) values. Highly recommend for middle grade, though would still be a good read for young adults.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this clear insight into the thoughts of a young girl who navigates the sorrow, worry, and fear of a family tragedy. Martino has given us an inside view of the emotinal journey of a child suffering with a sudden and unexpected grief, and how the varied responses of close family members around her can pose unintended difficulty for the smallest victims of loss.
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when it first came out when I was in 5th grade and I really enjoyed it. My mom worked with Mrs. Martino so I got a special autographed copy which made 11 year old me SUPER excited. It was the first book I owned that had been signed by the author 💛
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very sweet book! I've read it more than I can count, it has some deppressing themes, and has death in it. But honestly no matter how many times I've read it, it always makes my heart melt. ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I felt really close to the main character. Although there were sad parts, it was ultimately a happy book with a great message.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Lovely book about a child dealing with loss. Presented how people deal with grief differently in a realistic manner. The author also shows the thoughts of an only child realistically.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have known Carmela for years. Wish I hadn't waited so long to read this. Really enjoyed it. Well done Carmela! ...more
Pat Salvatini
Rosa is captivated by her friend AnnaMaria’s new baby brother. She decides she no longer wants to an only child and Rosa prays everyday for a baby brother or sister. Rosa is excited and delighted when her ma becomes pregnant. Unfortuantely, all does not go well and Rosa’s new baby brother is stillborn. Martino offers intermediate readers an insider’s view of Italian immigrant live in the 1960s. She gives readers a wonderfully developed character while skillfully putting on paper Rosa’s unfamilia ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a great coming of age story. I truly enjoyed following along in Rosa's life. A story that takes place in Chicago during the 1960s. An only child, Rosa always wanted a little brother. When her mother becomes pregnant it is all Rosa can do but dream of her new life with her sibling. This would be chance to fit in with the neighborhood and school kids because everyone had been big families during that time. When tragedy strikes the family, every hope, every dream, every chance for this joy lea ...more
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: older-childrens
1960's and a girl is anxiously awaiting a little sister but her mother miscarries. The family uses different ways to deal with their grief. A good sense of a different time period and culture. ...more
This book is all right. I was expecting a little more out of it, but it was pretty good anyway.
This book tends to lean more on the sad side... but it's a great book if you're the kind of person who finds that kind of thing entriging. ...more
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Sep 27, 2009
Kim Markey
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Dec 27, 2017
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Catholic Writers ...: Review copies of my middle-grade novel 1 8 Oct 08, 2016 06:36PM  

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Carmela Martino is an author, speaker, and writing teacher. She wrote the middle-grade novel, Rosa, Sola (Candlewick Press), while working on her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.  The novel received a starred review from Booklist magazine and was named to their list of “Top Ten First Novels for Youth:  2006.” Her second novel, the historical romance Playing by Heart (Vinspire Publish ...more

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