Rosa, Sola

Rosa, Sola

Publisher: Arquilla Press
Publication Date:
Format: Paperback
Pages: 176
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Longing for a sibling in 1966 Chicago, fourth-grader Rosa is delighted with her mother's pregnancy, until tragedy strikes and her family struggles to deal with its grief. A Booklist Top Ten First Novel for Youth and winner of a 2017 Catholic Press Association Book Award Honorable Mention in the Children's Books Category. Includes Discussion Guide.

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Sexuality: None Violence & Gore: None While there is no violence or gore in the novel, the family suffers a terrible loss—the sibling Rosa prays for is stillborn. The subject is handled from a child’s point of view and is based on the author’s experience of losing her own brother when she was ten years old. One of the novel’s themes is that God gives us the grace to deal with tragedy, and the ending is a hopeful one. Rosa, Sola is recommended for ages ten and up, however, parents of sensitive children may want to read the novel first or along with their child. Profanity: None Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking: Mild

Adults drink wine with meals several times. At one meal, Rosa’s parents and godparents share a celebratory toast with wine and Rosa takes a sip but doesn’t like it.

After devastating news, Papa overindulges in wine and appears to be drunk.

Editorial Reviews

"Offering a great deal of nuance within an approachable narrative, this tender novel glows with affection and hope for its grieving family—and with promise for its first-time author." —Starred review, Booklist

 "A lucid and quiet telling that respects its characters’ historical perspectives."—Chicago Tribune

 "The story unfolds layer by layer, revealing each character’s personality, secrets, and flaws. . . . The healing is drawn honestly and the ending is ultimately hopeful."—School Library Journal

 "A warm, tender tale that touches the heart."—Kirkus Reviews

 ". . . the novel is a more than helpful answer to the age-old question of why God sometimes answers prayers in unusual ways."—Catholic Explorer

 "Rosa’s story is about how hope and love can grow out of misfortune and despair."—Italian Catholic Federation Bollettino

Carmela Martino:
Carmela Martino

Carmela Martino is an author, speaker, and writing teacher who lives in the Chicago area. She wrote the middle-grade novel, Rosa, Sola, while working on her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. The novel was named a Booklist "Top Ten First Novel for Youth" and won a Catholic Press Association award in the Children's Books category. Her other credits for children and teens include short stories and poems in magazines and anthologies. Her articles for adults have appeared in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Catholic Parent, Writer's Digest, and multiple editions of the annual Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market. Carmela has taught writing workshops for children and adults since 1998, and she blogs about teaching and writing at You can read more about her at and follow her on Facebook at


Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Heart-warming story
Beautifully Written!
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