Carmela Martino provides a wonderful message of love, friendship, and family in this young adult novel. Set in Chicago in the late 1960s, Rosa Bernardi is a nine-year-old girl who strongly desires a sibling. Rosa prays long and hard for her mother to get pregnant, and eventually she does. Sadly, all of Rosa’s wishes do not come true, and she must face difficult emotional times with her family. Rosa is able to confront these challenges with courage and the support of family members, neighbors, and friends. The author blends hope, faith, and destiny in this sensitive story.
While there are strong religious overtones in this text, your heart will open widely to this coming-of-age tale. Since the Bernardis are an immigrant family, some of the dialog includes Italian words; these are defined in the book’s glossary. In looking up “sola,” readers will learn that the title means “Rosa alone.” While there are times when Rosa feels lonely, in the end, she learns she is far from alone.