Rosa's Song

Rosa's Song
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
June 14, 2022
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In this diverse picture book, a young immigrant from South Korea finds community and friendship in an apartment house filled with other newly arrived kids.

When Jae looks out the window of his new home, he wishes he could still see his old village, his old house, and his old friends. But his new apartment feels empty and nothing outside is familiar. Jae just arrived from South Korea and doesn't even speak the new language.

Yet, making friends is the same wherever you go and he soon meets a girl with a colorful bird perched on her shoulder. Rosa knows just how Jae feels and the two become fast friends. Not only does Rosa show Jae his new neighborhood but she shows him how his imagination can bring back memories of his old home.  Then Rosa leaves unexpectedly one night but leaves her parrot for Jae. He thinks about the song that Rosa would sing: “When I fly away, my heart stays here.” And when Jae meets two other newly arrived kids, he teaches them Rosa's song and becomes their guide to this new world.

From the creators of the highly acclaimed The Paper Kingdom, comes a new book about the importance of community and demonstrates how a simple act of kindness can be passed along to others.

Editor review

1 review
emotional read about friendship, loss, and community
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
ROSA'S SONG is a beautiful story of community and friendship. Jae and his mother have moved to a new country and everything feels wrong. After his mother suggests finding new friends, Jae knocks on a door and meets Rosa and her bird Pollito. Rosa shows him all the magic of his new home and helps him to find happiness in this new place. But then, one day, Rosa is gone - her family was forced to leave unexpectedly. She left Pollito behind for him, but he misses Rosa. However, when new neighbors knock on his door, Jae knows just what to do.

What I loved: This was such a beautiful story of friendship, feeling homesick, moving, and community. Rosa was such a lovely character for the way she uses imagination and kindness to help Jae feel more comfortable. She and Pollito have taught him a song that adds to the magic of this new relationship - until it is gone. Children who have lost friends due to moves or other changes will understand this feeling of loss. The undercurrent here is something that could be expanded upon for older readers, so that they understand more about immigration and reasons why people may have to leave in a hurry against their will. For older readers, this story can be something more, while the context may not matter as much for younger audiences.

The story flows well and evokes the emotions throughout the story with clever use of color to set the stage and imaginative imagery. This is a book that will work well for elementary school aged readers.

Final verdict: An emotional and lovely picture book, Rosa's Song is an evocative story about friendship and community.
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