Rosa, Sola by Carmela A. Martino

Catholic Press Association award-winner 2017
and Booklist Magazine Top Ten First Novel for Youth

Rosa didn't know which she hated more--being lonely or being different. One thing she did know--she wanted a baby brother . . . one just like Antonio.

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 brother of her own.

When Rosa’s prayers for a sibling are answered, she is overjoyed—until the horrible day when she comes home from school to find Aunt Ida, her bossy godmother, waiting with bad news. Rosa is left feeling more sola than ever, and wondering if her broken family will ever be whole again. 


Want more from Carmela A. Martino?
Playing by Heart



Rosa, Sola began as

a short story called “Rosa’s Prayer.”

Carmela Martino discusses expanding

the story into a novel

in THIS interview.

did you


Rosa, Sola was

inspired by events

from Carmela Martino’s own childhood.

"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

". . . 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

"A warm, tender tale that touches the heart."

—Kirkus Reviews

"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