BOOK REVIEWS: Rosie’s Umbrella NEW 2017 Second Edition

This new 2017 edition includes two additional chapters – “Reflections on Rosie’s Umbrella” written by Jack David Eller, University of Northern Colorado, and Richard C. Owen, Founder and CEO, Richard C. Owen Publishers; and “Epilogue: Writing Rosie’s Umbrella” written by author Denny Taylor, as well as additional front matter.

Author: Denny Taylor
Book: Rosie’s Umbrella – 2017 Second Edition
Garn Press (362 pp., 2017 second edition)
ISBN: 978-1-942146-63-6
BUY: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Indigo Books | IndieBound
Paperback $17.95 | Hardcover $27.95 | Ebook $9.99 and $2.99 through Amazon’s Matchbook Program

Reviewed By Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite

“Denny Taylor’s Rosie’s Umbrella is a great read that combines fantasy and mystery to make a delightful read for young adult readers. It’s a story that explores death, loss, and love and how a fourteen-year-old girl’s life is transformed by events that took place many years before her birth. Read on to discover Rosie Llewelyn and her quest for answers as to what happened to her Aunt Sarah and why her parents won’t talk about it. Why was Aunt Sarah in a psychiatric hospital? Set in Wales in 1955 and Boston in 1995, this novel explores family secrets and how the past can catch up with people, affecting the lives of those who come after.”

“Denny Taylor’s writing is perceptive and absorbing, and Rosie’s Umbrella is a story that will rouse readers’ emotions. Yes, from the very first page, as the author described the tragic death, I felt a wave of different emotions stirred within me. There is no way the reader’s attention is not captured at this point, but what makes it outstanding is the fact that the reader finds himself reading page after page, unable to stop. I enjoyed the way the protagonist is imagined and executed. A teenager in search of answers, getting help and support from her peers in school and from teachers, driven by the thirst for truth and the need to know. The author masterfully weaves powerful themes into the story, including politics, family secrets, guilt, friendship, and redemption. Rosie’s Umbrella is a page-turner, and an emotionally charged story that will wake readers up and make them see the injustices around them. It is as entertaining as it is spellbinding.” – Reviewed By Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite

Reviewed By Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers’ Favorite

“Rosie’s Umbrella written by Denny Taylor is a story of an unspeakable family secret. Rosie Llewelyn and her classmates are given an assignment to research their personal history, concentrating on the origin of their family name. But, what if you don’t have a past? In the Llewelyn’s Boston home, there were no family photos, no stories shared; nothing seemed to exist before Rosie was born. However, after Aunt Sarah gets trapped in an elevator at work, everything changes. Rosie’s aunt suddenly becomes grief stricken; the trauma of the past engulfs her whole being, changing her radically. For forty years, Rosie’s parents and aunt had kept a secret; they were imprisoned by a gripping silence. When the past and the present collide, Rosie is determined to help her aunt unlock the memories of the past by going on a personal quest to discover her “own truth.”

“Rosie’s Umbrella is a spellbinding piece of literature. Profound and exquisitely written, Denny Taylor’s exceptional story lures you in. It is a story of heritage, of shame and regret. But more importantly, it is a pursuit of self discovery, healing and reconciliation. The opening quote by Martin Luther King Jr. summarizes the theme of the narrative: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Purposely illusive, the story is told through the confused and delusional voice of the young protagonist. The setting transcends time and location, the old and the new are intricately woven together. Most of the story is told through memories, recollections of thought, not in real time. The conflict is an internal struggle to find oneself, a rift between what is real and what is not. There are so many insightful thoughts described, especially regarding the power of storytelling, my favorite being: “There are always stories within stories.” Using a directive within the text, I encourage you to “read deeply” the story of Rosie’s Umbrella. Maybe you will find a bit of yourself within this unforgettable tale.” – Reviewed By Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers’ Favorite

Reviewed By Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer) for Readers’ Favorite

“Rosie’s Umbrella by Denny Taylor is a stunning young adult novel that follows a young girl named Rosie. One day when Rosie gets home from school, she discovers her Aunt Sarah extremely distraught. Her Aunt Sarah’s mental state only worsens, to the point where Rosie’s parents decide to have her admitted to a hospital. Meanwhile, Rosie has to do a project for school about her family’s history. The problem? She didn’t know a thing about it. So when she learns that her family is Welsh, she is shocked. Another problem is that her parents seem unwilling to discuss their past. She starts receiving emails from her aunt that help her with her report. But as Rosie discovers more about her past, she learns things that she never would have expected…”

“I really, really enjoyed reading Rosie’s Umbrella by Denny Taylor. The book is very well written and descriptive. It is exciting from cover to cover and included many scenes that made me gasp out loud. I was hooked by the first page, and I did not want to put the book down. The reader will find themselves guessing about Rosie’s past. This is a real page turner and will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, wanting to know what will happen next. The book has many likeable characters. It is full of suspense and is a very thrilling read, and also includes many inspiring quotes. I liked that there were many little stories within the main story. I would definitely recommend this to everyone.” – Reviewed By Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer) for Readers’ Favorite

Reviewed By Sefina Hawke for Readers’ Favorite

“Rosie’s Umbrella by Denny Taylor is a young adult mystery novel that would appeal most to an audience made up of young adult mystery lovers, though adult mystery lovers may also find the novel thrilling. Rosie Llewelyn is a fourteen-year-old girl living in Boston in 1995, with a mystery to solve. Rosie Llewelyn’s Aunt Sarah was committed to a psychiatric unit inside a nearby hospital for unknown reasons. Rosie makes it her mission to uncover the reason for her aunt’s stay in the psychiatric unit; thankfully young Rosie is not alone as she has the support of her teacher and her friends. Will Rosie uncover secrets and solve the mystery, or will she find her investigation halted prematurely?”

“The cover of Rosie’s Umbrella by Denny Taylor is what first drew my interest to the book; I found the image of an umbrella as the main focus of the cover to be intriguing. I found myself wanting to understand the significance of the umbrella and the reason behind the chosen title. My favorite part of the book was the moment when I understood what the title meant as it was a wonderful “aha” moment that made me feel like I had solved a mystery too. Rosie Llewelyn was easily my favorite character as she was a strong, independent girl capable of making tough choices. I admired the strength of her character and her determination to learn about her Aunt Sarah, even when faced with opposition. Overall, as an adult I enjoyed reading this book, but I imagine that I would have enjoyed it even more as a young adult who could truly empathize with Rosie!” – Reviewed By Sefina Hawke for Readers’ Favorite

About Rosie’s Umbrella

“She died within seconds of falling. She could see the shadows that went with the echoes of screams from up above, but the patterns of light and the fading sounds were nothing more than that. There was not time to think about them, to name them or to say, ‘There’s lovely’, but that is how she felt in those last moments of her life.”

Rosie’s Umbrella is about love and loss, forgetting and remembering, losing one’s self and becoming someone you never knew or imagined being.

We meet 14-year-old Rosie Llywelyn in Boston in 1995 at the moment her life is changed forever by a tragedy that occurred in a coalmining village in Wales in 1955.

From the very first page the reader experiences the emotional turmoil Rosie feels as she tries to find out what has happened to her Aunt Sarah and why her parents won’t tell her why they have had Sarah committed to a psychiatric unit in a nearby hospital.

As Taylor engages the reader in Rosie’s tragic family story of guilt and forgiveness, she falls into her own family history, and the reader falls with her – as she exposes the cruelty of governments, the wounds of being lumpen, the exploitation of poor families and children, and the trauma of the forced migration of hundreds of thousands of miners and their families from the Welsh coal mining valleys in the first half of the twentieth century.

As Rosie struggles to find her own truth with the support of her teacher and friends in school, she realizes another family tragedy is about to happen. Falling faster now through the pages, Taylor makes sure readers stay on the page with Rosie and her friends through their political awakening to the devastation that power and privilege has on poor people, and to their own vision for the future. Until, filled with love, laughter, and the will to survive, they are ready for the struggle that they know lies ahead.

About the Author

In 1983, Denny Taylor published Family Literacy, which is regarded a classic in the field; Growing Up Literate received the MLA Shaughnessy award in 1988; and Toxic Literacies, published in 1996, was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. In 2004, Taylor was inducted into the IRA’s Reading Hall of Fame. Her most recent books are Nineteen Clues: Great Transformations Can Be Achieved Through Collective Action, Save Our Children, Save Our School, Pearson Broke the Golden Rule, Rosie’s Umbrella, and Rat-a-tat-tat! I’ve Lost My Cat!

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