The Orphan Band of Springdale
With the United States on the verge of World War II, eleven-year-old Gusta is sent from New York City to Maine, where she discovers small-town prejudices — and a huge family secret.It’s 1941, and tensions are rising in the United States as the Second World War rages in Europe. Eleven-year-old Gusta’s life, like the world around her, is about to change. Her father, a foreign-born labor organizer, has had to flee the country, and Gusta has been sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother. Nearsighted, snaggletoothed Gusta arrives in Springdale, Maine, lugging her one precious possession: a beloved old French horn, her sole memento of her father. But in a family that’s long on troubles and short on money, how can a girl hang on to something so valuable and yet so useless when Gusta’s mill-worker uncle needs surgery to fix his mangled hand, with no union to help him pay? Inspired by her mother’s fanciful stories, Gusta secretly hopes to find the coin-like “Wish” that her sea-captain grandfather supposedly left hidden somewhere. Meanwhile, even as Gusta gets to know the rambunctious orphans at the home, she feels like an outsider at her new school — and finds herself facing patriotism turned to prejudice, alien registration drives, and a family secret likely to turn the small town upside down.

The Orphan Band of Springdale Details

TitleThe Orphan Band of Springdale
Author
ReleaseApr 10th, 2018
PublisherCandlewick Press (MA)
ISBN-139780763688042
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Childrens, Middle Grade, Fiction, Realistic Fiction

The Orphan Band of Springdale Review

  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    I like this a lot. Let’s start there. It’s smart. It’s warm. It’s interesting. It’s even unique, in a way - it tackles situations unusual, I think, to middle grade fiction. Gusta is sent to her grandmother in Maine, and her grandmother runs an orphanage; her father is a labor organizer (a Communist, y’all) on the run from the law; both of them have German last names, and it’s 1941. This is an unusual mix, one I’ve never seen before. And yet I read this wondering if I wasn’t having the experience I like this a lot. Let’s start there. It’s smart. It’s warm. It’s interesting. It’s even unique, in a way - it tackles situations unusual, I think, to middle grade fiction. Gusta is sent to her grandmother in Maine, and her grandmother runs an orphanage; her father is a labor organizer (a Communist, y’all) on the run from the law; both of them have German last names, and it’s 1941. This is an unusual mix, one I’ve never seen before. And yet I read this wondering if I wasn’t having the experience other people had when they read The Wrinkled Crown. There’s just a LOT going on here - all the above, plus a French horn, a magic Wish, and quite the uncomfortable family situation. And folded in and around all this is a fabulous school story. But there’s so much going on that the novel feels uneven, almost unfocused. It tries to do too much. If you follow the school story, it ties into the competing-dairies, school-band, and French-horn elements; if you follow the family drama, the mill-organizing, fleeing-father, Uncle Charlie, Josie, Wish, and orphan-band elements fold in; if you focus on the setting, the patriotism, last-name, and pigeon aspects have a clear place. And of course, because this is a professionally plotted story, these elements intersect and inform each other and bleed together, and it becomes hard to say which individual elements are excessive. (Well, not for one of them. The Wish stuff is almost irrelevant.)And while it says things, in the course of its many, many stories, with which I agree, I have a hard time accepting the speechifying on top of all the other things.It’s just a LOT. I like all the characters! I like ambition! I don’t want less ambition - but I do want coherence and deliberation and direction. And I don’t feel that I got them here.
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  • Jessica Lawson
    January 1, 1970
    If Anne Nesbet doesn't win a Newbery Medal or Honor in the next 3-4 years, I'll eat my hat.The seamless characterization, the flawless voice, the fully-realized setting, the details (! oh, the details!), the history, the humor, the heart, the MAGIC (yes, I firmly believe in the magical wish in this book), the ...oh lord, I could go on and on.Warning: The Author's Note might make you cry.
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  • Shelby M. (Read and Find Out)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a finished copy of this book for review from Candlewick Press. My Video ReviewOh my goodness... This book. I did not expect to love this as much as I did. This is some of the highest quality middle grade I have ever read. Gusta, the protagonist, was shy, sweet, and brave. I adored her. The themes that were explored were so well done, in a way that can connect with adults as well as middle grade readers. Themes include patriotism as a cover for prejudice, music, and the question of "Wh I received a finished copy of this book for review from Candlewick Press. My Video ReviewOh my goodness... This book. I did not expect to love this as much as I did. This is some of the highest quality middle grade I have ever read. Gusta, the protagonist, was shy, sweet, and brave. I adored her. The themes that were explored were so well done, in a way that can connect with adults as well as middle grade readers. Themes include patriotism as a cover for prejudice, music, and the question of "Who is a real American?" I highly recommend this!
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  • Alyssa Nelson
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*This is a heartwarming story about a young girl named Gusta who moves in with her grandmother and aunt because her father is in trouble and her mother doesn’t make enough to feed her. She finds herself not quite fitting in, having a very German name on the verge of World War II, needing glasses, and coming from a rather poor family. But, that doesn’t stop her from dreaming. Her great-grand *I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*This is a heartwarming story about a young girl named Gusta who moves in with her grandmother and aunt because her father is in trouble and her mother doesn’t make enough to feed her. She finds herself not quite fitting in, having a very German name on the verge of World War II, needing glasses, and coming from a rather poor family. But, that doesn’t stop her from dreaming. Her great-grandfather was a captain and once found a treasure chest of wishes; the story goes that he had just one left before he died, and it was hidden in the house. She plans to find it to make the perfect wish that will save her father, her mother, her maimed uncle, and herself.There are a lot of topics explored here, but the one that especially resonated with me was the idea of being “other.” Otherness is explored a lot within this story; Gusta arrives at a city she’s never been to, lives with family she’s never met, and has to try to fit into this new life, even though it’s quite different from the one she left. There’s also animosity towards immigrants and those who seem different. Sadly, this idea of not fitting in is something that I think will resonate with anyone at any time, who is any age. The animosity towards immigrants also rang all too true for today’s time. However, it was nice to see it handled in a way that showed the shortsightedness of those making snap judgments.However, at the center is Gusta. This main character is so brave and strong and kind, I couldn’t help but love her and her story. I would have read about her for pages and pages doing just about anything because I so much enjoyed reading about her thought process and seeing her struggle with wanting to make everyone happy. She has to deal with some incredibly grown-up situations and make decisions that are hard for adults to make, and she does so with aplomb.I could talk about this book forever. I love the idea of a great-grandfather leaving a magical wish, and Gusta’s wholehearted belief that if she finds it, she could fix everything; I love the friendships Gusta makes, and their love for music; I love the idea of justice and fairness that pervades the children’s thinking in this story. Everything about this book is lovely. It’s incredibly detailed, and I felt as if I were teleported right back into 1941 and living there right along with Gusta. I am excitedly looking forward to Nesbet’s future books, because she’s going to be a household name if she keeps writing. Put this book in your classrooms, add it to your curriculum, put it in your libraries, and buy it for the children in your life. It’s magical and charming and everything to love about middle grade.Also posted on Purple People Readers.
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  • QNPoohBear
    January 1, 1970
    Eleven-Year-Old Gusta Hoopes Neubronner has moved around a lot. From the mill towns of New England to New York City as her father, a union activist, rallies people to the cause. She's always had her parents by her side no matter where they went; quietly observing and absorbing their beliefs. Now her father has put her on a bus to Springdale, Maine to live with the grandmother she doesn't remember far from her mother still in New York trying to make ends meet. Gusta is comforted by the fact her P Eleven-Year-Old Gusta Hoopes Neubronner has moved around a lot. From the mill towns of New England to New York City as her father, a union activist, rallies people to the cause. She's always had her parents by her side no matter where they went; quietly observing and absorbing their beliefs. Now her father has put her on a bus to Springdale, Maine to live with the grandmother she doesn't remember far from her mother still in New York trying to make ends meet. Gusta is comforted by the fact her Papa will come with her to explain everything but when he disappears, she is left alone clutching her prized possession- Papa's French Horn he brought from Germany long ago. Now Gusta is alone to face down a house full of orphans, a new school where children rarely see newcomers and compete for bragging rights about their family-owned dairies, the school's five-point health certificate competition, the Real Americans Club and family drama. Through it all Gusta tries to remain true to her family and herself but she harbors some big secrets and with America on the brink of war with Germany, those secrets could cost her family everything. I loved this book! I had a hard time putting it down. I read long past the time I should have been asleep on a work night and finally put it down when I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. I read it while waiting for the bus in the morning, while waiting for the bus home and finally finished it late at night. I really enjoyed the author's writing style. Some of her descriptive phrases are really unique and beautiful. She refrains from inserting too much insight and hitting home a message. Gusta's voice seems authentic for a precocious child who takes on the weight of the world. I did not like how Mr. Bertmann gets dropped halfway through the story only to reappear at the end. His story was wrapped up a lot more neatly than I expected. I also did not like the title of the novel. The girls call themselves "The Honorary Orphan Band" but I would title the book "Real as Jam" because the girls form the band to prove to Mrs. Hoopes/Grandma that music is as real as jam (meaning it can win a ribbon at the county fair). That phrase echoed throughout the novel and was important to the story though it was a bit unclear as to WHY Grandma dislikes music or whether it's just the music teacher she doesn't care for. The only other small issue I had with the novel is Gusta's obsession with unions and how too much of the story is taken up with Uncle Charlie's cause and not enough with the band. The plot could just use a little smoothing to make it all gel better.Gusta is gutsy, sincere and loyal. I really liked her but I didn't understand why she felt it was her duty to pay for Uncle Charlie's operation if the mill owner wouldn't pay for it. What 11-year-old child thinks like that even during the Depression? She doesn't really seem aware that there is a global Depression just that times are tough for her family and the mill workers. I also loved Josie and how cheerfully she accepted her situation though not in a goody-goody way. I loved her fearlessness and can-do attitude. Extra special love to Josie for playing the ukulele! Younger niece has recently taken up the ukulele and I hope she'll read this book. She is a lot like Josie. Bess at first seemed a little too sweet and good to me but she's just shy and used to a tough life with an injured father and a harried stepmother. She knows she has to be quiet and good to not make the situation worse. Bess is a good complement to Gusta and Josie because she's so quiet and thoughtful while the other two just rush in without thinking. Gusta's classmates are mostly non-entities except for two children, both of whom live on dairy farms and are constantly warring over whose is better. Molly Gowan annoyed the HECK out of me. Her REAL Americans Club really really got on my last nerve. I hope older kids can see the parallel to what the Nazis thought or Deatheaters if they don't know history yet! That kind of thinking is just so so dangerous. Anyway, none of the people in that town seem to be real immigrants even if their ancestors came over with the Mayflower or Winthrop Fleet. There were people here on the continent before then. How about a club that promotes unity and harmony in this time of uncertainty and difficulty? Young readers will hopefully see the connection between the immigrants of today and the immigrant characters in the novel like Gusta's Papa. Gusta's other classmate, Georges Thibodeau is adorably quirky. Today he would be labeled on the autism spectrum and have a classroom aide to keep him from his frequent outbursts. I like how kind and fiercely loyal he is. His outbursts add humor to the story. The adults are a little less endearing than the children but none is really a cardboard stock character. Grandma Hoopes is tough but loving. She has her reasons for things and being the way she is. Her seafaring father was quite a character and his stories add to the charm of the novel but also make it a tad too unrealistic and cutesy in spots. I feel sorry for Aunt Marion. Gusta's Mama Gladys got the brains and the fiery temperament in the family while Aunt Marion is stuck taking care of a bunch of wild orphans. She is a sad, broken down woman who can't stand up to her own mother. She does have some backstory which is a bit of a surprise, especially in a novel for readers ages 9-12 and it makes me wonder what she was like as a young woman. Gusta's teacher surprised me. I think her personality changed a bit from knowing Gusta and learning from the girl. Miss Kendall is another kind and sympathetic teacher who inspires the girls to learn music but I found her weak and silly in spots. I understand Grandma's feelings. The adult male characters are not as strong as the female. Uncle Charlie is a sad, literally broken man. I felt really horrible for him especially since I work at a textile mill museum and I know what the machines look like and how the line works. Our machines are individually operated in case Uncle Charlie needed to fix a loom without shutting down the line. I'm not sure what kind of textile mill wouldn't have that same system. I also know unions were active in New England mills in the 1930s but they don't seem to have reached that corner of Maine yet. I really wanted to be sympathetic to Uncle Charlie but Gusta's gung-ho reaction to the situation annoyed me. Uncle Charlie is not her concern. Mr. Bertmann is very quirky. He's either a villain or really naive. I knew his scheme with the pigeons was not going to go over well in the community. His backstory comes out all at once after he disappeared from the plot for awhile. It was sad but told in an age appropriate way. It's also only 1941 and the future has yet to be determined. The mill owner villain really bothered me. He's the only character that's stereotypical. Of course mill owner=villain. Why can't the mill owner be benevolent? There were some good mill owners at that time. The author provides a brief note but not a lot of information on sources so I found Labor Unions During the Great Depression and New Deal and
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  • Juli
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Wow, what a complex book. This book is so much more than a middle-grade book. The story takes us to Maine (and to be honest pretty much the reason why I wanted to review this book in the first place, I am only slightly obsessed with everything Maine). Springdale is a small, non-coastal, working-class town. We find ourselves on the eve of US's involvement in WWII - the I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Wow, what a complex book. This book is so much more than a middle-grade book. The story takes us to Maine (and to be honest pretty much the reason why I wanted to review this book in the first place, I am only slightly obsessed with everything Maine). Springdale is a small, non-coastal, working-class town. We find ourselves on the eve of US's involvement in WWII - the townspeople worry about unregistered aliens, being drafted, and the first signs of communist ideas such as union uprisings. Gusta's papa is a fugitive with union ideas and a German background. Gusta's mama is holding down the fort in New York City. Gusta was sent to live in Springdale with her grandma who runs an orphanage. There she searches for a special coin that her sea captain great-grandfather hid.During the story, we follow Gusta as she gets used to living away from her mom and dad, tries to fit in with her new peers in her new school, and constantly searches for that wish-granting coin all the while she is growing up and learning that adults aren't always rational, that they aren't always fair, and that they aren't always good! I loved this book. While reading, I tried to remember if I ever had read such a deep middle-grade novel when I was the target age and I couldn't come up with an example. And even if I had, I probably would've had to admit that it went over my head a bit. I am glad that authors now challenge kids of all ages to think and muddle their way through complex storylines and plots. I also think that this book will reach older audiences that other middle-grade books probably wouldn't. All in all, this is a great novel and well worth your time.See my blog (spoilers possible!) here: https://ichleseblog.wordpress.com/201....
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  • Vikki VanSickle
    January 1, 1970
    French horns, carrier pigeons and Dairy Wars! Colour me charmed! A sweet story about a girl who is sent to live with a grandmother she has yet to meet in Maine in the early 40s. Gusta's father may or may not be on the run for being a labor organizer, a secret Gusta keeps hidden as her classmates (and town in general) seems preoccupied with what it means to be a 'real' American and rooting out alien citizens in the shadow of the war in Europe. Sadly, this thread is resonant today. But Gusta makes French horns, carrier pigeons and Dairy Wars! Colour me charmed! A sweet story about a girl who is sent to live with a grandmother she has yet to meet in Maine in the early 40s. Gusta's father may or may not be on the run for being a labor organizer, a secret Gusta keeps hidden as her classmates (and town in general) seems preoccupied with what it means to be a 'real' American and rooting out alien citizens in the shadow of the war in Europe. Sadly, this thread is resonant today. But Gusta makes friends with her cousin and fellow 'orphan' Josie and the girls form a band with hopes of winning a ribbon at the local fair. Lots here about family, community, and wonderful prose about hope and music. Nesbet has a lovely turn of phrase and there are memorable bits here, such as Josie's desire to prove that music is 'real as jam,' meaning music can win ribbons just like jam, which is considered more worthwhile. A great read for fans of The Penderwicks, The War That Saved My Life, and the All of a Kind Family.
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  • Rajiv
    January 1, 1970
    A BIG Thank You to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for providing me a copy of “The Orphan Band of Springdale” by Anne Nesbet in exchange for my review. I loved reading this story from the get-go! Omg, is there anything this book didn’t have? Magic coins? Check. Carrier pigeons taking photographs? Check. Family secrets, scandal and intrigue? Check, check and check!Okay, don’t get fooled from my previous remark thinking that this is some kooky story of pigeons taking photographs of magic coins. The A BIG Thank You to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for providing me a copy of “The Orphan Band of Springdale” by Anne Nesbet in exchange for my review. I loved reading this story from the get-go! Omg, is there anything this book didn’t have? Magic coins? Check. Carrier pigeons taking photographs? Check. Family secrets, scandal and intrigue? Check, check and check!Okay, don’t get fooled from my previous remark thinking that this is some kooky story of pigeons taking photographs of magic coins. The story is actually very heart-warming and fast paced with wonderful characters. Firstly, my heart went out to Gusta as her father leaves her in the bus to Springdale. Since her arrival in Maine, Gusta adapts many changes like getting used to a new town and a new family. She also overcomes obstacles of being teased in school and getting into a feud with a prominent figure.In addition to the main character, the supporting characters are extremely charming and each one of them have a trait that you can root for (except the villain). In fact, I pictured the cast of Little House on the Prairie to the characters in this story. This is how I pictured the cast in my mind:• Gusta is Mary Ingalls• Josie is Laura Ingalls (an older version with the same personality)• Georges is Albert• Molly is Nellie (well, a brainier version of her)• Miss Hatch is Miss Beadle• and Mr. Kendall is the male evil version of Mrs. Olsen.Furthermore, the author sets the story line during the time of World War II, but doesn’t get too preachy on the history facts. There are some references to the Nazis, and even a shout out to Amelia Earhart. Significantly, the pacing was good, and the story lines remained fresh without a dull moment. Moreover, the story not only has a consistent theme, but a lot of quirky subplots to it. My favorite part was when Gusta tries on her new glasses and sees the world as brand new. I also loved her scenes with Josie and how they support each other during the tough times.So why did I give it only 4 out of 5 stars? Honestly, it is all because of that dastardly Mr. Kendall! In general, this man is so despicable, he makes Nelly Olsen look like sweet Snow White. After the way he horribly treats Gusta and her family, I was so furious that nothing unfortunate happened to him. Undoubtedly, it made me angry and feel like bad people do get away with everything sometimes. I would have given it 5/5 stars if there had been repercussions on Mr. Kendall to make him a better person.Overall, this is a charming book that I encourage you to read (if you haven’t done so already).
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  • Amie's Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE by Anne Nesbet is a work of Historical fiction, written with middle-grade as the intended readership. It is  "... nightingale sweet and honey-smooth." Anne Nesbet has beautifully mixed  music with history, family and a morality tale of doing what is right, no matter how difficult that may be. Eleven year old Augusta Neubronner Hoopes is sent from her home in New York City to stay at her grandmother's house deep in central Maine. From the very first chapter we learn THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE by Anne Nesbet is a work of Historical fiction, written with middle-grade as the intended readership. It is  "... nightingale sweet and honey-smooth." Anne Nesbet has beautifully mixed  music with history, family and a morality tale of doing what is right, no matter how difficult that may be. Eleven year old Augusta Neubronner Hoopes is sent from her home in New York City to stay at her grandmother's house deep in central Maine. From the very first chapter we learn that Augusta (who prefers to be called "Gusta") has a very heavy load on her shoulders. Halfway through the trip from New York to Maine, her father disappears. It turns out that he escaped just before authorities searched the bus looking for him. Gusta's father was born in Germany and has been involved with the labor movement ever since arriving in the United States. Now, he is a fugitive from the law. When Gusta arrives at her grandmother's house, all she has to her name is a small bag of clothes and her most prized possession - a French horn. That horn is not just decorative. Gusta can play it, and play it well. Hearing a family legend that somewhere there is a magic wish "...in a box on a shelf..." Gusta would dearly love to find that wish and sets out to ferret out its location. The longer she lives in the small town, the more problems she sees that need to be set right. Her father always told her that people needed to help each other whenever they could, and Gusta intends to honor his teaching - no matter how much it will hurt her to do so. I love this. It is so refreshing to read a story in which solidarity is celebrated and where selfishness is discouraged. In today's world, it is all about "ME". Too many people worry only about themselves and ignore the consequences to others of their actions. In this regard, going back in time would be wonderful. Sometimes it is necessary to look at the world through the eyes of a child who has not yet been beaten down by life. It is through Gusta's wonderfully flawed eyes that adult readers of this novel discover that everything can be boiled down to one of two choices ... Right or Wrong. This lesson may be a simple one, but it is one that is often forgotten. I am happy to say that "The Orphan Band of Springdale" has reminded me of that oh-so-true reality.Anne Nesbet has touched on so many issues worthy of discussion in this book that it is easy to see this book in a middle grade classroom and a lively discussion taking place. I highly recommend this book to teachers of those grades (as well as to everyone else.) Here is a partial list of some of the discussion worthy topics include: * Work ethic in the past vs. work ethic in present day * Hardscrabble lives * Unions * Injured Workers * Patriotism * Prejudice * Government & health * Music * Money and lack of it * Airplanes * Bullying * Glasses * German in the USA * Dairy Wars * Purity - of milk and of birth * Orphans * Family loyalty * The value of historic writings - such as the sketchbook and journal from the sea captain found in the attic by Gusta * Selflessness * Changes in technology from 1941 to present day* And much more... I sped through the reading of this book because I did not want to put it down. In fact, I spent two very sleepless nights devouring the pages and fully immersing myself in Gusta's world. Author Anne Nesbet has crafted Gusta's world with beautifully detailed descriptions and characters with such depth that they seem 100% real. It is patently obvious that the author has a distinct love of small-town Maine, and that love has seeped through onto every page of this delectable book. I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and am planning to check out previous novels written by Anne Nesbet. I predict that THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE will find its way onto the Bestseller list shortly after its official release date. * I would like to thank GOODREADS as well as CANDLEWICK PRESS for providing me with an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of this book. To read more of my reviews, visit my blog at http://Amiesbookreviews.wordpress.comFollow me on Instagram @Amiesbookreviews
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  • Dianna
    January 1, 1970
    I adore this book! The writing is lyrical and clear; the characters are believable and lovable; the historical events covered are highly relevant today; and there is a French horn, an attic full of old books, and an interrupting boy. Eleven-year-old Gusta is easy to relate to. Her life hasn't been easy, but she's figured out ways to make life work. So when she's dumped off a bus to go live with her formidable grandmother, she makes it work. When people at school aren't kind, she copes. When her I adore this book! The writing is lyrical and clear; the characters are believable and lovable; the historical events covered are highly relevant today; and there is a French horn, an attic full of old books, and an interrupting boy. Eleven-year-old Gusta is easy to relate to. Her life hasn't been easy, but she's figured out ways to make life work. So when she's dumped off a bus to go live with her formidable grandmother, she makes it work. When people at school aren't kind, she copes. When her uncle needs an expensive operation, she works to make it happen. Not all her choices are perfect—there are plenty of learning experiences here—but it's hard not to love someone who tries so hard.This book is set in pre-WWII Maine. Historical aspects touched upon include the upcoming war; union organizing; people fleeing Germany because of the events leading up to the war; and suspicion of immigrants under the guise of nationalism and security. I found it to be exceedingly relevant to events going on today, and that is one reason I am going to be strongly encouraging my eleven-year-old son to read this ASAP.Another reason I'll be encouraging him to read it is the bits about the French horn. My son plays it too, and I think he loves it as much as Gusta does. The passages that talk about how she feels when she plays it, I can see in my own son when he picks up his horn or talks about it. And the case banging against the shins: spot on! My son's biggest challenge when he started playing it last year was just carrying it around.I can't finish my review without mentioning the amazing writing surrounding Gusta getting glasses. I have never needed glasses, but reading about how she felt after getting them, I finally think I know what it would be like. I would love to see this book in the running for the Newbery. It's that good!———Content: An orphan discovers her true parentage (talk of a "mistake" made years earlier); a single pregnant woman delivers a baby and leaves it behind; a man scares a girl and rips her sweater. Ages 10+, but really, nothing in here offensive, just material for discussion.
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  • Jaina Rose
    January 1, 1970
    This review and more like it are available at Read Till Dawn .I'll be honest: I didn't really know what I was in for when I picked up The Orphan Band of Springdale, and I kind of thought it was going to be a little bit boring. I like historical fiction, but some areas (such as orphans going to live with a troubled family in a small town) have been done nearly to death by this point.I'm very happy to report, though, that The Orphan Band of Springdale avoids a lot of the pitfalls of its niche. So This review and more like it are available at Read Till Dawn .I'll be honest: I didn't really know what I was in for when I picked up The Orphan Band of Springdale, and I kind of thought it was going to be a little bit boring. I like historical fiction, but some areas (such as orphans going to live with a troubled family in a small town) have been done nearly to death by this point.I'm very happy to report, though, that The Orphan Band of Springdale avoids a lot of the pitfalls of its niche. Some of the plot devices and twists may look familiar, but the book as a whole is done in a fairly original and definitely gripping manner. It handles a lot of messy, complicated issues such as anti-German sentiment in the 1940s, the handling of sensitive family history, and the labor organization movement. All of these are done very well, I thought, and woven together very tightly and interspersed with the right amount of humor to keep things from becoming too dark for its target audience.I think my favorite thing about this book is that it works very hard to show both sides of every issue and paint the characters as complex and nuanced. There are almost no pure villains or amazing heroes in Springdale; people make their decisions out of love, out of fear, out of necessity; sometimes those decisions are good ones that improve life for everyone involved, and sometimes those decisions are bad ones which wind up hurting people around them. But they always have reasons for the choices they make, and sometimes those reasons are actually very reasonable (even if we may not like their results). For example, it's not really fair that Gusta–an innocent child–gets bullied because of her German last name, but it is true that her father is literally from Germany and WWII has already started; fears that her family might be connected to the Nazis aren't entirely unreasonable. As the granddaughter of a Swiss-German American who lost the German language which had been handed down for generations, because schoolteachers and parents decided it wasn't a good idea to let their kids speak German in the 1940s, I can mourn for the loss of cultural heritage people of German ancestry experienced during WWII–and the discrimination some, like Gusta, experienced–but I also understand that it was necessary to a certain extent. I think Nesbet does a good job walking the line between the two perspectives, showing us the atmosphere of the time and its results.The Orphan Band of Springdale is a good book, a nuanced book, and I really enjoyed reading it. It may be a bit long for some younger readers, but if they can make it through the 450 pages then I recommend it. Let me know in the comments below if you or anyone you know has read it, and give us your thoughts!Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    First sentence: Gusta Neubronner hadn't expected to be on a bus in Maine when she lost her father. She hadn't expected to be sitting alone scrunched up next to the dark blue coat of a woman she didn't know, or to have her French horn case balanced between her ankles, or for the weight of a night's worth of not sleeping to be pulling at her eyelids and making her mind slow and stupid just at the moment when she needed to be even more alert than her usual quick-brained self.Premise/plot: The Orpha First sentence: Gusta Neubronner hadn't expected to be on a bus in Maine when she lost her father. She hadn't expected to be sitting alone scrunched up next to the dark blue coat of a woman she didn't know, or to have her French horn case balanced between her ankles, or for the weight of a night's worth of not sleeping to be pulling at her eyelids and making her mind slow and stupid just at the moment when she needed to be even more alert than her usual quick-brained self.Premise/plot: The Orphan Band of Springdale is set during World War II in the months leading up to Pearl Harbor, to America officially joining the War. It's set in a small town in Maine. Nesbit does a MARVELOUS job with the setting.Gusta--or Augusta--is our heroine. She has gone to live with her grandmother. Her father has fled the country--he's being hunted down by officials who dislike his union leanings. (Remember this is when standing for 'the union' and workers' rights means being a communist). Her mother has sent her to her grandmother for safekeeping. She soon finds friends her own age--a cousin who lives near by and a houseful of foster children that her grandma is caring for. (Some are not truly orphans, just children whose parents can no longer care for them. Remember this is during the Depression.)School is school. She loves some aspects of it; not all aspects of it. There are a few SNOBS in her class that assume the worst about her, that accuse her of being an alien, of being a foreign spy, of being THE ENEMY.Gusta needs glasses. Since money is hard to come by and the need is pressing, Mr. Bertmann, the oculist offers her a deal. She'll work for him in the afternoons in exchange for her glasses. Part of her work will include taking care of pigeons.The other story has to do with 'the band.'My thoughts: The Orphan Band of Springdale is a character-driven historical novel with HEART. Some books are ALL about the journey and not the destination. Such is The Orphan Band of Springdale. (I loved spending time with Gusta and her friends Delphine, Bess, and Josie.) I loved her at home and at school. I loved her when she was trying to be brave and do the right thing. I loved her when she got into messes. I loved all the banter between the competing milk company kids. It's just a great coming-of-age story.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    I predict The Orphan Band of Springdale will be on the short list for a Newbery. This beautifully written novel for children is a timeless story that will resonate with readers of all ages. 11 year-old Augusta "Gusta" Hoopes Neubronner has been put on a bus by her foreign-born labor organizer father, August Neubronner, as he is pursued by the authorities. She does not know what has happened to him, and she must travel to Grandma Hoope's home in Springdale, Maine on her own.Grandma Hoope's also h I predict The Orphan Band of Springdale will be on the short list for a Newbery. This beautifully written novel for children is a timeless story that will resonate with readers of all ages. 11 year-old Augusta "Gusta" Hoopes Neubronner has been put on a bus by her foreign-born labor organizer father, August Neubronner, as he is pursued by the authorities. She does not know what has happened to him, and she must travel to Grandma Hoope's home in Springdale, Maine on her own.Grandma Hoope's also houses orphans and wards of the state in her home. Her mother has stayed behind in New York City. Her only companion is her beloved French horn. Gusta perseveres and overcomes many obstacles as the new kid at school, as the the prejudices and suspicions of a small town press down upon her and others, she must also learn to see the world in a new way because the school nurse finds that she desperately needs eyeglasses. Gusta keeps her spirits up by following the just and moral lessons taught to her by her parents, but learns that sometimes you need more than one person on your side when everything goes wrong. This novel is set during WWII, when suspicion was cast upon new immigrants and outsiders to our country (in this case - against German immigrants). It addresses the themes of inclusion, tolerance and acceptance of people for who they are and not where they are from. It also teaches valuable lessons about workers' rights and the labor movement. This novel also teaches readers about staying positive in order to achieve goals and overcome adversity. This novel is recommended, and I strongly feel would be a great read even for teens studying American history. It will be a valuable addition to every school library. Recommended, must read. This will win many awards.
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  • Afoma Umesi
    January 1, 1970
    The Orphan Band of Springdale, set in 1940's America, as World War II rages in Europe is Gusta Neubronner's story. Left behind by her father on a bus, eleven year old Gusta moves into her grandmother's orphanage. While there, the nearsighted, snaggletoothed girl learns about family, sacrifice and the bitter taste of prejudice. Central to Gusta's story is the French horn that is "the bravest part of her - her sweet, large, secret, brassy voice".Gusta is one of my favorite child protagonists in a The Orphan Band of Springdale, set in 1940's America, as World War II rages in Europe is Gusta Neubronner's story. Left behind by her father on a bus, eleven year old Gusta moves into her grandmother's orphanage. While there, the nearsighted, snaggletoothed girl learns about family, sacrifice and the bitter taste of prejudice. Central to Gusta's story is the French horn that is "the bravest part of her - her sweet, large, secret, brassy voice".Gusta is one of my favorite child protagonists in a long time. I was filled with tremendous admiration for the character that Nesbet has created. It is also ultimately refreshing to read a book that will simultaneously ignite in children a curiosity for history while creating awareness about prejudice. I particularly enjoyed reading how the kids dealt with discrimination and of the wonderful bond between them all. The Orphan of Springdale is powerful, necessary and very well written.If you're looking for children's fiction that is realistic and will help kids develop empathy, courage and awareness, then The Orphan Band of Springdale is highly recommended!*I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Full review at http://www.afomaumesi.com/2018/04/10/...
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  • Alisia
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a free copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review."This outstanding middle-grade historical fiction novel, set in small-town Maine during the early 1940s, tackles some big topics. Xenophobia, anti-immigration sentiment, union and labor rights organizations all play a role in the narrative that holds many parallels to modern day current events. Gusta is an 11 year old girl who is sent to live with her grandmother in Springdale, Maine, after her foreign- *I received a free copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review."This outstanding middle-grade historical fiction novel, set in small-town Maine during the early 1940s, tackles some big topics. Xenophobia, anti-immigration sentiment, union and labor rights organizations all play a role in the narrative that holds many parallels to modern day current events. Gusta is an 11 year old girl who is sent to live with her grandmother in Springdale, Maine, after her foreign-born father is forced to go on the run because of his labor organizing efforts. Her grandmother runs a children's home, and we meet a motley crew that all reside under Grandma Hoopes's roof as Gusta adjusts to her changed circumstances. Underlying this tale that is both heartwarming and powerful, is The Wish. The Wish is supposedly a magic coin that her sea-captain grandfather hid somewhere, and Gusta hopes to find it and use the wish to help her family.This is a story that teaches empathy and courage. Compassion and inclusiveness. Gusta is kind, intelligent, brave, and incredibly strong. The anti-immigrant storyline resonates today, and I could see this as an excellent book to use for an anti-bullying or diversity curriculum.
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    In 1941, eleven year old Gusta's life is turned upside down when her father disappears and her mother sends her to live in rural Maine with her grandmother and a house full of wild, fun loving orphans. Homesick as she can be, Gusta's perception of the world slowly changes as she learns to love her mother's family. She's given a pair of eyeglasses from a gentle optician with a fondness for pigeons. She gains great confidence and sees the effect of music on her community through her talent on the In 1941, eleven year old Gusta's life is turned upside down when her father disappears and her mother sends her to live in rural Maine with her grandmother and a house full of wild, fun loving orphans. Homesick as she can be, Gusta's perception of the world slowly changes as she learns to love her mother's family. She's given a pair of eyeglasses from a gentle optician with a fondness for pigeons. She gains great confidence and sees the effect of music on her community through her talent on the French horn. And she grows to own an understanding of life's harsher realities asshe faces a small community whose world is on the brink of war.A wonderful and touching book, I highly enjoyed "The Orphan Band of Springdale". The writing is personable and accessible and the characters grow close to the reader's heart. The sticky situations Gusta finds herself in are realistic and sad, and resolutions (or the lack thereof) are true to life. I can highly recommend this as great middle grade historical fiction.Thank you to @netgalley and @candlewickpress for an advanced electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. “The Orphan Band of Springdale” was published April 10th, 2018...I highly recommend a copy for the children in your life...your own personal library.
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  • Grace
    January 1, 1970
    Super enjoyable and sweet but way better than just "sweet."This book has a kind of Eleanor Estes or Penderwicks feel sometimes, centering on the pursuits and cares of children in a small town, but it's the early 1940s so the stakes are way higher than Ginger Pye. Xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment are on the rise, big business is fighting against labor organization, and Gusta's dad is on the run from the law. There is plenty of good will and kindness to stand up against the world's real dar Super enjoyable and sweet but way better than just "sweet."This book has a kind of Eleanor Estes or Penderwicks feel sometimes, centering on the pursuits and cares of children in a small town, but it's the early 1940s so the stakes are way higher than Ginger Pye. Xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment are on the rise, big business is fighting against labor organization, and Gusta's dad is on the run from the law. There is plenty of good will and kindness to stand up against the world's real darkness, and the characters are great and genuine.
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  • Mary Lee
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a very slow read for me, but slow in a savor-every-word way. After I've thought about it some more, I'll likely switch it up to 5 stars. One of my favorite things about the book is how Gusta sees the world after she gets her glasses. That's kind of what the whole book is about -- seeing things more clearly. Not making assumptions. Being brave and telling the truth as you see it.
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Although I'm not typically a historical fiction reader, The Orphan Band of Springdale had so many of the elements that typically pique my interest, a girl who plays a musical instrument, set during the early parts of WWII and hints of a secret magical wish. What I was surprised with was the messaging that included wealth inequality, foreigner's being seen as "other," and how some German's during this time period were the subject of suspicion and discrimination. Other subjects included the import Although I'm not typically a historical fiction reader, The Orphan Band of Springdale had so many of the elements that typically pique my interest, a girl who plays a musical instrument, set during the early parts of WWII and hints of a secret magical wish. What I was surprised with was the messaging that included wealth inequality, foreigner's being seen as "other," and how some German's during this time period were the subject of suspicion and discrimination. Other subjects included the importance of unions in the US to protect people like Gusta's Uncle and mention of how the rising tensions and the War in Europe led to the enactment of the Smith Act or Alien Registration Act. Nesbet wonderfully utilizes her character of Molly as a springboard to show how Molly's claims of patriotism, nationalism, and trying to protect the people of Springdale by calling out Gusta and George as being "unamerican" are misguided, judgemental and wrong. How past events such as the ones in the story correlate to events sadly occurring even today. It's an interesting look at this time period from a child's perspective and captures the feeling and emotions of wanting to fit in, the loneliness of being without your family, fear for your father's safety in a place where you're seen as "foreign," while at the same time being hopeful and filled with lots of heart. Highly recommend, I can just imagine all the classroom discussions that could be had, please have a teachers guide. But not to be missed is the author's note where Nesbet explains the inspiration for the story and the research she performed to get the local and historical details of Gusta's town just right. Favorite Line: "A plan was what would tell your feet where to go and your hands what to do when you got there."
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    Anne Nesbet has written a masterpiece This is the second book of Anne Nesbet’s I’ve read, the other being ‘Cloud and Wallfish’. Neither failed me anywhere. ‘The Orphan Band of Springdale’ is top-rung writing and I recommend it to anyone of any age to read.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Candlewick previewed this as a follow-up book from noted author of Cloud and Wallfish; described as mystery/adventure story pre-WWII at a time when "patriotism often served as a cover for prejudice."
  • Sarah Perchikoff
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book. The year in the synopsis (1941) threw me off and I went into this book thinking World War II and the Holocaust and after the last book I read (and reviewed), I was not looking forward to that. But luckily, while The Orphan Band of Springdale definitely has its sad moments, it is, at its heart, an uplifting, lovely story. Gusta is such a sweet, curious character that it is kind of impossible not to fall in love with her. But before I get too car I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book. The year in the synopsis (1941) threw me off and I went into this book thinking World War II and the Holocaust and after the last book I read (and reviewed), I was not looking forward to that. But luckily, while The Orphan Band of Springdale definitely has its sad moments, it is, at its heart, an uplifting, lovely story. Gusta is such a sweet, curious character that it is kind of impossible not to fall in love with her. But before I get too carried away, let's get to the review!Synopsis (from Goodreads):It’s 1941, and tensions are rising in the United States as the Second World War rages in Europe. Eleven-year-old Gusta’s life, like the world around her, is about to change. Her father, a foreign-born labor organizer, has had to flee the country, and Gusta has been sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother. Nearsighted, snaggletoothed Gusta arrives in Springdale, Maine, lugging her one precious possession: a beloved old French horn, her sole memento of her father. But in a family that’s long on troubles and short on money, how can a girl hang on to something so valuable and yet so useless when Gusta’s mill-worker uncle needs surgery to fix his mangled hand, with no union to help him pay? Inspired by her mother’s fanciful stories, Gusta secretly hopes to find the coin-like “Wish” that her sea-captain grandfather supposedly left hidden somewhere. Meanwhile, even as Gusta gets to know the rambunctious orphans at the home, she feels like an outsider at her new school — and finds herself facing patriotism turned to prejudice, alien registration drives, and a family secret likely to turn the small town upside down.Gusta Neubronner is the daughter of a labor organizer father and a storytelling mother. But times are tough for her family. Her father is on the run and her mother must stay in New York to make a living. So, Gusta has to go off to live with her grandmother who she's barely met. Her father puts her on a bus by herself and she figures out her way to her Gramma Hoope's house (I would have been lost in a minute). What Gusta finds once she gets to her grandmother's house is quite unexpected. Her grandmother opens her home to children who have nowhere else to go. Gusta. being an only child, starts off overwhelmed but soon becomes acquainted with how the house works and makes friends with Josie (who we later find out a huge secret about. NO SPOILERS) and her cousin, Bess, who lives down the road. Oh, and I almost forgot, the whole trip to her grandmother's Gusta is carrying her french horn. It is Gusta's one love in life ( besides her parents, of course). She loves the sounds it makes and the songs she can play that her father taught her. Gusta (hilariously) plays union and labor songs. Gusta does all she can to not lose her horn. She is a truly amazing character.Once Gusta starts going to school, she soon finds out the blurry vision she has gotten used to over the years can be fixed. But, because Gramma Hoopes cannot afford the glasses she needs, Gusta must work for the eye doctor, Mr. Bertramm. Gusta is pretty damn good at math, so she does his books. The scene where Gusta tries on her glasses for the first time is definitely one of my favorites. She'd gotten so used to everything being blurry that once she can see clearly she starts to see things in a different light. Some things are too harsh that she ends up having to look away or take her glasses off. Even though we don't see much interaction between Gusta and her father, it is still shown that Gusta admires and is close to her father. She plays the songs he taught her, tells people things he told her, and spouts off his ideas to the people in town when she sees things are being done wrong. No joke, she tells Mr. Bertramm that he needs to pay her more because her father told her about the minimum wage (another one of my favorite scenes). Even though she doesn't see her father for the span of the book, he still has a presence because of Gusta and her memories of him.Gusta and her mother are also close but in a different way. Where her father tells her about the ways of life, her mother tells her stories and helps engage Gusta's imagination (to her father's chagrin). Gusta's mother also visits her eventually at Gramma Hoope's house which allows them to bond even further. Let's get to the title. Gusta, Josie, and Bess decide to form a band to enter in the competition at the local fair. Josie comes up with the name because she thinks she's an orphan, Gusta doesn't have her parents at the moment, and Bess has only her dad. So, to Josie's logic, that makes them the Springdale Honorary Orphan Band. Josie sings, Gusta plays her French horn, and Bess shakes a jar of dried beans (this would be my instrument as well lol). They perform a couple times throughout the book and, at least in my head, are the cutest thing ever!One final piece of this book that is important to know is the relationship between Gusta and wishes. When she finds out she's going to her Gramma Hoope's house, she remembers a story her mother used to tell her about her grandfather. He sailed to all kinds of places and on one excursion he found a bunch of coins. When you wish for something on one of the coins, your wish comes true. Well, Gusta could use some wishes, so she makes it her mission to find one in her grandmother's house. You'll have to read the book to discover if she's successful or not.I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Anne Nesbet writes the voice of 11-year-old Gusta perfectly. Writing in a realistic child's voice is incredibly difficult but Nesbet seemed to do it effortlessly. The tiny details Gusta notices (the dogs in her classroom, the trees on her way to the lighthouse, the bats, etc,) are really what brought her to life for me. I also enjoyed anytime Gusta quoted something her father said or did. I have a union/labor father and some of the songs and ideas sounded too familiar. Overall, the writing and the characters in this story are very enjoyable. I'm giving The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet 4 out of 5 stars.The Orphan Band of Springdale came out April 10, 2018.Thank you, NetGalley and Candlewick Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Laura Hill
    January 1, 1970
    Writing: 5 Characters: 5 Plot: 4Children's fiction -- middle gradeNew (to me) word: hibernaculum — a place in which a creature seeks refuge, such as a bear using a cave to overwinter.I loved this book — a perfect middle school read!Gusta Newbronner “loses” her father on the bus ride from NYC to Northern Maine. She will be staying with the grandmother she has never met and living in Grandma Hoopes’ orphan home. The time is 1941 and there is general tension around foreigners. The tension is even h Writing: 5 Characters: 5 Plot: 4Children's fiction -- middle gradeNew (to me) word: hibernaculum — a place in which a creature seeks refuge, such as a bear using a cave to overwinter.I loved this book — a perfect middle school read!Gusta Newbronner “loses” her father on the bus ride from NYC to Northern Maine. She will be staying with the grandmother she has never met and living in Grandma Hoopes’ orphan home. The time is 1941 and there is general tension around foreigners. The tension is even higher around Gusta’s father who is not only a foreigner, but a union organizer as well. While Gusta sees her father as brave, courageous, principled, and fighting injustice, others see him simply as a foreign fugitive.The story is full of real and (to me) lovable characters — her grandmother and aunt, the various children staying in the orphan home, new found cousins, and even the two children who represent opposing sides in “the Dairy Wars” in her classroom. Originally shy and unassuming, Gusta comes into her own as she learns to stand up for what she believes in and to fight injustice in whatever way she can. In the meantime she is making friends, getting to know her family and joining the Honorary Orphan Band (playing the French Horn — she appears to be a bit of a prodigy).The writing is excellent. In addition to delightful language (see examples below), we are treated to intriguing descriptions of the process of egg cleaning (far more unpleasant than I would have ever guessed), the thrill of playing the French Horn, oculism in the 40s, pigeon photography (as in they are trained to take the photos), and magical stories from Gusta’s great-grandfather, the sea captain. I absolutely loved the description of what it was like for Gusta to see clearly for the first time when she was able to get glasses. Masterfully done.The novel has that genuine feel of a true story — unsurprising as it is a fictionalized account of the author’s mother’s life, supported with extensive research using the local paper archives. I would add this to any middle grade reading list.Some of my favorite lines…“The winter must have been picking at the scabs of that road for months.”“Gusta’s mother was omnivorous when it came to words”“For a moment, Gusta stood there, just saving the feeling of having someone in the world who was already glad today about seeing her tomorrow.”“And the heaviness inside Gusta, where all the secrets festered, thickened and increased.”“She knew from stories that wishes wriggle and cheat — if they even exist at all.”“It was like she coated all her meanness with a hard-sugar layer of wholehearted sincerity.”“Georges made the happy sound of someone who has just become a part of the great unfolding history of pigeon photography.”
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  • Sunday Cummins
    January 1, 1970
    “When the storm is coming, we must quickly find out who we are: who we are in the light of trouble.”—Augusta’s father.I didn't want to put it down. This is the kind of book you can read aloud to a class or give to a literature circle or book talk and leave to be snapped up in the classroom library. Augusta Neubronner, who travels alone to Maine to find her grandmother, is the type of character your students will want to meet and know…forever. Each chapter felt like a surprise or a treat in itsel “When the storm is coming, we must quickly find out who we are: who we are in the light of trouble.”—Augusta’s father.I didn't want to put it down. This is the kind of book you can read aloud to a class or give to a literature circle or book talk and leave to be snapped up in the classroom library. Augusta Neubronner, who travels alone to Maine to find her grandmother, is the type of character your students will want to meet and know…forever. Each chapter felt like a surprise or a treat in itself with an introduction to a new, unusual character or unexpected twists in the plot. There are threads, though...that become running themes in the book worthy of discussion. What does it mean to be a 'real American'? The book takes place in 1941 and there are young characters who debate what it means to be a 'Real American.' (You can tell they are repeating what they have heard at home.) There's a patriotic essay contest. There's the 'alien registration list' that some in the community are required to sign. And so forth.Where do we get our information? Are we truly informed? Have we considered all sides? What do we not know? There are two children in Augusta's class from different dairy farming families. This is the initial "whose side are you on" dichotomy presented, but then other situations emerge where the reader or the characters want to take sides that seem simple at first...until the author reveals more of the details. Then "taking sides" gets messy. What is a wish? Are wishes real? There is a fantastical aspect to this book--well, I won't give this away except to say wishes are REAL and drive what we do and believe in so many ways.How can “a plan” be "almost as good as courage"? Early in the book, when Augusta has been left to travel alone to her grandmother’s house, she recalls bits of wisdom her father has shared over and over again including the quote at the beginning of this review. “In war and struggle, we do what we must.” “Stand tall and look like you know what you’re about!” (Her father is a labor movement organizer wanted by the federal government.) These provide strength for Augusta as she makes her way into a new life. She doesn’t always stand tall, though. She falls, she gets knocked down, she wearies as she carries the various burdens and yet she always returns to striving.I could write more. I didn’t want this book to end. Nesbet’s writing is superb. I started marking pages with slips of paper and kept thinking “Newbery Newbery Newbery.”
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    I was excited to receive this ARC from Candlewick Press by Anne Nesbet because I adored another book by her, "Cloud and Wallfish". Happy Book Birthday to Anne on April 10th for this book, another one set long ago, this time pre-World War II. It's time to celebrate! Again I love Nesbit's style, including so many details in this story of eleven-year-old Gusta’s life whose life is about change just like the world around her. We readers learn her thoughts, see characters that surround Gusta in depth I was excited to receive this ARC from Candlewick Press by Anne Nesbet because I adored another book by her, "Cloud and Wallfish". Happy Book Birthday to Anne on April 10th for this book, another one set long ago, this time pre-World War II. It's time to celebrate! Again I love Nesbit's style, including so many details in this story of eleven-year-old Gusta’s life whose life is about change just like the world around her. We readers learn her thoughts, see characters that surround Gusta in depth, and learn much of that Maine community, family and neighbors, the countryside itself with poetic descriptions. Her father, a foreign-born labor organizer, has had to flee the country, and Gusta has been sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother. Nearsighted, snaggletoothed Gusta arrives in Springdale, Maine, lugging her one precious possession: a beloved old French horn, a memento of her father. Though Gusta is thought to be quiet and shy, as the story moves, we see too that she has brought along her father's words of advice which strengthen her resolve to do the right thing. He calls her "my little thingling" and in a talk about preparing for a coming storm, Gusta says to "Borrow umbrellas! Button up our coats! Run inside and close the door!" Her father replies with a more serious idea: to discover "who we are in the light of trouble." and after more conversation, "But can you be sure you will stay yourself, Gusta, when the wind is howling?" The plot continues to be revealed and shows Gusta's strong resolve, backed by her father's words, friends and family who always support her. Nesbet weaves fascinating parts into this "orphan band" story. In her new family Gusta remembers her mother’s fanciful stories, and secretly hopes to find the coin-like “Wish” that her sea-captain grandfather supposedly left hidden somewhere. There are challenges within the household, more at school as she faces the new words appearing in town about registering aliens, especially those with a German background. It seems that no matter what she does, she remains an outsider at her new school within her classroom and in her interactions with a high school music teacher. Sound complicated? That's Gusta's life, more challenges than one might wish for an eleven-year-old. But you will love the story, touching history that connects to today's conflicts, too. She is a young girl who takes a deep breath and steps up no matter how frightened.
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  • Dawna Richardson
    January 1, 1970
    I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. (Unfortunately I actually received the copy after the book had been published so I was not able to review it prior to publication. However, I am happy that I found the title on Netgalley so I was able to read it!)The Orphan Band of Springdale is classified as a Children’s book, directed toward middle school aged children. The cast of characters fits this classification as the central character is Gusta, a girl in Grade 5 w I received a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. (Unfortunately I actually received the copy after the book had been published so I was not able to review it prior to publication. However, I am happy that I found the title on Netgalley so I was able to read it!)The Orphan Band of Springdale is classified as a Children’s book, directed toward middle school aged children. The cast of characters fits this classification as the central character is Gusta, a girl in Grade 5 who is uprooted from her home in New York and deposited on her own at her grandmother’s home for children in Springdale Maine. She arrives with little more than a small battered suitcase and a French Horn that keeps bruising her legs while she carries it. But this horn is her ‘voice’ and is her most precious possession.The year is 1941 and while the war has been raging in year for a couple of years, it is starting to affect the United States as well. Gusta’s last name is Neubronner, and the German connection only leads to the suspicion. It doesn’t help that her father is a union organizer who has been causing grief and is so on the run from authorities.Gusta’s grandmother is a no nonsense woman who has kept together her home for children through hard work and a lot of jam making. The jam making has paid off with many Blue Ribbons from the local fair. She has little time for music or frivolity and when Gusta and a couple of the other girls at the home start to play and sing, Gramma Hoopes shuts them down. But that’s where Josie hatches the plan for the Springdale Orphan Band—because if they can enter the fair and win even a Reb Ribbon then they could be real—as real as jam! Through all of this, Gusta does her best to fit in while remembering her father’s teaching that she has to stand up for what is right while still keeping in mind her mother’s love for fairy tales and the possibilities of Wishes being granted. Wishes can be sneaky, though, so it is important to look out for any loopholes that can negate what is being wished for!This book is well written. The characters come to life through struggle, relationships and overall, a desire to do what is right while navigating the obstacles the world throws at them. Definitely recommended for middle school or anyone who enjoys a good story with well written characters.
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  • Mithila Menezes
    January 1, 1970
    This book is set in 1941, at the cusp of the Second World War.The story starts with eleven year old 'Gusta' or Augusta Neubronner being abandoned by her father, who is a foreign-born labour organiser, at a bus station. Augusta boards the bus, without her father, to an orphanage run by her grandmother. Why? August has to flee the country, as "Germans" were not welcome in USA and he dreams of seeking refuge in Canada. And a safer future for his daughter by dispatching her to her grandmother's orph This book is set in 1941, at the cusp of the Second World War.The story starts with eleven year old 'Gusta' or Augusta Neubronner being abandoned by her father, who is a foreign-born labour organiser, at a bus station. Augusta boards the bus, without her father, to an orphanage run by her grandmother. Why? August has to flee the country, as "Germans" were not welcome in USA and he dreams of seeking refuge in Canada. And a safer future for his daughter by dispatching her to her grandmother's orphanage. Gusta reaches this orphanage, blind with myopia (literally), with her meagre possessions and a French horn, the sole memento of her father. She is quite skilled at playing it, and her talent is even recognised by a high school music teacher, Ms. Kendall. However, Gusta doesn't really 'enjoy' playing this expensive musical instrument, as the constant thought of 'how the horn could be sold off to get some money that could solve real-life problems like fixing her uncle's mangled hand' troubles her. She is too young to make that sacrifice without a drop of hesitation, yet mature enough to understand that she may have to sell it off someday, and be deprived of the only connection she has with her father.Gusta also has another option: find the fabled, coin-like 'Wish' and make a wish. Gusta, while simultaneously managing her schoolwork and household work, tries her best to search for this 'Wish'. As time passes without Gusta locating the magical coin, the many problems that the singular 'Wish' has to solve keep on multiplying. Will she find her Wish? What will she wish for? Will she choose the safety of her father over the health of her uncle, or the health of her uncle over the happiness of her fellow orphan and friend Josie, or Josie's happiness over her own happiness? What if she never finds the Wish? What if she finds the Wish and wastes it?It's a tough position to be in at the age of eleven. Which is why this beautiful story of hope, empathy, family, friendship, companionship is one I urge you to read.Check out my entire review of "The Orphan Band of Springdale" by Anne Nesbet on my blog:
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  • Kristie
    January 1, 1970
    Review originally posted on www. YABookscentral.comThe year is 1941, and Gusta and her father board a bus to make their way to Springdale, Maine so that Gusta can spend time with her grandmother--and then Gusta's father, August Neubronner, disappears just as men search the bus looking for a fugitive. That fugitive is Gusta's Papa.Gusta manages the bus trip on her own, and upon being deposited in Springdale she finds her grandmother's home where Gusta is the latest of the foster children to be we Review originally posted on www. YABookscentral.comThe year is 1941, and Gusta and her father board a bus to make their way to Springdale, Maine so that Gusta can spend time with her grandmother--and then Gusta's father, August Neubronner, disappears just as men search the bus looking for a fugitive. That fugitive is Gusta's Papa.Gusta manages the bus trip on her own, and upon being deposited in Springdale she finds her grandmother's home where Gusta is the latest of the foster children to be welcomed by Mrs. Hoopes and her daughter Marion.THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE by Anne Nesbet follows this sweet, strong girl through her fifth-grade school year in a new town. Fortunately, Gusta is accustomed to new schools; her parents have kept her moving as they left homes due to lack of funds or traveled to new places as August Neubronner fought to organize workers for the union. Gusta has picked up her father's strong sense of right and wrong, and she draws on her memories of him as she navigates all the trials that come with being a new kid, being someone with an "un-American" name, and finding that she has family members who she wants to help.Through false accusations, pre-World War II prejudices, and life's smaller hurts, Gusta finds the value in family, friendships, and wishes. Anne Nesbet manages to tie a lot into this lovely book, and the narrative keeps moving at a good pace. Along with the fantastic main character, Gusta, I especially enjoyed the writing in this book. Nesbet drops little bits of wisdom and beauty throughout THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE, and she does so with elegant language that doesn't get in the way of the pacing. Looking at a time in history that doesn't always show up in children's literature is another plus... in fact, there are so many plusses to this book, their hard to fit into one small review!I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages. My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from NetgalleyGusta Neubronner is on a bus from New York City to a small town in Maine in 1941 when her father disappears. He is a union organizer, and has told Gusta a little bit about what to do if men come for him, but she just didn't expect it. At least she is on her way to her grandmother's house, and manages to arrive without other incidents. Her grandmother runs an odd sort of orphanage, so there is plenty of room for Gusta. She settles in to school, gets to know her cousin, and fin E ARC from NetgalleyGusta Neubronner is on a bus from New York City to a small town in Maine in 1941 when her father disappears. He is a union organizer, and has told Gusta a little bit about what to do if men come for him, but she just didn't expect it. At least she is on her way to her grandmother's house, and manages to arrive without other incidents. Her grandmother runs an odd sort of orphanage, so there is plenty of room for Gusta. She settles in to school, gets to know her cousin, and finally gets a much needed pair of eyeglasses. In order to pay for the glasses, she helps a German optometrist who keeps pigeons. As WWII heats up, everyone comes under suspicion, especially the optometrist and Gusta, who is unable to furnish a birth certificate to the school. Gusta plays the French Horn, and is glad to be approached by the high school band, but when her uncle needs an operation to repair damage done by the looms at his work, she sells the instrument to help pay for it. She also writes to a labor organizer in New York who worked with her father, hoping to get some representation for the uncle's case. Long held family secrets emerge, and eventually Gusta is able to make sense of her world. Strengths: I am constantly fascinated by books involving Germans in the US during WWII, but aside from A Tiny Piece of Sky and Bunting's Spying on Miss Muller (1995), there aren't that many. This Nesbet's own mother's story, and the love that goes into the details is very evident. I would have adored this one as a child. Weaknesses: A bit long (448 pages) for my students. The biggest reason WWII books circulate is for an 8th grade unit, and this could have had a few more details about life on the home front. What I really think: May purchase this one if I have the money remaining to do so. This author's Cabinet of Earths and Cloud and Wallfish don't circulate particularly well. Again, perfectly fine book, and it may be great for your library.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    I was a little worried when I first started this book. I picked it up only because I've read Nesbet's other books--the fantasy ones. If a book doesn't have magic in it, then I probably won't be that interested. So when I first started reading, not having done any research or even having read the book description, I was feeling rather let down. Oh no, I thought, it's not a fantasy book. And worse, it's historical. Again, not my favorite genre. I read a couple chapters and put it down. But then, f I was a little worried when I first started this book. I picked it up only because I've read Nesbet's other books--the fantasy ones. If a book doesn't have magic in it, then I probably won't be that interested. So when I first started reading, not having done any research or even having read the book description, I was feeling rather let down. Oh no, I thought, it's not a fantasy book. And worse, it's historical. Again, not my favorite genre. I read a couple chapters and put it down. But then, feeling like I just needed to read well-crafted words, (and Nesbet really does put words together in a wonderful way) I picked it up again.To my great delight, I discovered the book does contain magic. Not the wand-waving, spellcasting variety, but the kind that actually takes place everyday in real life but so often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. The kind of magic that one needs to be reminded does still exist, despite what certain current events might lead you to believe. The real magic of kindness and hope in times of injustice and mounting anxiety. Honestly, this book was like a salve to my frayed and careworn soul. It was good to imagine a world again where a little human decency is all it takes to expose and cow irrational prejudice and self-interested lies. I often look around and wonder what happened to good old common sense? Where your neighbor is more important than what some far-off political ideologue is telling you to think. This book has at least reassured me that I am not alone in hoping that the world hasn't gone completely mad. We can weather the storm without always agreeing and without tearing apart our families and communities. And I shouldn't forget to mention that it was just a plain good story. Which is no simple task and not a compliment I hand out lightly.Thank you, Anne (with an e).
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