Title: THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE
Author: ANNE NESBET
Genre: MIDDLE GRADE FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION
Length: 448 PAGES
Publisher: CANDLEWICK PRESS
Type of Book: SOFTCOVER ARC
Received From: THE PUBLISHER
Release Date: APRIL 2018
Price: $17.99 USD / $23.99 CDN
** Also Available as an e-book and in audiobook from Candlewick on Brilliance Audio **
Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
When eleven-year-old Augusta Neubronner arrives at her grandmother’s orphanage in Maine with little more than her French horn and all that’s left of a broken wish, she steps right into what her German-born papa (now a fugitive from the law) likes to call “the clear light of trouble.”
With World War II on the horizon, Gusta has to confront classmates’ suspicions and the local mill owner’s greed. And when she blunders into family secrets, Gusta must try her best to put things right. Sometimes it takes a whole Orphan Band to help a girl find her place and her voice.
Acclaimed author Anne Nesbet deftly combines music, family, history, and a hint of magic in this unforgettable read.
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
* Injured Workers
* Government & health
* Money and lack of it
* German in the USA
* Dairy Wars
* Purity – of milk and of birth
* Family loyalty
* The value of historic writings – such as the sketchbook and journal from the sea captain found in the attic by Gusta
* Changes in technology from 1941 to present day
* Unplanned Pregnancies
* 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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Her books have received starred reviews and have been selected for the Kids’ Indie Next List, Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best list, and the Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year list.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links:
Other Books by Anne Nesbet:
This book is one of my contributions to the #2018AtoZChallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS
The idea of the challenge is to read at least one book whose title starts with each letter of the alphabet, so that by the end of 2018 (at the latest) I will have read at least one book for every letter of the alphabet.
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