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The Orphan Band of Springdale

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  228 ratings  ·  106 reviews
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 foreig
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Candlewick Press (MA)
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[Shai] Bibliophage
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Orphan Band of Springdale is a middle-grade fiction novel that was narrated through the lead protagonist, Augusta “Gusta” Neubronner, an eleven-year-old from New York who was sent by her parents to her grandmother in Elm Street, Springdale, Maine. Her father was supposed to accompany her on the journey, but he suddenly vanished when they were on a bus in Portland. Gusta’s father is a labor organizer, thus the authorities were trying to capture him. Aside from this, his father is from a Ger ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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
Jessica Lawson
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Alyssa Nelson
*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
Shelby M. (Read and Find Out)
I received a finished copy of this book for review from Candlewick Press. My Video Review

Oh 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
Vikki VanSickle
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 ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
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
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books, netgalley
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
Amie's Book Reviews
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Gusta and her dad, a labor organizer, are on a bus traveling from New York to Springdale, Maine together. Her father unexpectedly disappears and Gusta must finish the journey alone. With her cherished French horn and a letter to her grandmother from her mother, when the bus arrives in Springdale, Gusta trudges through the cold weather to her Grandmother's orphanage.

This is a fine, well-written historical fiction for middle grade kids. Gusta has so many fine qualities. She bravely relocates to a
Jaina Rose
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Afoma Umesi
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*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-
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 ...more
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: very-much-yes
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
Mary Lee
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Lindy MacLaine
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reads with the power, depth, and intensity of a story very close to its author's heart.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Set in 1942, this is a story about a young girl who moves in with her grandmother because her parents are in trouble. She doesn’t quite fit in, having a German name on the verge of WWII, needing glasses, and coming from a poor family. I found the storytelling to be well done. Though the book was longer than necessary, and my main issue was the fact that there were a lot of subplots to keep track of. Also, the idea of unionizing and connections to socialism were too heavy for a middle grade read. ...more
Oct 19, 2017 added it
Shelves: candlewick
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."
Ms. Yingling
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
E ARC from Netgalley

Gusta 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
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Note: I received this book from the author/publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This had a lot of elements 10-year-old me would have just eaten up: 1940's setting (loved me some WWII fiction), orphans, and a slightly quieter/reserved main character. In fact, if nothing else, I appreciate the fact that this story didn't focus on a loud, bubbly character- younger me would have relished and been excited to see a character like Gusta. So maybe this is a case of "wrong place, wron
Fatima Alsuwaidi
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

*I've received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest book review*

Eleven-years-old Gusta finds her self-solo in a bus heading to her grandmother's orphanage while her mother is working in NewYork, her father a labor organizer is on the run and WWII is about to explode.
She's in a new town and couldn't be more of an outsider in both school and her grandmother's house but alongside her is her most prized possession her French Horn. She formes a
Sarah Perchikoff
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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