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The Orphan Band of Springdale

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  416 ratings  ·  148 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 G ...more
3.75 stars

I had high expectations for this book, after reading Cloud and Wallfish by this author I was expecting something good. This started as a five star read, slowed in the middle to a 3 star and picked up towards the end. The author's end note was lovely.

Augusta Newbronner finds herself at her Grandmother's home for orphans, her mother is working away and (view spoiler). Her father is what would be called a trade unionist in the UK, th
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
Aj Sterkel
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Likes: I adored this book. It’s well-written, and I appreciate the skill that went into crafting it. There are a lot of different threads in this story. The plot goes in a thousand directions, but the author manages to pull it all together in the end. I’m impressed. Since there’s so much going on, this novel could have easily become a confusing mess.

Even though this is historical fiction, it’s timely. It’s one of those historical books that demonstrate how history never dies. In the US, we’re st
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are so many layers to this story, I am not sure where to start.

About half way through, I was really getting annoyed at all the adults in this story - to the point of "hating" her father who is a Fugitive, her mother for letting her be sent to Maine, with her Grumpy Grandmother, and the school officials who treated 11 year old Augusta (Gusta for short) Neubronner like she was contaminated, due to her German name from her father. Of course, this is in days preceding the United States being d
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
Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
Try as I might, I can't think of another middle grade novel set in the 1940s that deals with labor organization in America. That is just the beginning of issues tackled in this book and all are handled well. This will make an especially good choice for budding history buffs.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for honest feedback.
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
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
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
Samama Reza
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was so sad to say goodbye to all the characters I became good friends with in The Orphanband of Springdale. There were so many unforgettable little personalities in this book that I’m sure I’ll miss.

In 1941, Augusta Neubronner gets sent to Springdale, Maine, to her grandmother’s orphan home because life was getting tough in New York. With a father who’s missing and is being looked for as a fugitive by the police and a mother who’s still far away in New York, life gets tricky for the 11 year ou
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
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
Belles Middle Grade Library
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I finished this last night, & wow. This book had my emotions all over the place:happy, sad, mad, frustrated, worried, relieved, shock, love, empathy, & love love love. This book was amazing. It’s 1941 & people hate the unions & people trying to strengthen them, & they are scared of ALL Germans. There are different Germans in this story, & all their stories are different. The thing they have in common though is they aren’t wanted anywhere. If the US sends them back to Germany, they will be k ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“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
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
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
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
Alex  Baugh
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's 1941 and Augusta "Gusta" Hoopes Neubronner, 11, is on a bus traveling with her French horn from New York City to Springdale, Maine by herself. She wasn't always by herself, but she had to leave her parents for financial reasons and go to live with her grandmother in Maine. Gusta's mother had remained in NYC working. Her German-born father had traveled with her until he had to abruptly get off the bus in Portland, Maine when two men boarded looking for him. Gusta's father is a union organize ...more
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
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
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Set in world war II setting, this beautiful story started when Gusta had been abandoned by her father in a train toward Maine, where her grandmother lived. Her father was a Germany, and became a fugitive because all the politic he's been through. So Gusta being all alone went to a new place.

I love Gusta's character, she was good, brave, and talented little lady. And I love another characters too like Josie, Bess, grandma Hoopes, Mr. Bertmann. They all are so sweet and sometimes making me tear u
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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