The Orphan Band of Springdale

by Anne Nesbet

In spring, 1941, Augusta (Gusta) Hoopes Neubronner arrives in Springdale, Maine,... read more

In spring, 1941, Augusta (Gusta) Hoopes Neubronner arrives in Springdale, Maine, with a battered French horn and the hope of finding a long-lost wishing coin. Her mother is working in New York City. Her father, a German immigrant, is on the run from authorities for his work as a labor organizer. Gusta’s Grandmother Hoopes runs an orphanage, and Gusta is deemed an honorary orphan by Josie, 14, the welcoming and unfailingly upbeat oldest among her charges. While some find Gusta’s German last name suspicious given the war in Europe, at home, at school, and in the community she earns the respect and affection of many, including the town occulist, another German immigrant, who gives her a job so she can work off the cost of spectacles that radically alter—and improve—her vision. When Josie, Gusta, and Gusta’s cousin Bess form a band, it gives Gusta reason not to sell her beloved French horn, which she’s been considering. Gusta hasn’t found the wishing coin, and the horn might bring enough money to pay for surgery Bess’s papa needs after a mill accident. All her hopes come crashing down before everything works out fine in this warm, heartfelt work of historical fiction full of period details that give it both veracity and charm. (Ages 8–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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