The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet
Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763688042
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Gusta loved the golden sound of her horn, the way the notes could make you ring like a bell, from your hair bow to your toes. Its music was so large and grand. She was quiet by nature, but the horn was the bravest part of her her sweet, large, secret, brassy voice.
Throughout the book Gusta (Augusta) develops as a strong leading female character. She lives in New York with her mother. Her German father is wanted by the law with the threat of World War 2 looming on the horizon. Gusta finds herself being uprooted and sent to live with her grandmother and aunt who own an orphanage. She is continually trying to make everyone around her happy and only truly feels at ease when she is playing her horn. Gusta is surrounded by children of varying ages from all different walks of lives and develops a special bond with her cousin Bess. Throughout the story, she has to make some incredibly hard decisions that even an adult would find challenging. Gusta is determined to find the wish that her great grandfather who was a sailor left behind. This allows for a thread of magic to be interlaced throughout the story.
Themes such as justice, fairness, loyalty and friendship are discussed. It was interesting to read the author's notes at the end of the book that this was based on Nesbet's own mother's life.
This book is suitable for children 10 and up. A must have for the collection.