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Nobody's Daughter

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This young adult novel realistically depicts the life of an orphan at the beginning of the 20th century & will help young readers consider the issue of homelessness today. 11-year-old Emily Lathrop Hasbrouck is all alone. When she is sent to live at the Austen Home for Orphaned Girls, she is told to lower her expectations. Then a chance meeting with the town librarian gives Emily the opportunity to change her life. When tragedy occurs, Emily realizes that not only do blood ...
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1996 Trade paperback Fine. No dust jacket as issued. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 160 p. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Overview

This young adult novel realistically depicts the life of an orphan at the beginning of the 20th century & will help young readers consider the issue of homelessness today. 11-year-old Emily Lathrop Hasbrouck is all alone. When she is sent to live at the Austen Home for Orphaned Girls, she is told to lower her expectations. Then a chance meeting with the town librarian gives Emily the opportunity to change her life. When tragedy occurs, Emily realizes that not only do blood ties count, but courage & honesty do too.

In 1913 when she is sent to the Austen Home for Orphaned Girls, eleven-year-old Emily copes with her difficult circumstances with the help of the town librarian and the hope of finding her younger sister.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Orphaned at an early age and grudgingly taken in by a great-aunt, 11-year-old Emily is packed off to the Austen Home for Orphaned Girls after her great-aunt dies without providing for her. The institution is a benign one, she is told, compared with the rough-and-tumble city asylums, snobbishly described as holding pens for ``ruffians, immigrants [and] the poorest of the poor.'' Once at the Austen Home, Emily steels herself to endure such degradations as having her braids cut off (``So many girls come to us with head lice....'') and the torments of a gang of schoolmates, all daughters of the New England mill town's most prominent citizens. But Emily also forges firm friendships with two fellow orphans and with the spunky, free-thinking local librarian, who even drives a newfangled automobile. A cruel sequence of events soon shatters Emily's few hopes, showing her-and the reader-the extent of the upstanding citzenry's prejudice against the disenfranchised. Though some characters are so diabolically nasty they defy belief, others, such as the Austen Home's easily cowed director, are a convincing mix of good intentions and ordinary frailty. The happy, ultimately hopeful ending does not diminish the impact of Pfeffer's compassionate exploration of what happens to those who fall between the cracks. A wrenching story. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Emily's mother has died in childbirth and several years later, her father dies of drink and a broken heart. Emily is taken in by a moralistic, righteous, and selfish great-aunt who treats her more like a servant than family. Disadvantaged by the prejudices of her turn-of-the century world and her dismal growing up, Emily is not surprised at age eleven when the aunt she's cared for until her death gives all her money to a church and she is sent away to live at an home for orphaned girls. Pfeffer's descriptions of life for this poor girl may surprise middle grade readers. On the surface and by today's standards, Emily is culpable and naïve; however, when viewed in context, her feelings are understandable and pitiable. Emily has been trained to believe all that her father was no good, that orphans must turn the other cheek when harassed by town girls, that judgments of her elders must be patiently borne, and that she has no right to a relationship with the sister she suddenly discovers exists. Pfeffer alleviates this despair and gives Emily another perspective by providing characters of comfort: a kindly librarian, Miss Alice and her mother. This liberated mother and daughter see her many talents and the injustice of her world. They open up her narrow vision to see that she has as much right as others to a good life, and most importantly, that she is worthy of being loved and cared for.
The ALAN Review - Wendy H. Bell
Eleven-year-old Emily Hasbrouck knows what it means to be alone: the loss of her parents and the death of her guardian, Aunt Mabel, have forced her into the Austen Home for Orphaned Girls. Like many of the wards there, Emily has a family she has never seen. At her aunt's funeral, she has learned of a younger sister who had been put up for adoption in infancy. Emily's search for her missing sister provides the basis for this readable tale of loss and survival. Set in 1913, the novel includes interesting information on the fate of orphans during this time period. Other characters such as Miss Webber, the kindly librarian who befriends Emily and helps in her search, and the cruel Mr. Smiley, Emily's sister's adoptive father, add appeal. However, it is Emily, herself, who makes this otherwise simple novel "work." Tough and resourceful, she will appeal to middle-school students. The issues of family and peer pressure are relevant, and Nobody's Daughter addresses them.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Orphaned at an early age, Emily lived with and cared for her elderly great-aunt, who left the almost 12-year-old girl penniless when she died. Arriving at the Austen Home for Orphaned Girls, Emily is greeted by Miss Browne, the director, with a warning to squelch unrealistic fantasies, to accept her role in life, and to always turn the other cheek. Emily, however, has just learned that she has a young sibling (their mother died in childbirth) and she dreams of being adopted by the wonderful family she imagines her sister to have. And turning the other cheek becomes more and more difficult as she and her friends are cruelly harassed by a group of spiteful classmates. When one of the orphaned girls is accidentally killed in one of these episodes, everyone refuses to believe Emily's truthful version of events. She finds the courage of her convictions; tries to change the path she's been forced to tread; and tracks down her sister, only to receive yet another crushing blow. Although one calamity after another afflicts the heroine, some sunshine enters her life when she gains the support of the town librarian and her mother. While the characters are depicted strictly in black or white, the plot is predictable, the dialogue is stilted, and the ambience of the early years of this century rarely emerges, there's a big audience out there for sagas about downtrodden orphans. This plot has just enough adversities to please those readers.-Susan F. Marcus, Pollard Middle School, Needham, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440411604
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/1996
  • Pages: 153
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.17 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2005

    A Very Sad Story

    Althought this is a wonderful story, the last parts of the book are so sad that they make me cry and my throat hurt. I really feel Emily's pain when her sisters adopted father rejects her and the people in the orphanage town treat the orphans like their lower then dirt. Althought I enjoyed most of the story, the most sad part of the story was when Emily was pushed and killed. I really recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2003

    What a Great Book!

    Nobody¿s Daughter b Nobody¿s Daughter, teaches a tremendous life lesson through an action packed, suspensful story which everyone would love. When Emily¿s parents die, she goes to live with her Great Aunt Mabel, a strict, noble Lathrop. Lathrops are good people, and live a fortunate life, unlike Hasbrooks, like Emily¿s careless father. Soon her Aunt dies also, and Emily has no where to go but an orphanage. As she and her friends are harshly harrassed by city girls, Emily feels a need to leave. She has no idea if anyone will help her, or if she will find a place to live, but she figures anything will be better than the Austin home. You will really enjoy the book Nobody¿s Daughter, a story which makes a great impact on life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2002

    A Great Book to Read

    I¿m 13 years old and I read this book for school and it was an awesome book. I thought it was so good and I would recommend this book to any young girl. I personally don¿t like to read but this book I would over and over again. This is my favorite book ever. And toward the end it started making me cry. So if you like to read good books, this is the book for you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2002

    who's daughter nobody's daughter

    Who¿s daughter? Nobody¿s daughter. The book I read was called nobody¿s daughter it was about a girl and her parents die and she is left to live with her aunt and then her aunt eventually dies, sad eh, then she gets shipped of to an orphanage and is treated in the cruelest way, and because she lives in an orphanage nobody likes her (that does not live in the orphanage)except the Liberian. She has 2 friends in the orphanages that are really close to her. Well one bit of information is she has a sister some where and to find more read it. Have you ever seen the little princess or read it, well it is kind of the same as this. They both go to an orphanage and are treated bad that both know that they have someone in this world for them. So if u like horror, action guns and more do not read this book it is the total opposite. That is me for ya, I don¿t like that stuff this was a great book and if you are not in to the gross guns and horror than you should give it a try!

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