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Fiction featuring Care Experience

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The Orphan Collector

Ellen Marie Wiseman


The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman is set in Philadelphia during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, 13-year-old German migrant Pia Lange is left with her 4-month old twin brothers after her mother suddenly dies. The chronically shy child manages as best she can until she runs out of food. She then leaves the tiny boys on their own while she scouts neighbouring apartments, without much luck. Venturing outside and into a wealthier area, Pia collapses on the pavement, waking up 6 days later in a church-hospital. A few days later still—when she is finally recovered—Pia is dropped off at an orphanage where she’s put to work looking after babies, all the time feeling anxious and guilty about leaving her brothers and wondering if they’re still alive.

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