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Orphan Train Rider
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About the Author

Andrea Warren is the author of many acclaimed nonfiction books for young readers, including Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story, which won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Andrea lives in Kansas. Visit her website at www.andreawarren.com.

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Gr 4-8‘Between 1854 and 1930, more than 200,000 orphaned and abandoned children from the cities of the eastern seaboard were "placed out" to new homes and families in the midwest and western states. Warren's account of the "orphan-train" phenomena, and of one man's story of how it affected his life, is an excellent introduction to researching or discussing children-at-risk in an earlier generation. The book is clearly written and illustrated with numerous black-and-white photographs and reproductions. The chapters alternate information about the largest agency, the Children's Aid Society, and its history, with the story of Lee Nailling, from whom the author has gathered the facts of his own childhood journey to Texas and his eventual reunion, late in life, with some of his long-lost siblings. Human interest is skillfully interspersed with factual information to create a fascinating book about a social movement that predated today's foster homes, adoption agencies, and homeless shelters. Annette R. Fry's The Orphan Trains (New Discovery, 1994) is written for the same age group and efficiently provides detailed information for research and reports. Eve Bunting's Train to Somewhere (Clarion, 1996), a picture book, tells the story for younger children. Together these books offer opportunities for discussion about the sometimes happy and sometimes misguided efforts to care for the orphaned and abandoned in our country's past. But if only one book can be acquired, Warren's title offers a wealth of information and is rich in human interest. It should be the primary purchase.‘Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ

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