#1013 – Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life by Rebecca Langston-George

The KLR review of What’s Up Chuck, an artistic chapter book, was in the spotlight at the Cybils Awards blog. I had no idea until last night. Here it is, if you are interested:  What’s Up Chuck at Cybils.

orphantrainscover Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life
Series: Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Stories
Written by Rebecca Langston-George
Capstone Press  10/01/2016
128 pages  Ages 9—12

“In the mid-19th century, more than 30,000 orphans were homeless, living on the streets of New York City. They survived by selling newspapers, begging, and being brave. A minister named Charles Loring Brace came up with the idea of placing these orphans in homes in rural America. The Children’s Aid Society was born. This book tells the compelling story of seven orphans who rode the rails to new lives and families in the Midwest.” [INSIDE JACKET]

Orphan Trains is a fascinating look at the beginning of reform in children’s social work, with the existence of the Children’s Aid Society in New York City. For the first time in American history, children’s lives and their futures became important. Beginning with the Newsboys’ Lodging, which housed, bathed, and fed newspaper boys for minimal fees. One young newspaper boy was Andrew Burke. At age 5 he began selling newspapers from his assigned corner. When given the chance, he boarded an orphan train to Tipton, Indiana where he started his new life.
Tells the story of seven orphans who rode the trains from New York City to homes in the Midwest between 1859 and 1929, the beginning of the foster care movement in the United States.Each child’s story—4 boys, 3 girls—takes readers from their initial orphan days to how they fared in their new homes. The kids range from lone wolves to a pair of brothers and a trio from the same family. Placed on trains to Midwestern states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Iowa), siblings were often separated into new families. The idea was to make these children part of the family with all rights and responsibilities. Some families were more interested in employing the children as servants or farm hands. For these children, the adult parents became their employer. Though this sounds horrible, the life was much better than the one these kids lived on the streets of New York.
9781491485514_int01Orphan Trains is an interesting beginner read about the state of child welfare and children’s lives in New York City circa late 18th early 19th centuries. The orphan trains ran for nearly 75 years. There had to be more information than the rather short amounts of information given in the book. This is mostly about how seven kids fared before and after the orphan train came into their lives. While Orphan Trains is extremely interesting and informative for kids today, there could have been more information about the orphan trains throughout its 75-year existence.
9781623706302_int04ORPHAN TRAINS: TAKING THE RAILS TO A NEW LIFE. Text copyright © 2016 by Rebecca Langston-George. Shaley George, Consultant. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Press, New York, NY.

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Reprinted with permission from ORPHAN TRAINS: TAKING THE RAILS TO A NEW LIFE © 2016 by Rebecca Langston-George, Capstone Press, an imprint of Capstone, Illustrations © 2016 by various credits.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life
Written by Rebecca Langston-George
Capstone Press 10/01/2016


5 thoughts on “#1013 – Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life by Rebecca Langston-George

    • I, too, have been interested in orphans because of my mom. She lived most of her childhood in an orphanage, though she never rode an orphan train. /and she was not technically an orphan—her parents were alive, but after the depression her mom left and the state deemed it unhealthy for a man to raise a girl, so mom went to an orphanage and her brother stayed with their dad.

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