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A Family Apart [Turtleback]

Joan Lowery Nixon
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1988 Orphan Train Adventures (Turtleback)
In 1860, when their widowed mother can no longer support them, six siblings are sent on the orphan train by the Children's Aid Society of New York City to live with farm families in Missouri.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This first book of the Orphan Train Quartet tells the story of Frances Mary, 13, eldest of the six Kelly children. Life in New York's grim 19th century slums consists of hardship for the poor but honest Kelly clan. When widowed Mrs. Kelly feels that she is no longer capable of providing for her children, she sends them west on the Orphan Train, to be adopted by farm families. Frances masquerades as a boy in order to be adopted with Petey, the brother she promised her mother she would protect. The practical difficulties Frances faces in maintaining this disguise are handled in an amusing and thoughtful manner. Since Frances and Petey are adopted by a couple with strong abolitionist sympathies, it should come as no surprise that Frances, just days after her arrival on the farm, finds herself helping two runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad. Though the plot is predictable and sometimes overly sentimental, and the Kelly family lapses into stilted Irish syntax, the rapid succession of high-spirited adventures make for lively reading. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8 First of a projected quartet of orphan stories, each about a member of the same family of children transported by orphan train from New York to St. Joseph, Missouri, and surrounding areas. A kind of period piece, circa 1860, A Family Apart has a distinct Horatio Alger tone. Well constructed incidents, including the widowed mother giving up her children so they can be sent west to find a better life, a grass fire set by sparks from the train, and a holdup of the train contribute to fast action and considerable suspenseparticularly about the oldest girl, Frances, who disguises herself as a boy so she can better help her brothers and sisters. An Orphan for Nebraska (Atheneum, 1979) by Charlene Joy Talbot is a similar orphan train story, but about one boy. Patricia Beatty's That's One Ornery Orphan (Morrow, 1980) is more humorous but less of a saga. What happened to orphans and street children of the last century may well appeal to many of today's children who hear so much about street children and abducted and deserted kids. George Gleason, Department of English, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a heart warming story April 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This was a thrilling book about a poor family that live in newyork the family has to deal with many problems first the dad dies, then the 3rd eldest gets in to some trouble because he is a copper thief Mike (the copper thief) is sent to a hearing The judge announces under there mothers wishes that the children ( Petey, Peg, Danny, Mike, Megan, and Frances) are to be sent west on the orphan train. Before the train leaves Frances the eldest child overhears that two kids in the same family are more likely to be adopted if they are boys. So Frances promising her mother that she would take care of her youngest brother cuts her hair and pretends to be a boy named Frankie. That's just the beginning Frances and her brothers and sisters encounter many other things on there quest to the west. Read this fantastic book and your eyes will open up to a whole new world of adventure thieves, slaves, fear, and depression it's sure to make your heart ache.This is a book you will always remember.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Family Apart March 11 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Good Book! It has action, adventure, and helps you learn about history all in one book. I enjoyed reading it and if you read this book, be sure to check out the rest of the series, too! People of all ages would love it. I'd recomend this book to everyone I meet!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Novel! One You Must Look Into! Jan. 21 2004
Format:Paperback
My mom bought me the orphan train adventures series a long time ago, and I never really read them because I wasn't that much into reading. But now, after I read this book, I am reading all the stories in this series 30 minutes a day! This would really be a good book to read.
The story is about a 13 year old girl named Frances Mary Kelly who lives with her mom and her brothers and sisters named Megan, Mike, Danny, Peg and Petey. The family is very poor and the mother realizes that she cannot afford to keep all of them. So, to solve that problem she sends them on an orphan train to live in the west with more wealthy families. Each of the children gets separated into different families and the second part of the story tells how Frances and Petey get along with their new family. I thought that the story was very interesting and when I finished one chapter I was so curious that I had to read more than one. What I also liked about the book was that it was very easy to understand what is happening. I have read many other books including Harry Potter where there are so many things that are happening at once that it's just to hard to keep track of everything so that's another good point of the story.
The other books in this series include: Caught In the Act, In the Face Of Danger, A Place To Belong, A Dangerous Promise, Keeping Secrets and Circle Of Love. The other books tell you the stories of the other kids and I also recommend them.
This was one of the best books I have read so far and I am going to read the whole series!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Start April 8 2003
By Rachel
Format:Paperback
I thought that this novel was extremely well written. I actually did some research about orphan trains and I could tell that Nixon didn't just dream up the orphan train riders lifestyles. I think that Frances Mary Kelly (the main character) was very lucky to have a mother and a shelter. Most poor children at that time didn't have parents or a shelter. Until Charles Loring Brace founded the Children's Aid Society in 1853, children were living on the streets making their living as pick-pockets. He established the orphan trains to send homeless children west to find new families. In my educated opinion, I think that this book is great for a historical fiction report and also a good curl-up-with kind of book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Family Apart Sept. 23 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This was really a great book. It had a interesting plot. It lagged only once when Frances,the oldest,did something for her job requering going on the streets. I thought it was page turrning when the children were being seperated. I liked the fact that the charicters were going through such in intence situation that i could never relate. I will warn you that I think the book "stops short". I wouldn't let that stop you from reading it. Infact I read it in the car dispite the fact it made me car sick. I recomened this to anyone who likes books on slavery or the west. I congradulate Joan Lowery Nixion on a job well done!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Long lost friend... Oct. 25 2001
By Sara
Format:Paperback
I just wanted to say that I used to read this series over and over again when I was in Middle and High School, I am now 21. I looked for it for a long time and I am so happy to have finaly found it again. I recommend you get this book and enjoy reading it and the whole series. The children in it, especialy Frances will fill you with so much inspiration! I am so happy to have found a long lost friend! Thank you Amazon.com for helping me find it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Exciting, Adventurous Story May 24 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A Family Apart is a wonderful book about six children and their mother. Mike is a terrible boy. He steals, and he causes problems in their famiily, and they are poor. They have to go to an orphanage, and their whole family gets split up. This book could be based on anyone's life. I know that people get seperated and go live with other families, so that is like reading a biograpphy, but really I think it is more exciting an instead of one person, it is about six children and their new families. I would recommend this book to anyone. This book is like a biography. It has adventures, and it tells about old times. It is not scary, but in some parts if you were those people you would be scared. It is like a biography because it tells about the children's lives. It is adventurous because in one part a boy has to help a slave escape in a wagon. It is scary because the kids get adopted by strangers. I really enjoyed this very exciting book. I'm sure anyone who reads this will like it too!
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