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Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story [Paperback]

Andrea Warren
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 28 1998

Between 1854 and 1930, more than 200,000 orphaned or abandoned children were sent west on orphan trains to find new homes. Some were adopted by loving families; others were not as fortunate. In recent years, some of the riders have begun to share their stories. Andrea Warren alternates chapters about the history of the orphan trains with the story of Lee Nailling, who in 1926 rode an orphan train to Texas when he was nine years old.


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From School Library Journal

Grade 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
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 4^-6. From 1854 to 1930, the orphan trains took homeless children from cities in the East to new homes in the West, the Midwest, and the South. In Warren's book, one man's memories of his childhood abandonment and adoption give a personal slant on the subject. Chapters telling the story of Lee Nailing, who took an orphan train west in 1926, alternate with chapters filling in background information about the trains and the experiences of other children who rode them to their destinies. Throughout the book, black-and-white photos show both the people and places in Nailing's story and the broader topic of the orphan train experience. Children will find this a good resource on an intriguing subject. Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE HAPPY ENDING - THANK YOU March 15 2014
By little lady blue TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Having only just learned about Charles Brace and the `Orphan Trains' this book, although short, portrays one (thankfully) happy ending for this set of brothers who were sent off on the train in the 1920's. The photos even more than the prose is what is so terribly heart-wrenching.

Since over 200,000 children were put on those trains between 1854 and 1930 I truly wish we had more documentation and stories from them. It is shocking that this is such a little known fact of American history and not taught in schools. I had never even heard of an `Orphan Train' until a book called "The Midnight Train Home" by Erika Tamar which I read only a few months ago.

Charles Brace certainly had the best interest of these children in mind and created a system that, in theory, should have worked. It is unfortunate to know that many of the children were ill treated and have never had a chance to speak out about it.

Kudos to Ms. Andrea Warren for bringing us at least this one story with a happy ending. Lord only knows how many more there are out there that did not end so happily.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book for Family Discussion May 7 2002
Format:Paperback
I would like to start by saying that I think the suggested reading age is a little low. While the writing is well within in capabilities of most 4-6 graders, the subject may be a little touchy for the younger end of the group. I would be reluctant to let a sensative child read this book until at least the 5th grade.
That said, I think the book was wonderful.The writing is well done for children's non-fiction, but also is able to capture adult readers. The book is a fascinating story about one of the few surviving children who rode one of the orphan trains as well as the general story of the trains history.
My wife, 11 year old daughter and I read the book (my wife and I in 1 evening, my daughter the next) and then we discussed the concept of the trains, the needs for them and why such things are no longer in use in today's society. It made for a good family discussion and we all learned from the experience.
This book has very good content, as well as interesting information about the sociology of this country's past. It was well worth the read for both adults and our daughter and we all enjoyed it.
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Format:Paperback
This book would be an excellent follow-up to the movie "Orphan Train". It brings out the reality of the movement between 1854 and 1930 of 200,000 abandoned children to find homes in the West.
Chapters alternate between historical information on the movement and personal details and memories of orphans like Lee Nailling and his brothers.
The most touching moment for me was when Lee, who had every reason to be bitter and hate the world, finally found a home. Fully intending to run away again before morning, he fell asleep and was awakened by a call to breakfast. As a part of "grace" said before the meal by his mother-to-be, the boy heard, "Father, thank you for sending our new son to us, for the privilege of allowing us to raise him."
Lee commented, "I'm sure my jaw dropped in amazement. Somebody was actually thankful I was there!"
There are also many excellent photographs.
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