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Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story

By . 2 CDs. 1:26 hrs. AudioGo. 2013. ISBN 978-0-7927-9640-4. $29.95.
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Gr 4–7—Using one young man's journey as her focus, Warren tells about the amazing, sometimes heart-warming, and often tragic westward journey (Houghton Mifflin, 1996) that more than 200,000 children took on the Orphan Train between 1854 and 1930 in search of families. Although he was not technically an orphan, Lee Nailling's father placed him and his brothers in an orphanage after their mother's death. Dressed in new clothes, Lee rode the train from Upstate New York to Texas in 1926 with two of his six siblings. Not all children found homes, and many were taken in by families who abused them or used them as workers. Lee was lucky to have been placed with loving and understanding parents who renamed him and raised him as their own; he was luckier still to be reunited with some of his siblings late in his life. Chapters alternate between Lee's experiences and the history of the Orphan Trains, the Children's Aid Society, and other agencies that placed orphaned or homeless children with rural families. Laura Hicks expressively tells Lee's emotional tale and exhibits the same enthusiasm when relating dates and facts, varying her inflection for quotes and narration. Have the book available so listeners can peruse the black-and-white photographs and reproductions. This compelling true story, skillfully researched and narrated, will be of great interest to young people.—MaryAnn Karre, West Middle School, Binghamton, NY

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