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Orphan Train
by Christina Baker Kline

PBR Review This book opens the discussion on a little know practice of the mid 19th century. Many orphaned children were packed into trains and transported to the mid west; where they were put on display for the locals to adopt. Sadly, families needing workers for their farm took in these children. The story is set in both present day and the early to mid 1900s and alternates between Vivian's story of being a passenger on the Orphan Train and Molly's story, a troubled teen currently in a foster home. This is a story of resilience and hope which shows the healing powers of a little TLC. Its heartwarming to watch the beautiful bond develop between Vivian Molly as they share their common experience of being an Orphan. Recommend.Back.
Talking Points: Obviously the foster care system of the 1900s and that of today will come up. Although better, todays system is still flawed. The treatment these children received by the loving families that took them in is another hot talking point, as is the flawed practice that transports the orphans to the mid west. There is plenty to discuss about the relationship between Molly and Vivian, how and why their friendship develops and how each helps the other. Molly is also a case study in abandonment and growing up in Foster care. She is untrusting and hardened.
PBR Reader Comments:
The story and characters are fictional, but the author based it on a an actual piece of our History that is not widely know, perhaps because it is a bit shameful. Thousands of orphaned children were transported across the country, purportedly to be placed in loving families. In reality, they were a source of cheap labor for farms.
by-linda 2017/01/06, 08:36 PM

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