Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Orphan Train Girl by Christina Baker Kline Book Review

Orphan Train Girl by Christina Baker Kline Book Review

Orphan-Train-Christina-Baker-Kline book review

This story really captured my heart and is still tugging at it! We adopted a daughter from Korea as an infant and so the topic of adoption is one familiar to me. I had no idea there were 250,000 American orphans on trains between 1854 and 1929. Most were new immigrants to this country. The author has met eleven of them. She has completed extensive research on the topic including travel to Ireland. This is such a powerful story told about an "older" girl of nine. Babies and older boys were adopted first, and many of the older children had to do extensive work (sometimes not being allowed to attend school). 

Orphan-Train-Christina-Baker-KlineMy interest in this topic began with a story a writing group member wrote about not knowing her heritage. She had her DNA tested as her mother was an orphan from one of these trains. At the age of two, her mother was sent from New York to Minnesota. Record keeping was not well done at the time and so little was known about what country her mother was from. Of course, Ancestry DNA testing is fairly vague. Only DNA testing from a doctor's office provides much information. Yet, the writer said she learned a few things and would have still tried the test had she realized it would not provide detailed information. 
In the book Orphan Train Girl, they are able to find photos and even news articles to help them figure out a few things. A young orphan is helping an older person who was one of these orphans as a community service project. The reason for the service project is not only based on good intentions, but the two characters become friends. The younger one knows how to research on Google to help create a somewhat dramatic ending. I'm not sure how often people could actually find very much information on this topic, though. 
My next read is the first version of the book. I had no idea I was reading an adaptation of the story for middle school students and that there was a different version which had been a best seller when I started reading. My interest is piqued!

Christina Baker Kline is the author of a New York Times bestseller A Piece of the World (2017), Christina’s World. Kline has written six other novels: Orphan Train, Orphan Train Girl, The Way Life Should Be, Sweet Water, Bird in Hand, and Desire Lines.. Her 2013 novel Orphan Train spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list. Her adaptation of Orphan Train for young readers is Orphan Train Girl. 

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