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Children's LiteratureFrom the time of the Civil War until the emergence of the Great Depression, thousands of American children were sent west on what came to be known as the orphan trains. These children were generally orphans, homeless waifs, or members of poor families unable to support them. Foundling and children's aid societies organized the trains that stopped at town after town. In those stopping places the children would be paraded in front of potential foster parents who would select the child they wished to raise. Brothers and sisters would frequently be divided amongst various foster families. Children who remained unselected would re-board the train and repeat the performance at other stops. Although there is no accurate count as to the number of children sent out on the orphan trains, it is estimated to be in the tens of thousands. In The Orphan Trains, the story of those foster children is ably told by writer Alice K. Flanagan. In fact, this illustrated volume in the "We The People" series combines strong research, an adept and heartfelt narrative, and a touching handling of a compelling story. This is an outstanding book that tells a story that children and adults will profit from knowing. 2006, Compass Point Books/Capstone Press, Ages 9 to 12.
—Greg M. Romaneck