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Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story
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Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  340 ratings  ·  79 reviews
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 1 ...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published May 1st 1996 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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A friend gave me this book as a cast off that didn't sell on eBay. I've read the first few chapters w/my daughter and I'm hooked. I can't believe I've never heard of this experience before now. None of my teachers ever spoke of this orphan train experience of so many children of the late 1850's and early 1900's. It's a sad read so far.. But I am also appalled that this is never spoken of, in history or the media. This should be part of school curricula...

Update: 9/12/08~ Finished this book last
I learned about the book Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story from a pastor at the church I attend when he referenced it during his sermon on grace. In this moving story of one orphaned boy, author Andrea Warren describes the role of Charles Loring Brace and the Children's Aid Society in establishing orphan trains. From the 1850's through the 1920's, over 200,000 children boarded these trains searching for families to take care of them. It also portrays the lives of unwanted, abandoned, and ...more
Brandi Carrier
The authors purpose of this story "Orphan Train Rider" was to give a better explanation and understanding to people of what happened with the orphans on the train from Germany. The theme of the book was to tell a boy, named Lee Nailling's story about being an orphan in Germany and then coming on the orphan train to an adoptive family. The style of this book was non-fiction.The writer, Andrea Warrens's opinion of this book was how Lee was quite fortunate to be able to transfer to such a loving a ...more
A small but interesting memoir of one orphan train rider, Lee Nailing.

In the early 1800's prior to the inception of social services and welfare for the poor, children in urban areas whose parents were either unable or uninterested in keeping them were either abandoned or turned out onto the streets to fend for themselves. In an effort to remedy this situation the Rev. Charles Loring Bates founded what would become The Children's Aid Society. Selected children and babies would be sent by train ou
Genre: Biography Reading level: Ages 8-12
This is the story Lee Nailling, a boy forced into an orphanage when his mother died and his father could no longer care for the family. Sponsored by the Children’s Aid Society, Lee and his brothers board the legendary Orphan Train to the west for placement with a new family. Despite a rocky start and a painful separation from his brothers, Lee is eventually placed with a loving couple and begins to feel wanted. Leaving his bitterness and distrust of adult
Jun 18, 2012 Bev rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
I picked this book up at the Sacramento Train Museum store because it was a report on a piece of American about which I knew nothing. Between 1854 and 1930, more than 200,000 orphaned or abandoned children were sent west on "orphan trains" to find new homes. In exchange for "good homes," the children, many of whom had been living on the streets and eating from garbage cans, were offered to farmers, housewives and businessmen as indentured workers. Some were adopted by loving families, others wer ...more
In years past, as today, there have always been children who find themselves needing a home outside of their birth families. In earlier times, families often took in orphaned, or needy children, then immigration and poor jobs and wages, made this all but impossible. This book tells the story of one man's solution to this problem. A pastor decided that there was a better solution than housing kids in orphanages. Thus the Orphan Trains were started from the Children's Aid Society.

Orphan Trains too
Wow, what an interesting book about the period of history of the orphan trains during 1854-1930 in America. This is during my dad's lifetime so maybe that's why I feel it wasn't all that long ago that this was happening. Lee Nailling shares his experience about being an orphan train rider. He tells how his father gave up on raising his kids when his wife died and split them up. Lee and one of his brothers were placed in an orphanage. This was before welfare and when jobs were scarce. Sometimes p ...more
maribel renfrow
Tear jerker!

Very ,very nice! This book should be read by every family .It will surely lessen the divorce rate and juvenile delinquents! I'm an immigrant here in the States , I wasn't abandoned but my parents just wanted me to have a better life so I stayed. Every day up to now after a couple of years I still get homesick.But I found me a loving husband and great in-laws and this book just made me realize to treasure. my family more. Just a SUPERB BOOK!
I thought this book was fascinating, well the topic really. The book itself is short; a quick read (and I don't read anything quickly). One family's true story was woven through this historical account of the economic and social state of America as it was developing as a nation. The topic and details were a little hard to swallow sometimes, but I like that aspect. My goal for Chase in having him read this "history" book is to not only educate him but to move him and get him a little emotionally ...more
Readable and informative. Some of the incidents in this book made their way into the novel, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, making both books more credible. Warren's book was well written for the Juvenile audience for which it was intended. The story was told in a straightforward way that brought home the tragedy as well as the hope that came from this program.
Fascinating topic, but the writing was very non-fiction (I know it IS) and a but dry. Every other chapter follows the boy, Lee. These chapters are far more interesting than the alternate chapters that are more dry and just throwing facts out there. I'd definitely still recommend the book to anyone who wants to learn about this very un talked about period of American history.
Very short, interesting bit of non-fiction. It goes back and forth between discussions of the orphan trains in general and one boy's experience. I would definitely recommend reading this after reading Orphan Train.

Just wish it were longer (only about 1-1/2 hr audio).
Short and bittersweet this is a book everyone should read as part of America's history. Paving the way to the welfare system as well as the foster care system; orphan trains were a means of re-homing children who were unwanted, abused, or did not have living parents to care for them. While some stories are positive others are tragic.
I read this in a few hours because the middle school kids were reading it. I'd read bits of it before, but this time, I read it straight through. It was really good and sad. I teared up a couple times when reading about the abuses the homeless kids faced, and when they are reunited. Sad, informative, great narrative nonfiction for kids.
Ginnie Grant
The history of the orphan train movement has facsinated me since I was small. This book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, written in a style that is easy for children to understand but adults can enjoy as well. contains a lot of historical photographs as well.
Juliana Haught
I bought this book a couple of years ago on a trip to South Dakota, in the gift shop of the old steam train ride. This book tells a piece of history that I imagine most people don't know about anymore, when children would be turned out on the streets by parents too overwhelmed to care for them, or would be out right surrendered to an orphanage by parents. Orphan trains would ship these children "out West", now the American Midwest, to find families. This book tells the heartbreaking story in cle ...more
I listened to this on audiobook with my kids. It was a great story; however, we found the author moved away from the story often into citing time-period facts. However, we're all still glad to have learned about the Orphan Train Riders—I'd never learned about this piece of history in school. And it is fascinating.
This was a wonderful, insightful story based on the true story of an orphan train rider and his brothers.

The Children's Aid Society history, historical orphan information and actual photographs and flyers were fascinating and interwoven with the story of Lee Nailing's journey from New York to Texas on the orphan train. This story was more believable because Lee isn't an easy going child with a simply wonderful experience. Lee was old enough to remember his father and wanting to stay with his fa
Interesting and compelling event in American History. My book club read another book on the topic, which I did not enjoy. This book provided more facts and balanced view of the history. Very brief, but compelling.
Georgi C.
If you want a really good story that will glue you to the text this book is for you. This book is about a child, Lee Nailing, that was abandoned when he was a very small child. His parents left him in an orphanage that he hated. The food was bad, children got in fights, and more things that he couldn't take. A few years later, an orphan program called Childrens Aid Society appeared and Lee had to take a orphan train across the country of U.S.A. The train he was on went across to the west so Lee ...more
Lynn Bastien
America's unadvertised history

It's no wonder most people are unaware of this part of American history, but this just goes to show how some can strive and grow no matter what circumstances .
You hear so little about this part of our history. I'm on a mission to read everything I can lay my hands on. Some of the stories, like this one, are so heart-warming, while others are tragic.
There were clear specifics, without much detail. It is more of an overview of the topic, but enough to make me want to read more about the orphan trains. The 4 stars were given as a children's book.
If you want a good true story that will keep yoi glued to the text then get this book! This book is about a child, Lee Nailing and he was abandoned at an orphanage at age three. He absolutely hated the place and was always wishing to get out of it. So, one day his wish came true. A orphan program called Childrens' Aid Society was started by a person who felt very bad for these mistreated orphans. It consisted of trains that went all around the United States of America. These trains carried orpha ...more
One story of many from a difficult time in history when children were given up by families who could not care for them. It's a brief book. I listened to an Audio Go version while tending to paperwork. This book leaves me wanting to read other histories of the orphan trains.
This is a non-fiction YA book about the orphan train program. Frankly, I liked the fictionalized Orphan Train better. It was a bit dry.
This book tells a true story on how the lives of boys/girls back in the day when they were sent away on trains to meet (nice) families.
Alison Hester
Quick read about one boys experience of losing his family, losing trust in adults, and his perseverance to find them all again.
I never knew about orphan trains until reading this. It's an interesting and sad part of history. Quick read.
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