Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Author: Karen Cushman

First line: On a cold Monday morning in March, when a weak, pale sun struggled to shine and ice glistened in the cracks of the wooden street, a company of some twenty-two orphan children with stiff new clothes and little cardboard suitcases boarded a special railway car at the station near the Chicago River.

Why you should read this book: Karen Cushman does it again, with another enchanting work of historical fiction featuring a strong-willed young girl at odds with the unfairness of her world but intent on writing her own happy ending. This time, we follow twelve-year-old Rodzina, whose loving family is only recently deceased, as she is put against her will on an orphan train out west where, she is certain, she will be sold as a slave and cruelly worked, beaten, and starved. Along the way, Rodzina develops a new view of America, of herself, and of the concepts of family and happiness.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You believe all orphans turn out bad.

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