The Orphan Train Adventures are fictionalized stories based on the Children’s Aid Society’s efforts during the years 1854-1929 to place poor and orphaned children from New York to welcoming families out West.
Mrs. Nixon vividly recreates late 19th century, and introduces us to 6 unfortunate children whose mother cannot adequately care for them after their father dies. With heartache and desperation she sends them on the orphan train, her only hopes of keeping them safe and alive. The books follow each of the children as they adjust to their new lives and families. The orphan children provide decent and virtuous role models, and the series give readers a realistic presentation of America and the plight of the many poor families during this era.
The Orphan Train Adventures is a great series, educational, gripping and dynamic-sure to pull at heartstrings and tug at emotions while providing an old-fashioned and pleasing read.
A Family Apart lays the foundation for the series (also known as the Orphan Train Quartet) and focuses on Frances’ (eldest girl) as she is placed in her new home. The sequels then follow in similar fashion, telling the stories of each of the remaining siblings.
Here’s a link that provides a teacher’s guide for the books, and some additional helpful links.