Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
About the Book
A long journey from home and the struggle to find it again form the heart of the intertwined stories that make up this moving novel. Foster teen Molly is performing community-service work for elderly widow Vivian, and as they go through Vivian’s cluttered attic, they discover that their lives have much in common. When Vivian was a girl, she was taken to a new life on an orphan train. These trains carried children to adoptive families for 75 years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the start of the Great Depression. Novelist Kline (Bird in Hand, 2009) brings Vivian’s hardscrabble existence in Depression-era Minnesota to stunning life. Molly’s present-day story in Maine seems to pale in comparison, but as we listen to the two characters talk, we find grace and power in both of these seemingly disparate lives. Although the girls are vulnerable, left to the whims of strangers, they show courage and resourcefulness. Kline illuminates a largely hidden chapter of American history, while portraying the coming-of-age of two resilient young women.
Tosa’s All-City Read Essay Contest Winners
Wauwatosa is home to some great budding writers. The following writers won cash prizes and gift certificates in Tosa’s All-City Reads’s Essay Contest on “portaging,” a subject discussed in Orphan Train.
First Place: Wisconsin to Louisiana Eleanor Hannan
Second Place (tie): Leave It or Bring It Dory Fulcher
Second Place (tie): Moving and Fitting In Ciara Strath
Third Place: My Trip to China Kate Pluta
First Place: Leaves on Trees Trinity Petri
First Place: Bringing an Empty Locket: Fulfillment of Character in Washington, D.C. Gabrielle Johnsen
First Place: We Would Carry Us: Walking the Prairie on a Wagon Train Angela Mallooly
Second Place: What I’ve Left Behind at Forty Bobby Pantuso
Third Place: Keeping Stories Jeanne Lehninger