Renée Wendinger is from southern Minnesota and is the youngest of five children. Her mother, Sophia (Kaminsky) Hillesheim, 1917 orphan train rider, was one of the children of the orphan trains taking part in a phenomenal journey from New York City to the Midwest. As an avid historian, Renée has researched the epoch of the largest mass migration of children to occur in American history for decades. Inspired by her mother, Renée's orphan train books, Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York, and Last Train Home: An Orphan Train Story, embrace authoritive research with compelling stories from the people who “made history” aboard the orphan trains of New York.
Renée’s writing style functions in concert with authentic photography reaching across the spectrum of academic and universal readership. The chronicles of the children of the train impart skillful arrangement within both volumes. The fascination of these stories can not be realized until readers can enjoy them in hand.
Renée is an expert speaker on the subject of the orphan trains and immigration experience offering a historical PowerPoint symposium or discussion platform to educators and schools, community and civic organizations, and libraries and historical centers.
For speaking programs, interviews and book signing availability
Hon. President of Orphan Train Riders of New York Organization.
Recipient of the New York Foundling Award presented by the National Orphan Train Complex for orphan train history preservation.
Recipient of The Founders Award presented by the National Orphan Train Complex
Minnesota Historical Society winning essayist awards.
Winner of the National Indie Excellence Award in History for books of excellence. The National Indie Excellence Awards is a leading book competition for small presses and independent publishers shining a spotlight on books that demonstrate excellence. Judging professionals from all aspects of the book industry take in overall excellence of presentation and content. The NIEA emblem on a cover lets people know Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York and Last Train Home: An Orphan Train Story, are books that meet the highest standards of traditional independent publishing.
A concentrated graduate level study course has been developed by professors of Brooklyn College and built on Wendinger’s books.
In the news interviews: USA Today; People and O Magazines; CBS New York; WCCO Minnesota; WVOX New York; American Radio Broadcasts; and numerous newspaper chonicles.
Supporters: The Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) Foundation, Canada; Orphan Train muscial theatrical director, Patricia Birch; American Girl novelist, Ann Howard Creel; New York historians, Orphan Train Riders of New York organization, and countless others.
Click here to visit The National Orphan Train Complex website.
Click here to visit Orphan Train Riders of New York website.