LAST TRAIN HOME: An Orphan Train Story is a Dickensian story about cultural identity during the nineteenth century when America received an enormous influx of immigrants. The narrative highlights a little known, but historically significant moment in our country's past by tracing the individual journeys of two children to bring about the distinction between the "placing out" of these children in finding a family and a home. History, culture, and geography celebrate the survival of these children by weaving their individual stories into triumph over tribulation building strength of mind and character into an incredible reserve.
Format: Trade Cloth Library Binding.
Charlie's Chalk Stick is an illustrated children's book based on a true story set during the years of the Great Depression. One day Charlie, a gentle and kindly man who has lost his job and home, hops off a freight train looking for a hobo village where he can rest and hopefully get some food. After forming a friendship with an injured dog at a hobo village, Charlie meets a group of children. Through the use of his chalk stick, Charlie teaches the children a new language- the hobo language. Charlie's Chalk Stick is the kind of story that will give children the opportunity to visit a time in the past and learn something valuable about the human condition at the same time. It is a classic story for all ages.
Format: Trade Cloth Library Binding.
The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York is a historical nonfiction that effectively communicates little known details about the orphan trains that departed from New York City carrying more than 250,000 children east to west. Over 200 hauntingly good photographs weave history throughout an incredible collection of stories during this time. From children who faced nearly insurmountable odds, to agonizing letters written by desperate mothers, to news stories of the latest train, or of newsboys looking out for each other, the humanity of individuals caught up in the sweep of history is unmistakable.
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"Renee Wendinger knows the history of the orphan trains well. Last Train Home: An Orphan Train Story is a richly detailed and intriguing narrative that draws upon the real-life stories of train riders, John Ausers and Sophia Kaminsky, and humanizes the thousands of children who rode the orphan trains."
"Renée Wendinger has written a thoughtful and moving history based on the real life stories of two orphan train riders, Johnny and Sophia, both orphaned in the early 1900s under heart-wrenchingly difficult circumstances. I was struck by the similarities between the characters in Last Train Home: An Orphan Train Story and my grandmother's creation, Anne of Green Gables, and the will to live a positive and productive life. This author is clearly a gifted writer."
Kate Macdonald Butler
Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc.
Deftly written by Renee Wendinger and charmingly illustrated by Sharon Grey, "Charlie's Chalk Stick" is a delightfully engaging children's book based on a historic figure born out of America's Great Depression -- the hobo. "Charlie's Chalk Stick" is the kind of story that will give children the opportunity to visit a particular period in America's past while learning something valuable about the human condition at the same time. While very highly recommended for elementary school and community library children's book collections, it should be noted for parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
Beautifully written and illustrated. A lovely, timeless story that will teach children about the Depression and also about compassion for those less fortunate than they are. The easy writing style of Wendinger and engaging illustrations by Gray will entertain and also impart subtle but important messages to children. They will learn without realizing they are learning. Highly recommended.
Amazon Book Review
“Fending for oneself as a child is a rough endeavor. Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York tells the story of the fate of many children in the early twentieth century, and how the Children's Aid Society sought to help these young people through their early lives. From helping them find homes in rural America through the infamous orphan trains, to giving the newsboys of New York places to stay, the Children's Aid Society engaged in remarkable work. This book is a fascinating survey of the history of child welfare in the United States.”
Midwest Book Review
“Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York reaches the heart of the reader, and the heart of America! As the developer of the musical theatrical production Orphan Train, I only hope this dramatic piece is as touching and important as this incredible book written by author Renée Wendinger.”
Emmy Award winner, director and choreographer for musical theatre and film.