The Orphan Trains: Finding Families for Homeless Children--by Andrea Warren--CCSS Aligned

by  Authors on Call, iNK Think Tank

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Andrea Warren draws on her classic nonfiction books for young readers, Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story (winner of the Horn Book Award) and We Rode the Orphan Trains, to create a program that students will find as compelling as it is educational. Between 1854 and 1930, an estimated 250,000 children, most from New York City, boarded what became known as orphan trains, riding the rails westward in search of new families, while participating in the largest children's migration in history. Only half were truly orphans. Many were the children of down-on-their-luck immigrants who could not care for them, or they had been abandoned, or removed from abusive homes. Charities, in particular the Children's Aid Society and the New York Foundling Hospital, utilized America's expanding railroad system to transport the children to places with prospective parents. Once selected, some found happy homes, while others were simply put to work. In this program, Warren takes students on an incredible journey through history with the children who became orphan train riders.

Program Rating

   based on 3 evaluation(s).

About This Program


Multipoint: $300.00
Multipoint Premium: $270.00

The fee is per site. iNK Think Tank will invoice and collect the fee.


45-60 Minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Parent, Adult Learners, Homeschool/Family ESL Students Public Library: Library Patrons ESL Students

Minimum participants:

No Minimum

Maximum participants:

No Maximum

Primary Disciplines

Character Education, Family & Consumer Science, Gifted & Talented, International, Language Arts/English, Literacy, Mathematics, Performing Arts, Problem Solving, Reading, Sciences, Social Studies/History, Writing ESL Classes

Program Delivery Mode


Booking Information

Sorry, this program is not currently available. To inquire about future availability, please contact Authors on Call, iNK Think Tank

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For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

No charge for programs canceled due to uncontrollable events such as weather. We make every effort to reschedule. There is a $100 "kill" fee for cancellations less than 48 hours before the event.

About This Provider

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Authors on Call, iNK Think Tank

White Plains, NY
United States

The Common Core State Standards have focused attention on process and using nonfiction in the classroom. Our Authors on Call from iNK Think Tank embody the CCSS. This team uses their extraordinary breadth of knowledge to transform today's classrooms into vital centers of learning. These authors are experts in processing enormous amounts of information, sifting through it and synthesizing it into works with added value. So why not talk to these masters of 21st century skillsand let them unpack their process for your students? They are eager to share their knowledge with you and to help you inspire your students with books kids love to read about subjects you're required to teach. So far our authors include Jan Adkins, Vicki Cobb,  Roxie Munro, Dorothy Hinshaw Patent,Carla Killough McClafferty, Kerrie Hollihan, Aline Alexander Newman, David M. Schwartz, Alexandra Siy,  Peggy Thomas, Marissa Moss, Jan Adkins, and Andrea Warren. Keep coming back as we add more authors and new programs.

Vicki Cobb

Program Details


1..The author will describe the conditions that inspired New York City's Children's Aid Society to begin its grand experiment in child placement, how the program grew, and the special role of the New York Foundling Hospital in finding homes for homeless children.
2. The author will relate where the children were taken and what happened to them when they reached their destinations, how prospective families made their selections, and stories of what happened to some of the children.
3. The author will explain when and why the placing out program ended, how the rise of the welfare system helped families stay together, how riders felt about their experiences, and how history views what happened to them.
4. The author will share photos from her two orphan train books to illustrate an actual orphan train, the children who rode the trains, and the adults who cared for them.


--Participants will learn about westward American expansion via the railroads. They will learn about charities trying to address the problem of street children and other homeless children in this country, and how they worked cooperatively with the railroads in seeking homes for the children.
--Participants will learn about child welfare in America and will gain sensitivity to issues of homeless children and how best to care for them.
--Participants will realize and come to appreciate the history of the orphan trains and its significance in American history.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

US History/The History of the United States; US History/The History of Peoples of Many Cultures Around the World; English/Reading for Understanding.

State Standards

This program is appropriate for grades four and up.