The composition of the orphan trains that departed New York City carrying more than 200,000 children from various East Coast orphanages, to all points West across the United States became the largest mass migration of children in US history.
Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York is a nonfiction collection of stories that effectively communicates little known details about the children who faced nearly insurmountable odds. From 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.
Over 200 hauntingly good photographs weaved throughout an incredible historical collection included in this historical tome!
RENÉE WENDINGER Radio Interview: New York (WVOX)
“In a most beautiful and professional way, this book represents a true labor of love. A candid, humbling, but ultimately inspiring look at a very particular theme and period in American history. The archival photos of newsboys and bootblacks surviving on the streets of New York. Hauntingly good! With this volume alone, Renée Wendinger has made the planet a better place.” John Graham Tucker, president of Norfleet Press New York, New York.
“An absolutely incredible book! This is a classic book and a fascinating story written by a very talented lady. This author portrays the children’s stories so well. Classic images of our distant past, the pictures are beautiful! To acquire an appreciation for New York’s history, this book is a “have got to pick up,” as it is one of a kind. Really a wonderful and classy book. A concentrated New York College course has been built upon this accomplished book alone.” Steve Duer, (New York Historian) Art and Susan Zuckerman, (New York Professors of History) Radio Station WVOX, New York, New York
“Extra! Extra! 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.” Patricia Birch, Emmy Award winner, director and choreographer for musical theatre and film. Grease, Big, A Little Night Music, They’re Playing Our Song, etc. New York, New York
“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 famous orphan trains, to giving the newsboys of New York places to stay, the Children's Aid Society engaged in remarkable work. "Extra! Extra!" is a fascinating survey of the history of child welfare in the United States.” Midwest Book Review
LAST TRAIN HOME, an orphan train story, is a Dickensian novella about cultural identity and family history set during the nineteenth century, at a time when America received an enormous influx of immigrants, and a quarter of a million children whose fates would be determined by pure luck were sent west from East Coast cities by orphan train. Would they be adopted by kind and loving families, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?
The narrative highlights a little known, but historically significant moment in our country’s past by tracing the individual journeys of two children, Johnny and Sophia, bringing about the distinction between the “placing out” of these children to find families and homes. History, culture, and geography celebrate the survival of these children, by weaving individual stories into triumph over tribulation building strength of mind and character into an incredible reserve.
Praise for Last Train Home, an orphan train story
and author Renée Wendinger
Renée Wendinger has written a thoughtful and moving novella based on the real life stories of 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 and my grandmother’s creation, Anne of Green Gables, and the will to live a positive and productive life. The author is clearly a gifted writer.
Kate Macdonald Butler
Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc.
History at its most capacious, authoritative research, beautifully written, and panoramic and in viewpoint about the people who “made history” aboard the orphan trains of New York. Renée Wendinger tells a tale of how one event in a life can change everything. This is a story about a moving time in our nation’s history when hope and faith held us all strongly together. A great novel for lovers of historical fiction.
Novelist of Nicki and Thanks to Nicki (American Girl Books) and
The Magic of Ordinary Days, a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.