Article Title

Orphan Train Girl


Cynthia Frazier


Outstanding, Intermediate, Young Adult, Orphan, Native American, Friendship, Immigration, Foster Care

Document Type

Book Review


What does a twelve-year-old Penobscot Indian have in common with a wealthy ninety-one-year-old woman? At first it seems that they are worlds apart. Molly Ayer, through assigned community service hours, helps Vivian Daly clean out her attic. The upper story of the big house is full of junk and Vivian doesn’t want to throw anything away. Instead stories of her childhood unfold as she discovers forgotten mementos long packed away in boxes. Molly finds that Vivian became an orphan too not long after emigrating from Ireland. Vivian had been assigned to a train filled with orphans that traveled to homes in the Midwest where people would take children to work on their farms, help with their children, or work in a business. Vivian’s story was long ago, but in a way it parallels Molly’s who had been in the foster care system for four years, moving from family to family never really feeling that she belonged. Molly finds in Vivian understanding and kindness. Vivian is helped through Molly’s computer skills to solve the mystery of the family she thought was lost forever.