Rodzina, by Karen Cushman, is an historical story about a twelve-year-old orphan in 1881. During this time period, there were many children all by themselves. Immigrants were coming into America each day, but there wasnt enough work, shelter, or food for everybody. Thousands of children turned to the streets to survive. These kids were orphans, kids from poor families, and kids with sick, abusive, or alcoholic parents who couldnt take care of their children. People didnt know what to do with all the kids.
One man, named Charles Loring Brace wanted to help the kids. He founded the Childrens Aid Society, which started the orphan trains. Brace did this because he thought there would be families out west who would need children to help on their farms and that these families would learn to love and accept the orphans.
Rodzina is put an orphan train with several other children. She fears that the families out west will only want her for labor and that she will never have a true family again.
Much of this story takes place on the train. The children are stuck to one spot. They dont have a say in where they are going or whom they go with. At each destination, the children are showcased in a town hall. They must stand still while people poke and prod them, checking their teeth and muscles. If an orphan is chosen, he or she is sent to live with the families. Some kids are lucky and get new homes where they can be happy. Others are not so lucky and eventually run away.
I thought that this was a super story because it taught me about something that I didnt know about before. It made me think about how lucky I am to have a family, a home, and a warm coat when many kids have none of these.
Rodzina is faced with many challenges but she is able to learn from her experiences and we learn something as well. In her search for a new home, we learn that a home means many things, but most of all it is where we are loved and accepted for who we are.