Teaching Social Studies Reaction #2
Train to Somewhere, by Eve Bunting offers the travel of fourteen orphans to the New West in order to place them with caring families. It depicts the journey in a coherent manner that brings out the clarity of the problems the children faced. Most importantly, it gives voice to children’s emotions and lays stress on a division of American history.
The book would be extremely ideal for a classroom social studies lesson. The reason is that it incorporates all the emotional turmoil and contains a good story. In a modest captivating manner, it transforms a piece of American history into real vivid occurrences that children can easily understand.
The story falls into History social studies strand. The background of this book is in the past and focuses on events that happened years ago. From the 1850s all the way through to the 1920s, there was a massive transportation of orphans totaling up to 100,000 in hope to get them new homes. Frequently, mothers had to leave their children along in order to earn money. This made the last ones homeless, without family and any belief for a happy life. Fortunately, there were some organizations that tried to solve this problem and support the orphans. In general, the author represents an entire historical event that happened at a certain time in the past.
The book can be used to teach a section of the American history. It clearly explains the harrowing orphan train journeys and the hopes and dreams of the children to have a better life. The event becomes not only a mark in the historical records, but a real story that children can associate with.
Eve Bunting has written numerous books for young readers. A Day’s Work and A Part of the Dream are some of them.
Bunting, E. Train to Somewhere. New York: Clarion, 1996. Print.