Rodzina Clara Jadwiga Anastazya Brodski, a strong and stubborn Polish orphan, leaves Chicago on an orphan train, expecting to be adopted and turned into a slave—or worse, not to be adopted at all. As the train rattles westward, she begins to develop attachments to her fellow travelers, even the frosty orphan guardian, and to believe that there might be good homes for orphans—maybe even for a big, combative Polish girl. But no placement seems right for the formidable Rodzina, and she cleverly finds a way out of one unfortunate situation after another until at last she finds the family that is right for her.
The compelling narrative is laced with wry humor and keen observation, full of memorable characters, and a thoroughly researched Afterword.
Karen Cushman’s acclaimed historical novels include Catherine, Called Birdy, a Newbery Honor winner, and The Midwife’s Apprentice, which received the Newbery Medal. She lives on Vashon Island in Washington State. Visit her online at karencushman.com and on Twitter @cushmanbooks.