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A Family Apart

Page history last edited by Siri Anderson 13 years, 6 months ago


A Family Apart

 by Joan Lowery Nixon



ISBN number: 978-0-440-22676-5

Grade level: 4th - 6th

Number of pages: 162


Summary of the book:

This story is about a family with six children living in New York City in 1856.  The single mother cannot afford to support the children and makes the ultimate sacrifice to send them on the orphan train with the hope and belief that she is sending them off to a better life.  The children are sent to St. Joseph, Missouri, where they are adopted by various families.  The underlying theme of making sacrifices for the better good of others is laced throughout the book.


Links to Lesson Plans:

This is a Citizen Action Lesson Plan in which students enlist the aide of the school and larger community to help others in need.  A Family Apart_Lesson Plan


This is a Primary Source Lesson Plan in which students will create a Power Point presentation to tell the story of people who traveled on the orphan trains.  A Family Apart_ Primary Source Lesson Plan


This is a Reading Activity for Chapter 2.  A Family Apart_Chapter 2 Reading Activity


Links to Other Resources:

 Teachers at Random, a site connected to Random House Books contains teacher guides to lesson planning ideas developed around literature.  The following site has many ideas across the disciplines that can be developed using the book, "A Family Apart" by Joan Lowery Nixon.



This PBS site contains a large compilation of resources for information on Orphan Trains as well as information to contact PBS to get a copy of the Program Transcript of their documentary on orphan trains.



Third-grade classes in Iowa created an orphan train website.  The "Orphan Train Resources" section has some great resources to learn more information about orphan trains and the children who rode on them.



This site contains a lesson plan where students write a letter from the point of view of a character in the book "A Family Apart".



The following link contains a virtual tutorial to help students in evaluating sites for validity as a research source.




Other Links:

NCSS Ten Themes

Book Title


Social Studies Standards 

This wiki page authored by Toni H

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