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By Jessica Greco
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Camden County College is set to host a book discussion of Orphan Train on April 6. Orphan Train was written by Christina Baker Kline and selected for the 2015 One Book, One Philadelphia, which is an annual project with the goals of promoting literacy and unity within the community.

Camden County College Librarian Susan L’Esperance holds a copy of “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline. By Jessica Greco, CCC Journalism Program


As Camden County College’s coordinator for One Book, One Philadelphia and a longtime supporter of the project, Professor Lis Bass will conduct the session on the Blackwood campus. “CCC Professor Lis Bass has supported this initiative for several years and scheduled a book discussion about the book on the Camden campus. I invited her to lead a similar discussion on the Blackwood campus,” said Barbara Laynor, director of library services at Camden County College.

The book reveals the history of orphaned, homeless children who wandered the streets of New York City and other areas of the East in the early 1900s and were taken by train to Midwest families. The book highlights the journey of Vivian Daly, a 90-year-old Irish woman’s memories of the orphan train when she was a child and her life that came of it. Readers will experience an intertwining of two lives, shaped by the orphan trains that led these children to their mysterious fates.

“Every year they choose a book that meets a number of criteria. It needs to be a well-written, well-crafted book that deals with ideas worth discussing,” Bass said. “This year, the author looks at a piece of American history that is little known. Some of the children had good experiences and were adopted, but many were used as cheap labor, exploited and not educated.”

The book discussion attendees will be welcomed to share their perspectives on the book. “I try to make sure everyone talks because that makes a discussion sparkle like a many-faceted diamond,” Bass said. “Everyone sees things with their own light and therefore the whole group benefits from hearing other interpretations and connections to the text.”

If you are interested in reading the book and attending the book discussion, check the Camden County College Library catalog to see where it is available to borrow.

The Orphan Train book discussion will take place 2 p.m. April 6 in Conference Room 002 of the Blackwood campus library. Admission is free and there is no need to RSVP for the event. For more information, contact Laynor at blaynor@camdencc.edu or 856-374-4923.

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