By Karen Cushman

Clarion Books, Hardcover, 9780618133512, 224pp.

Publication Date: March 1, 2003


Rodzina Clara Jadwiga Anastazya Brodski is the new face in Karen Cushman’s gallery of unforgettable heroines. One of a group of orphans, 12-year-old Rodzina boards a train on a cold day in March 1881. She’s reluctant to leave Chicago, the only home she can remember, and she knows there’s no substitute for the family she has lost. She expects to be adopted and turned into a slave—or worse, not to be adopted at all.

As the train rattles westward, Rodzina unwittingly begins to develop attachments to her fellow travelers, even the frosty orphan guardian, and to accept the idea 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 bad situation after another, until at last she finds the family that is right for her.

Once again, Karen Cushman brings us a compelling story that is thoroughly researched, full of memorable characters, and told with wry humor and keen observation by an absolutely captivating narrator. Afterword.

About the Author

Karen Cushman was born in Chicago, Illinois and lives now on Vashon Island west of Seattle, Washington. She received an M.A. in human behavior and one in museum studies. Ms. Cushman has had a lifelong interest in history. She says, "I grew tired of hearing about kings, princes, generals, presidents. I wanted to know what ordinary life was like for ordinary young people in other times." Research into medieval English history and culture led to the writing of her first two novels, the Newbery Honor book CATHERINE, CALLED BIRDY and the Newbery Medal-winner THE MIDWIFE'S APPRENTICE. She is also the author of MATILDA BONE, THE BALLAD OF LUCY WHIPPLE and, most recently, RODZINA.

Praise For Rodzina

"A natural for American history or social studies classes...especially interesting as a women's history title...a great story." ALA BOOKLIST, STARRED REVIEW Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"An engaging, well-fleshed-out heroine...narrative voice is by turns curious, resentful, humorous, and sad...a comfortable and informative read" BULLETIN FOR THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"...story is undemanding and engaging, rolling along with the journey...intriguing cover art...a contemporary feel without anachronism." KIRKUS REVEIWS Kirkus Reviews

"Engaging characters, a vivid setting, and a prickly but endearing heroine... first-person narrative captures... personality and spirit...poignancy, humor." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, STARRED REVIEW School Library Journal, Starred

"Rodzina is prickly, stubborn, and heart-sore but she's also honest, likable and smart...Enough unpredictability to nicely unsettle expectations." THE HORN BOOK Horn Book

"marvelous cover irresistable...her [Cushman's] choice of subjects is always excellent...a delightful, thoroughly Polish, heroine." NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW The New York Times Book Review