Sent west on an "orphan train" when their mother can no longer care for them, Emily and her brother, James, are separated in Omaha, but Emily is befriended by a hobo who helps her find her way back to Omaha to look for James.
After his father is killed in the Civil War, Alex travels on an orphan train and is chosen by a young couple, the O'Learys. He later learns that Mr. O'Leary paid to have someone else fight for him during the war.
Arriving in Texas on an "orphan train," Hannah Green is taken in by a husband and wife who need help on their ranch, and Hannah begins to learn the skills necessary to be a veterinarian.
Unhappy living on a plantation after being sent to Virginia in 1858 on an "orphan train," Danny Murphy decides to return to New York City and accompanies two runaway slave children on their dangerous journey north.
A boy from New York is sent west on an "orphan train" to Illinois, where he becomes an indentured servant to a family who teaches him how to be a farmer.
Fourteen-year-old Jonathan receives a message from a fish while diving in Hawaii and becomes concerned about ocean pollution.
Sixth-grader Patrick tries desperately to keep a secret from his parents, teachers, and friends--that he is unable to read.