Title Profile & Character Information


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.

2004  Washington State Book Award

Author Notes
  Karen Cushman was born in Chicago, Illinois. Rodzina is her fifth book. Her first, Catherine, Called Birdy, was a Newbery Honor winner, and her second, The Midwife's Apprentice, was awarded the Newbery Medal. Ms. Cushman is the mother of a grown daughter, Leah. She lives on Vashon Island, in Puget Sound, with her husband, Philip
NameBrodski, Rodzina Clara Jadwiga Anastazya
TraitsPolish American

Coming of age
Fear of the unknown
Life changes
Overcoming adversity
Personal growth
Search for a better life
Orphan train