Non-depressing stories about: Orphans!

My fascination with orphans in books is somewhat related to my fascination with boarding schools— basically, no parents around. Not that I don’t love my parents, and not that I don’t think being without them would be horrible, but orphans in books almost always have great adventures that kids with parents never seem to having, and that’s what I was jealous of when I was younger. (Plus they almost always get families/new parents anyway, so it’s fine. It’s FINE.)

Here’s some of my favorite books with orphans:

Do you like books with orphans?

3 thoughts on “Non-depressing stories about: Orphans!”

  1. I think orphans catch the imagination of kids because kids are always told what to do by adults, especially their parents; kids love their parents, but they wonder what it would be like without that authority telling them what to do. (And I think this shows up in books and movies where kids get their wish and then go rescue their family–Labyrinth leaps to mind.)

    I love Harry Potter (generational requirement), and I actually have The Naming on my desk right now, although I won’t get to it anytime soon.

  2. In Marisa de los Santos’ book, Love Walked In, the young protagonist is left on her own without her parents (though they are not dead). To give herself courage, she reviews all the literary orphans she knows and what they did to persevere. It’s a cool moment.

    I agree with Lit Omnivore as to the appeal of orphan books to kids as it plays what-if in a safe way, what if they were responsible for themselves?

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