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Books: Pasadena One City, One Story

Books: Pasadena One City, One Story


Having written is my idea of perfect happiness. Writing is hard. Having written is delightful.   < Christina Baker Kline, Author

One “bad” habit about my writing is I sometimes start an article before finishing an earlier one, or two!  Life happens & I often get carried away with the flow. Such is the case last evening which brings you this story today: I was gonna finish one but started on a second.  Plus, it doesn’t help that it takes me a minimum of 2-3 hours to write a blog article!  Frustrating.

Some people think I attend a “lot” of events or know “everyone” in Pasadena. Ridiculous, of course not! Maybe everybody “knows” me, but certainly not the former!  Winking smile   However, I can tell you if you’re new to Pasadena or thinking of moving here that there’s plenty to do in our city. Sometimes too much: on some days it can feel like there’s “365 Things To Do in Pasadena” on one day!


Anyhows, one special event I did attend and which some people I happen to “know” were at also was last nights, “Conversation with Author Christina Baker Kline”, at the historic Pasadena Central Library, Wright Auditorium.  Kline is the author of “Orphan Train”,  the 2016 book selection of its annual One City, One Story (1C1S) community reading program. The book was also a N.Y.Times Bestseller.

I met author Kline and saw her riveting visual presentation of the story behind Orphan Train at the library last evening.  This was not my initial impression when I heard the book selected for the 2016 1C1S.  Since, it’s convinced me the Pasadena 1C1S book selection people knew what they were doing!



Pasadena Librarian Jan Sanders introduced Vice-Mayor Gene Masuda to give the introduction & welcome.  Christina Baker Kline waits “in the wings”

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Like my four previous novels, Orphan Train wrestles with questions of cultural identity and family history. <  Kline


Apparently like your scribe, the author needs liquid if she’s going to speak at length!




A main purpose of the 1C1S program is to select a book to deepen the appreciation for reading while linking the city in a common conversation on important issues.


Kline in her visual presentation included locals speak who were related to those who rode the orphan trains

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The author showed numerous fascinating, informative  slides:  Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri were the “most popular” destinations of the Orphan Trains…

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Following Kline’s presentation, Pasadena Librarian Jan Sanders had a brief Q/A with the author, then a few questions from the SRO audience



The bottom line: I highly recommend the novel, based on a true story in American history – the Orphan Train Movement of abandoned children on the East coast to families and/or servitude in the Midwest from 1854-1929 – especially after attending this event!  Reasons for the movement besides abandonment included to provide farm labor and to assist in populating the Midwest.


A book signing closed the event. Pictured is the author signing a book for the terrific Librarian in charge of events, Christine Reeder!




As with the 2015 Pasadena 1C1S author event with Cristina Henriquez for her  The Book of Unknown Americans , the community turned out a packed SRO house – Great! It was a busy evening for me so I was glad I could make it over to the library.  I had a few different seats since as a photographer I was moving the camera around the event.

Who was there:  I recognized, and greeted most, recently retired Mayor Bill Bogaard, his wife Claire & his former Field Rep,  Police Chief Sanchez & his wife, Vice Mayor Masuda & his wonderful Field Rep, the Head Librarian and her great assistant Librarians, retired & current city employees, a KABC TV news journalist who I believe looked like Miriam Hernandez  and was here on her personal time,  that woman of excellence and Pasadena Latino History historian Roberta Martinez, and as I learned today, at least a couple of others I somehow didn’t notice!


Christina Baker Kline with host, Pasadena Head Librarian Jan Sanders

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BIO includes: Christina Baker Kline was born in Cambridge, England, and raised there as well as in the American South and Maine. She is a graduate of Yale, Cambridge, and the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow in Fiction Writing. She has taught fiction and nonfiction writing, poetry, English literature, literary theory, and women’s studies at Yale, NYU, and Drew University, and served as Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University for four years. She is a recipient of several Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowships and Writer-in-Residence Fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She supports a number of libraries and other associations in New Jersey and Maine, and is a member of the Advisory Board for Roots & Wings, a nonprofit that provides support for at-risk adolescent and aged-out foster care youth.


Links for further investigation:

Pasadena Library 1C1S Home Page

One City One Story Train Map

Purchase at Vroman’s  Orphan Train

Facebook:  Christina Baker Kline



Write, write, write. Finish a draft. Revise. Revise again. Keep going even when you want to despair.    < Kline, advice to aspiring writers




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