Do You Even Boxcar?


When I was a student at Parma Elementary back in the day, I remember seeing The Boxcar Children book in many of my classrooms. I’m not sure that I ever saw anyone read them, but I saw them. Always.

I’ve never read a single page of the series (FAIL).

As I began building my own classroom library many moons ago, students began donating copies of books in The Boxcar Children series. I created a tub for these books and plopped it on the shelf. Rarely did I ever see anyone actually pick up and read an entire Boxcar book. Each year I consider sending the Boxcar books home with my students at the end of the year to free up a little bit of shelf space in my classroom library, but I never did. Partly because I can’t let go to this iconic series, but mostly because the end of the year is so insane that I always forget.

Something crazy is going on in my third grade classroom at Parma Elementary this year. A handful of kids are devouring The Boxcar Children series. I knew this phenomenon had reached crazy hights last night when I read one of my student’s reading journals.

She wrote:

Over the weekend I was reading The Boxcar Children at my house because it is so good. I just couldn’t stop. The more I read the more interesting the Boxcar Children become.

Can the origin of this reading revival be discovered? I believe that it can. Each of our classroom iPads has the reading app EPIC available for my students to use during independent reading. EPIC has thousands of actual books available for kids to read. They have tons of great nonfiction. EPIC even has a few audio books. One of the series they have on audio is The Boxcar Children. About a month ago a couple of girls discovered this and decided that they would listen to The Boxcar Children together. Every day they would get an iPad, plug in their headphones, and press play on a Boxcar Children book at the exact same time so that they could listen together. It was adorable. I didn’t think too much of it, until their reading of The Boxcar Children became a bit of an obsession. If I’ve learned anything about reading in an elementary classroom, it is that once a couple of kids get crazy excited about a series it tends to spread.

I’m about to head to school on this chilly February morning. It brings me great joy that I’ll be entering a room where The Boxcar Children has found a new generation of readers.


3 thoughts on “Do You Even Boxcar?

  1. My 3rd grade teacher read us the 1st one…and I only ever thought there was one until someone gave my son books 2-10 about 9 years ago! 🙂 but that first one stands out in my memory because my (not so favorite I might add) teacher read it to us. I’ve always loved the story, but can’t bring myself to read the series…just the 1st 😉 I’m seeing my Boxcar shelf in the library frequently visited by my 2nd, 3rd & 4th graders. also…there is an animated movie adaptation out right now too. 😉


  2. I recommend you read the first three or four books. The story is really appealing, even though the children’s characters portray them as perfect and overly mature. I think it is the independence they have and how they manage to cope with being homeless until they meet up with their Gfather. I bought Patricia Maclachlan’s prequel that she wrote a few years back. Her book explains what happened to their parents. I did not like it. But I shelve with the series.

    Frankie Moore



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s