The Boxcar Children: A Lesson In Thankfulness

Oh the difference a day can make! On October 31st, the stores are filled with last minute deals on candy, costumes and creepy displays. Move forward a day to November 1st, and those same stores have magically transformed into a holiday shopping wonderland.  Walking through aisles of cheerful snowman and glittering lights you can’t help but feel that something’s been overlooked.  Thanksgiving, it seems, doesn’t get the attention that most other holidays enjoy.  And I suppose in a way it makes sense.  A holiday that celebrates being thankful for what you have probably doesn’t translate into big sales.

Well… I am thankful for Thanksgiving!  And while it’s good to have a day set aside to remind us of how much we have been blessed with I’ve always tried to let little, everyday things remind me to be thankful too.  I remember reading The Boxcar Children when I was younger and wondering if I would have been as happy as they were to turn an old, abandoned boxcar into a home.  My answer was no!  It would have been a fun place to play but I was certainly grateful that I had a nice house to go to sleep in at night.


“What a good place this is!” said Violet.  “It is just like a warm little house with one room.” (page 30)

With both of their parents dead, four children: Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny decide to run away to avoid having to live with their grandfather.  They’ve never met him but they are sure that he won’t like them.  As they head out on their own, they soon discover an abandoned boxcar in the woods… and decide to call it home.  When they start to explore the area, they eventually make new friends that help them out and lead them to a real home and family.

The children laid all their treasures, even the wheels, on a board, and the girls carried the board back to the boxcar between them. (page 52)

My favorite part of the book has always been when they are first setting up their “house”.  I admired how resourceful they were in finding or creating the things they needed, the dinners they were able to make and how they even managed to build a swimming pool! I read many of the books in The Boxcar Children series over the years, but the first one has always been my favorite!  And even as I read it as an adult, it still makes me think of how much I have to be thankful for.

From The Cover: One warm night four children stood in front of a bakery.  No one knew them.  No one knew where they had come from.
Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are orphans.  Determined to make it on their own, they set out to find a safe place to live.
They discover an old, red boxcar that provides shelter from a storm.  Against all odds, they make it into their home – and become The Boxcar Children!

This Edition: Paperback published by Albert Whitman & Company

You Might Also Like: The Mandie Series by Lois Gladys Leppard


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