Tuesday, May 01, 2018


A reader wrote to ask me if I've seen Journey on a Runaway Train, which is book one in a new set of books about the Boxcar Children. That series was created by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Journey on a Runaway Train is a 2017 title, written by Dee Garretson and JM Lee.

The description is a clear indicator why someone might ask me about it:
In this all-new very special mini-series, the Aldens have been recruited by a secret society to return lost artifacts and treasures to their rightful locations—all around the world! After finding a painted turtle figurine, the Aldens are introduced to the Silverton family and Reddimus Society, a secret guild whose mission is to return lost artifacts and treasures to the sites they were taken from. The Aldens board a private train to New Mexico to return the turtle to its original home, and they encounter enemies of Reddimus along the way! The trip is a success… but instead of returning home, there’s a last-minute change in plans. The Boxcar Children must continue the mission for the society and deliver more things, all around the globe!

My reaction to that: oh dear.

In the US, there is a law about returning remains and artifacts to the Indigenous people they belong to. That law is the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation (NAGPRA) Act, enacted on November 16, 1990. It came about due to the work of Indigenous people.

So... who is in the "Reddimus Society" in this new series? That matters to me because if not done carefully, this story could be a wreck of appropriation, misrepresentation and erasure. 

Poking around a bit, I see that the Boxcar children are headed to Acoma Pueblo. Again: oh dear!

How did the authors of this story decide that the turtle belongs at Acoma?

I'll see if I can get a copy of the book. When I do, I'll be back with a review.

1 comment:

Ava Jarvis said...

Let's hope the Reddimus Society is the work of Native peoples and includes Native peoples, because every time I read about white folks returning stolen antiquities to their countries of origin without prompting and help by folks from said countries, that shatters my immersion in fiction.