The Children's Train takes place in post WWII Italy. Amerigo Speranza, the child of a emotionally distant, poverty stricken single mother in Naples is sent to northern Italy with a group of children to live with communist families for six months. The north was more affluent than the south and the goal was to feed and educate the children. Amerigo's northern family is supportive and encouraging, and he can envision an entirely different life from that he had in Naples. When he returns to his mother and the grinding poverty and hunger, she is jealous of his northern family and takes away a wonderful gift he had received from them. He then makes a decision, the consequences of which cannot be understood by a small boy. He flees Naples back to his northern family and decides to live with and be raised by them. The book then flashes forward to Amerigo, a successful adult, returning to Naples because his mother has died. The Children's Train is well-written and the author does a great job of writing from the perspective of a small boy, and then later, from the perspective of an adult man. The reader understands much more about what is happening than Amerigo does during the first part of the novel. The story is emotional, both sad and hopeful. One of the minor characters asks the question as to why the resources weren't directed to the poor parents of Naples to help them, rather than separating them from their children. It is a good question. The story explores the consequences of economic disparity, of poverty, hunger and of family separation.