Orphan of Ellis Island
Elvira Woodruff

Book cover image

Narrated By: Lloyd James

Duration: 3 hours and 23 minutes

What to expect

Dominic Cantori is an orphan. Ashamed of his situation, he avoids making friends for fear of exposing his terrible secret. One day on a class trip to Ellis Island, a tour guide asks everyone about their families. Terrified of having to answer, Dominic immediately flees from the class and hides in a closet, where he falls asleep for hours.

When he wakes up, the museum is deserted. Lonely and afraid, he picks up one display telephone after another, listening to the recorded voices of immigrants who describe their lives in faraway countries and their journeys to Ellis Island. To Dominic's surprise, the voice of an old Italian immigrant speaks directly to him! Before he knows it, he's transported back in time—to Italy in 1908. There, he unlocks the door to his past and discovers just what it feels like to be loved by his own family.


Children’s / Teenage fiction: Family and home stories, Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: Adoption / fostering, Children’s / Teenage fiction: Historical fiction, Children’s / Teenage fiction: Fantasy, Children’s / Teenage fiction: General fiction, Children’s / Teenage social issues: Migration and refugees

Listen to a sample

“Easy to read and hard to put down, this convincing novel gives a poignant and believable picture of the lives and motivations of some of this country’s immigrants, and of one boy who learns about himself…An enjoyable and informative tale.”

School Library Journal

“Sheds light on the values and experiences of Italian immigrants, with touches of humor and an easy-to-read style. An author’s note at the end provides a thoughtful bridge from real life to fiction.”


“Woodruff’s well-researched novel beautifully describes the similarities between an orphan’s and an immigrant’s search for a home.”