In 1924, Connecticut first-grade teacher Gertrude Chandler Warner (1890–1979) wrote the first version of The Boxcar Children, which she republished 18 years later in a revised edition. The novel introduces the four orphaned Alden siblings, who create a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar in the forest. The children eventually move in with their wealthy and kind grandfather, who relocates the boxcar to his backyard so the kids can use it as a playhouse.
Now the Boxcar Children are moving house once again. Random House Children’s Books has acquired rights to the book property from Albert Whitman & Company, and will begin selling the current Boxcar Children titles immediately. Details of the company’s plans to expand the series with new publishing projects, to be released under the Random House Books for Young Readers imprint, will be announced at a later date. Random House did not reveal the purchase price for the property.
Following her debut novel, Warner went on to write 18 more Boxcar Children adventures, after which other authors began contributing to the series. There are currently 160 core Boxcar Children installments and multiple miniseries, for a total of nearly 230 titles in print. Embraced by teachers, parents, librarians, and generations of young readers across the globe, the Boxcar Children books have sold more than 80 million copies worldwide.
“I've had the opportunity over the years, working with Albert Whitman and team, to see firsthand how the Boxcar mysteries inspire, comfort, and entertain young readers,” Barbara Marcus, RHCB president and publisher, said in a statement. “We are so happy to now have the Boxcar series at Random House Children’s Books and look forward to carrying this beloved series forward for children, parents, and educators.”
Pat McPartland and John Quattrocchi, co-owners of Albert Whitman & Company, expressed certainty that the Alden children and their legacy will be in good hands. “Our company has been honored to share Gertrude Chandler Warner’s stories with children for the last six decades,” they said in a joint statement. “We have decided to transition ownership of the Boxcar Children series to Random House Children’s Books. We know they will continue the work of Warner with care and creativity. We feel confident that entrusting Penguin Random House with the beloved Boxcar Children is the right direction for the series and will ensure the stories are shared with future generations of readers.”