The Sun Won't Come Out Tomorrow

The Dark History of American Orphanhood


By Kristen Martin

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$24.99 CAD



  1. ebook $18.99 $24.99 CAD
  2. Hardcover $30.00 $40.00 CAD

The real history of being an orphan in America is nothing like the myth, and nothing like the American dream. 

The orphan story has been mythologized: Step one: While a child is still too young to form distinct memories of them, their parents die in an untimely fashion. Step two: Orphan acquires caretakers who amplify the world’s cruelty. Step three: Orphan escapes and goes on an adventure, encountering the world’s vast possibilities.  

The Sun Won't Come Out Tomorrow upends this. Pairing powerful critiques of popular orphan narratives, from Annie to the Boxcar Children to Party of Five,  journalist Kristen Martin explores the real history of orphanhood in the United States, from the 1800s to the present. Martin reveals the mission of religious indoctrination that was at the core of the first orphanages, the orphan trains that took parentless children out West (often without a choice), and the inherent classism and racism that still underlies the United States' approach to child welfare. 

Through a combination of in-depth archival research, memoir (Martin herself lost both her parents when she was quite young), and cultural analysis, The Sun Won't Come out Tomorrow is a compellingly argued, compassionate book that forces us to reconsider autonomy, family, and community. Kristen Martin delivers a searing indictment of America's consistent inability to care for those who need it most.

On Sale
Feb 4, 2025
Page Count
352 pages
Bold Type Books

Kristen Martin

About the Author

Kristen Martin  is a writer and critic based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic, NPR, and elsewhere. She received an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. The Sun Won’t Come Out Tomorrow is her first book.

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