One April in Boston

Travel back in time to a week in April 1775 and experience the events that lead to the birth of freedom and the founding of a new nation.

One April in Boston is the story of several generations of an American family. The 120 page book contains pen and ink illustrations created by Cortney Skinner and 35 full color photographs of original documents, paintings and artifacts – see video below. It is written for children ages 10-13, and is also available on CD.

One April in Boston revisits the life of 10-year-old Ben Edwards, a boy who actually lived in Colonial Boston at the time of the American Revolution. An orphan at the age of eight, he was raised by his Aunt Sarah and his Uncle Alexander Edwards, a member of the Sons of Liberty. Ben grew up at an exciting time and his uncle’s patriotic connections gave special meaning to the events he experienced.

Ben dreams of a life full of adventure. He wants to be a mariner, just like his grandfather, an early Boston sea captain. Ben puts this goal in writing and never gives up on it. Throughout the story, he carries a spyglass that once belonged to his seafaring ancestor. Ben believes he can glimpse the future through its lens. All dismiss his claim except for his cousin Betsey. She is certain that Ben can truly see images of things to come through his spyglass.

In One April in Boston, you’ll meet Ben, his sister Sally, and cousin Rebecca, and discover his passion for the sea. You’ll encounter his Aunt Sarah and Uncle Alex, a cabinetmaker, and learn about his involvement in the Sons of Liberty. You’ll light the signal lanterns with Robert Newman and follow silversmith Paul Revere on his famous Midnight Ride to Lexington. Finally, you’ll stand beside Ben and his cousin Betsey as they hear the Declaration of Independence being read for the first time in Boston.

The story journeys through a timeline of American history that includes connections to the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and World War I. The CD contains a wonderful audio version of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address performed by Jim Getty. Getty’s voice is that of the 16th President in the A&E program Abraham Lincoln; A Biography and he recites the Gettysburg Address each year at ceremonies held at Soldiers National Cemetery.

According to family legend, in 1905 the spyglass was passed on to Ben’s great-great-grandson, Philip Edwards, who glimpses his own future through it. You’ll follow Phil as he travels to Boston in 1909 to learn more about his ancestors. In 1917, Phil has a commitment he must keep. He kisses his sweetheart Ella goodbye and goes to France to fight for his country. What happens next is sure to leave a lasting impression on every young person and patriotic American who reads this book.

At the conclusion of the story you’ll learn what became of Ben’s spyglass and discover where it can be found today. You’ll leave with a new found appreciation for the choices and sacrifices made by patriotic Americans from the time of the American Revolution to the present day.

One April in Boston is the result of the author’s six-year search for his family’s history. In the second part of the book, he shares the highlights of that search (which began with only a few clues) and tells readers how they can discover their own families’ stories.

Video link: One April in Boston (embedded above)
Video link: Biography: Abraham Lincoln – Full Episode (featuring the voice of Jim Getty)

Testimonials for the Book

What people are saying about One April in Boston

One April in Boston is a carefully crafted, meticulously researched, wonderfully illustrated, touching family history. It tells the story of the Edwards family from Boston’s earliest days to WWI weaving in their connections to famous families including the Lincolns and the Reveres. The book and the CD are both rich resources for teachers and parents who are interested in making history engaging for children.

Nina Zannieri
Director
Paul Revere Memorial Association


Ben Edwards has, with great pride, made our nation’s history very personal and he has connected his ancestry with noted historical figures and some significant events. Young readers and listeners may well become excited about getting their respective families into like projects.

Jim Getty
National Speaker and Lincoln Presenter
A. Lincoln’s Place
Gettysburg, PA


By now I have finished the book and it is just enchanting. I love the serious but interesting tone, and the idealism and patriotism in it. I think it is one of those books written for children, but it has the intelligence of a mature person’s presentation. People of any age can enjoy it. There is some whimsy, but it is still formally written. It has authenticity on every page, and the truth of it is so welcome in these days of “docu-drama” fantasies by people with an agenda or overworked imaginations.

Mary Kirby
Whitman, MA


This book is the greatest. What a way to present imagination to children who need an opportunity to let their imaginations soar these days. I love reading children’s books and this one was exciting and fun. It’s at the top of my list. Good Luck.

Anna B. Bulger-MacDonald
Reading Program Committee
Rock Hill Elementary School
Wallingford, CT


Well done. Size and quality – great. Provides a great view of Boston. Materials can be adjusted and geared to different levels and to individual students. Great summation at the end of the book. Please send information in April for orders.

Cornelius McGreal
Principal
Powder House Community School
Somerville, MA


The story contains some different features not found in other historical fiction. I really liked the additional sections at the end. The quality of the documents, photos, etc. is outstanding. The idea of setting a goal ties in nicely with our school wide conferencing model. I like the quality of the book – pages, type, etc!

Penny Jewett
Library Media Specialist
Fairhaven Middle School
Bellingham, Washington


I’ll share this copy with my fifth grade teachers. I think it would be something they could read before they walk the Freedom Trail each spring. I was impressed with the book, especially the inclusion of the documents and writer’s process in researching the historical facts.

Kathleen Yonkus
LA / Social Studies Dept. Head
Lynnfield Middle School
Lynnfield, MA