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American Girls: Caroline Books In Order

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Publication Order of American Girls: Caroline Books

Meet Caroline (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Caroline's Secret Message (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Surprise for Caroline (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Caroline Takes a Chance (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Caroline's Battle (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Changes for Caroline (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Traitor in the Shipyard (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Catch the Wind (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Smuggler's Secrets (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Kathleen Ernst is an award-winning and best-selling author most of whose books are fiction. She was born in 1972 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but raised in Maryland. Her childhood memories revolve around Cockeysville, Timonium, and Essex where she attended Kenwood High School. Kathleen joined West Virginia University in 1981 where she majored in Forestry and 12 years later earned a master’s degree in History Education and Writing from the Ohio-based Antioch University. Kathleen has over the years worked as a curator, re-enactor, naturalist, historical interpreter, and writer before directing full energy to writing. She has lived in Wisconsin since 1982.

Kathleen has published over 30 books, two of which are non-fiction. She is best known for her young reader books including Caroline Abbott series for American Girl, The Bravest Girl in Sharpsburg, Secrets in the Hills, Danger at the Zoo, and The Runaway Friend. Her children mysteries have brought her many accolades including the Edgar and Agatha Award nominations. She also earned an Emmy in one of her series. She has also authored many books for the Chloe Ellefson Mystery including Death on the Prairie, Heritage of Darkness, Old World Murder, The Light Keeper’s Legacy, and Tradition of Stone.

Caroline Abbott is the historical character created by Kathleen Ernst for the American Girl. Caroline’s stories are based around the War of 1812 fought between the United States and her allies against the United Kingdom backed by her allies. Meet Caroline best introduces the thirteenth of the American girls by describing the onset of the war. Caroline, the only child in her family, is sailing with her father in Lake Ontario when her world turns upside down. A British officer boards the White Gull sloop on which Caroline is sailing, announces that Britain is at war with America, and takes Papa captive. As her father is taken away, Caroline promises him that she will be strong and do anything she can to help Mama until he returns. As the War unfolds, so does Caroline display bravery in each of her undertakings.

Caroline, the thirteenth Character in the American Girl Series, features in six historical books written by Ernst. Kathleen chose a rather less-known backdrop for Caroline, the Sackets Harbor of Lake Ontario in New York. While the real war was intense on Fort McHenry, Sackets Harbor was a good choice for the books not to sound too familiar. The location also happens to have formed the border between the United States and the British.

Revolving around scenes that occurred more than two centuries ago, Caroline sets an example how the contemporary girl child should behave in challenging situations. At the tender age of nine, we see Caroline resolving within her heart to do all she can to keep the promise she made to her father and help her mother. She is an adventurous girl who learns to use her heart as compass when difficult moments come her way. Caroline goes above and beyond to serve those around her without expecting anything in return.

Throughout the American Girl series, Caroline comes out as a brave, independent girl who is an example to today’s girls. She inspires girls to stay steady even in the worst circumstances and make wise decisions before taking action. It is not her custom to stay idle, and picks up her embroidery to keep her hands busy. Caroline likes sewing especially because it keeps her occupied when she is anxious, worried, or upset. The setting revolves around family members including father John Abbott, Mama Abbott, Grandmother Livingstone, cousins Lydia Livingstone and Oliver Livingstone, Uncle Aaron Livingstone and Aunt Martha Livingstone. Other characters include Rhonda Hathaway and Seth Whittles lee, who are friends, neighbor Mrs. Shaw, Hosea Barton and Mr. Tate who are professionals.

Caroline finds pleasure in fishing, sailing on Lake Ontario, and ice skating during winter. Inspired by her ship-making Papa, Caroline dreams of becoming captain and own her ship one day. She is fond of her father and praises him with much enthusiasm. The American Girl series describes Caroline as daring and self-reliant. She also loves her home town of Sacket’s Harbor, which she hardly leaves. Caroline is not only sweet to her friends but her readers too.

Kathleen depicts Caroline as adventurous, brave, heroic, tomboyish, and independent. Her friends consider her as brave because she is never afraid to put her courage into test. She is also known to read the thoughts of others even when they have not said a word about it. Her father considered her flighty, a character she often displays throughout the series.

The books are also keen to capture Caroline’s failures though. Caroline is significantly stubborn and easily offended to the extent of appearing to be foolish. At times she makes rash decisions, a character only overshadowed in later publications after she learns to follow her mind and heart when making decisions. An episode in the series explicitly describes Caroline’s jealousy towards her cousin Lydia. Rhonda, a girl staying with the Abbotts, becomes good friends with Lydia and both sideline Caroline in their activities to Caroline’s disappointment. While we see Caroline as being brave in most of the narratives, sometimes she is frightened and makes mistakes. Neither does Caroline like baking, a chore she usually loathes.

Ernst launches her tale with Meet Caroline, which serves as an introductory of the characters and the surrounding circumstances of the war. It also explains the capture of Papa by the British. Caroline’s Secret Message comes second in the series and discusses how the 1812 war affected children and women. Caroline and Mama make a dangerous crossing across Lake Ontario to the British Port where Papa is prisoner. When Mama is denied entry, Caroline is tasked with taking a secret message to Papa right in the presence of a guard. Mama and the rest can only hope that Caroline will be able to pass the message. But even if she does, will Papa be able to use the message to escape? They only have to wait hopefully. The rest the story is covered in A Surprise for Caroline, Caroline’s Battle, Changes for Caroline and Caroline Takes a Chance.

To celebrate the boldness and bravery of Caroline, the American Girl launched Caroline’s Share the Hero in you in 2012. In the video contest, girls were invited to submit short video clips about times they felt like heroines. Six video clips were then selected based on creativity and fans asked to vote for a finalist. Many retail store launches have also featured Caroline. Caroline has been modeled to a beautiful 18-inch doll featuring light blue eyes, butter blonde hair, and historically accurate clothes matching the style used during Caroline’s setting. Although Caroline has been retired, she remains a true example to the American girl.

Book Series In Order » Characters » American Girls: Caroline

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