American Girl Publishing

kathleen ernst, caroline abbott, a surprise for caroline, american girl, sackets harbor new york, war of 1812


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This is the third story in the bestselling, award-winning Caroline Abbott series. It is also Kathleen's eleventh children's historical fiction book for American Girl, and her twentieth published book.

This story is written for readers age 8 and up who enjoy historical fiction without sex, gore, or explicit violence.

Story Description

Caroline imagined it would be great fun to have two girls staying at her house for the winter. But her friend Rhonda Hathaway and her cousin Lydia are both twelve, and sometimes they seem to be better friends with each other than with Caroline.

Worse, they'd rather stay inside styling hair than go skating and sledding! Nothing Caroline tries seems to change things, not even the special Christmas gift she gives Rhonda. Finally, hurt feelings lead Caroline to make a very rash decision—one that puts all three girls on very thin ice!

Includes an illustrated "Looking Back" essay about Growing Up in 1812.

This story is available as a 96-page printed book in softcover and hardcover, and for Adobe eBook-capable devices, including the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Kobo eReader, and for the Amazon Kindle.

About the Author

Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst writes award-winning mysteries and historical fiction for adults and young readers. Her work has earned numerous honors, including multiple Edgar and Agatha mystery award nominations, and an Emmy for children's educational programming.

To date readers have purchased over 1.7M printed, ebook, and audio copies of Kathleen's thirty-five published books. more>>

Related Blog Posts

Enjoy the author's insights about the story, characters, and settings.

Caroline's Winter Fun  

Cover art from the Caroline Abbott American Girl book "A Surprise For Caroline" by Kathleen Ernst. Do you like winter? Caroline Abbott does. I do too, which made the third book of the Caroline series, A Surprise For Caroline, a lot of fun to write. When the book opens, Caroline is facing...  more>>

Caroline Abbott and Me 

Author Kathleen Ernst as a child, sliding down a hill on a winter's day. Photo by Henry Ernst. A young reader named Breanna once asked me a wonderful question: “When you write one of the American Girl stories, do you try to remember what it was like when you were a kid?” I explained that... more>>

Team Caroline 

kathleen ernst, caroline abbott, american girl, children's historical fiction, sackets harbor new york, lake ontario, war of 1812, sites and stories blog, team caroline, Have you ever thought about how many people are involved with producing the American Girl books, dolls, and accessories? It takes a whole team to see such a big project through from idea to publication...  more>>

Where To Buy

American Girl no longer sells this title in printed or electronic versions, but you do have three options.

1.  The first three books in this award-winning series—Meet Caroline, Caroline's Secret Message, and A Surprise For Caroline—have been combined by American Girl into a new single book entitled Captain of the Ship: A Caroline Classic Volume I.

2. New and used copies of A Surprise For Caroline are available for purchase online from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

3.  'As New' softcover and hardcover copies of A Surprise For Caroline are available for purchase—signed and personalized—directly from the author. Request a quote by clicking HERE.

Author's Note

Even during war-times, kids need to have fun. I thought it would be fun to write a winter story that showcased how joyfully many people greeted this season in northern New York.

Days were dark and sometimes very cold, and deep snows often fell on Sackets Harbor. But winter doesn’t keep Caroline indoors! She loves skating, sledding, and other outdoor games … even if things don’t always go as planned. 

Book Goodies

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Partial image of the cover of the "Caroline Abbott Learning Guide" created by Americn Girl and the Smithsonian Institution. LEARNING GUIDE
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Christmas 1812 at the Abbott's Home 

kathleen ernst, caroline abbott, a surprise for caroline, american girl, sackets harbor new york, lake ontario, war of 1812, illustrator robert papp,