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kathleen ernst, caroline abbott, meet caroline an american girl, american girl, sackets harbor new york, war of 1812


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Caroline Abbott leaned over the rail and laughed with delight. "Isn't this wonderful?" she asked her cousin Lydia. Sailing on Lake Ontario was fun any time, but being permitted to come aboard the sloop White Gull on its very first voyage was an extra-special treat. 

Thus begins Meet Caroline, the first of nine books in the award-winning, bestselling series about Caroline, the children's historical character that American Girl asked author Kathleen Ernst to create.

Set during the War of 1812, this story is written for readers age 8 and up who enjoy historical fiction without sex, gore, or explicit violence.

Story Description

Caroline Abbott is doing what she loves most—sailing on Lake Ontario with Papa—when her world turns upside down. A British officer boards their sloop, announces that Britain and America are at war, and takes her father prisoner!

As Papa is led away, Caroline promises him that she will stay strong and steady until he returns. She tries hard to keep her promise by helping Mama run the family's shipyard. Then the British attack her village, and it looks as if the American side is in trouble. Can Caroline stay steady enough to help win the day?

Includes an illustrated "Looking Back" essay about America in 1812. This story was released as a 104-page book in softcover and hardcover formats, and in ebook versions. All are now out-of-print, but this story is still available (see Where to Buy box above for details). 

What Others Are Saying


Image of Mom's Choice Gold Award. Gold Award from Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA), an international awards program that recognizes authors, companies, and others for creating quality, family-friendly media, products and services.  more>>
Image of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award. Platinum Award from the children's consumer organization Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, which provides independent reviews by child development experts Joanne and Stephanie Oppenheim.  more>>
Image of Council for Wisconsin Writers Award logo.  Tofte/Wright Children's Literature Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, a community of writers, poets and educators dedicated to recognizing oustanding work by Wisconsin authors. more>>

About the Author

Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst writes award-winning mysteries, historical fiction, and non-fiction for adults and young readers.

Her work has earned numerous honors, including two lifetime writing achievement awards, an Emmy for educational television, and an Edgar Allan Poe and multiple Agatha Christie mystery award nominations.

To date nearly 1.8 million audio, ebook, and print copies of Kathleen's thirty-eight published books have been purchased. more>>

Related Blog Posts

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

Baking Bread With Caroline

Photo of ingredients for making sourdough bread.  When I was a kid, I read about a girl in colonial times whose family had kept a crock of sourdough going from generation to generation. I’ve been fascinated with the idea of making bread with sourdough starter ever since.  more>>

Brick Bakeoverns

Author Kathleen Ernst working as an interpreter at Old World Wisconsin cirac 1983.


After I posted instructions for making sourdough bread starter from scratch—just as Caroline Abbott might have done—several readers asked about the type of oven Caroline would have used.  She and Grandmother used...  more>>

A Sloop For Caroline

Author Kathleen Ernst at the tiller of the sloop Friends Good Will belonging to the Michigan Maritime Museum. Readers will quickly discover that Caroline Abbott, the 1812 character I created for American Girl, loves sailing. Caroline’s family lives on the shore of mighty Lake Ontario, and Papa is a...  more>>

Meet Caroline – And Her Home Town

kathleen ernst, author, sites and stories blog post, meet caroline - and her home town, sackets harbor new york, lake ontario, Are you ready to meet Caroline Abbott? At long last, the 1812 character I created for American Girl is launching into the world! All six books are now available. Caroline Abbott lives in Sackets Harbor, New York. The village is on the...  more>>

Caroline Abbott’s Setting Revealed!

kathleen ernst, caroline abbott, american girl, sackets harbor, 1812 You know her name. You know her year. Now discover more about American Girl’s newest historical character!  The company has revealed the Caroline doll and where her story takes place — Sackets Harbor, New York...  more>>

Creating Caroline Abbott, An American Girl

kathleen ernst, caroline abbott, sophie the cat Lots of you have already heard the latest news: Caroline Abbott’s stories are set in 1812! That’s all I’m able to say about her for now. What I can do is tell you a little about the process for creating Caroline and her world...  more>>

American Girl and Me

Kathleen Ernst, Old World Wisconsin, 1982 I had a marvelous time writing six books about Caroline. While I can’t tell you anything more about her yet, I can answer one of the most common questions I hear from readers:  ”How did you get started writing for American Girl?”...  more>>

Where to Buy

American Girl no longer sells this title in printed or ebook formats, but you do have options for acquiring this story in print.

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 single new book: Captain of the Ship.

2. New and used copies of Meet Caroline are widely available for purchase online.

3.  'As New' softcover and hardcover copies of Meet Caroline are available for purchase—signed and personalized as per your wishes—directly from Kathleen. Request a quote by clicking HERE.

Author's Note

In many ways Meet Caroline was the most challenging of the Caroline books to write.

After many weeks of research, and thinking, I was coming to know Caroline in my imagination. But how could I present her to readers?

How could I introduce her personality, her challenges, her big dreams? How could I best describe her setting? And most importantly, how could I manage those things—and still tell an exciting story?

After many drafts, American Girl and I are happy with the result. I hope you will be happy as well! 

Book Goodies

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Partial image of cover page of "Caroline Abbott Learning Guide" prepared by American Girl and the Smithsonian Institute. LEARNING GUIDE
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Caroline's Favorite Activity

In Meet Caroline readers discover that Caroline is happiest when sailing with her papa on Lake Ontario. Her joy has been captured in this beautiful illustration by artist Robert Papp.

To see a larger version of this scene aboard the sloop White Gull, click on the illustration below.

Papa & Caroline - Lake Ontario - 1812 

Talking About Caroline

The Library of Congress invited author Kathleen Ernst to speak about Caroline Abbott and read from Meet Caroline at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC. You can start the video of Kathleen's 19 minute program in the Target Children's Tent by clicking on the photo below.