One April in Boston
Listen to an Excerpt from the Children’s Book
The story of one family’s gift passed down from the time of the American Revolution. Fully illustrated, 256 pages.
One April in Boston is a children’s book unlike any other you have ever read. Written for ages 10-13, it teaches American history, the power of imagination, and the value of goal setting. In this unique book you will learn the real story of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride; witness the first shots of the American Revolution; visit the Paul Revere House in 1909; and much more. At the bottom of this page you can listen to an excerpt from the “Independence” chapter and experience what it was like for the characters in the story (the author’s ancestors) to attend the reading of the Declaration of Independence in Boston on July 18, 1776.
After researching his Boston ancestors for six years, author Ben Edwards has crafted a tale that not only tells their story by tying in real connections to Paul Revere and Abraham Lincoln, but honors his relative Private Philip Edwards by revealing the gift he gave to the neighborhood children before leaving for France to fight in World War I and passing into legend.
When the story begins in April 1775, 10-year-old Ben Edwards carries a spyglass that once belonged to his grandfather, an early Boston sea captain. Ben believes he can glimpse the future through its lens. His goal is to work on a sailing ship and see the world. Can the spyglass and a member of the Sons of Liberty help Ben on his journey? Will his predictions about the future come true? By reading the book you’ll discover that Ben’s gift is something we all possess, a power that can help you on your own life’s journey—if you believe in it.
Listen to an Excerpt from the “Independence” Chapter
Experience the reading of the Declaration of Independence in Boston on July 18, 1776
Uncle Alex, Ben, and Betsey attend the reading of the Declaration of Independence
On the afternoon of July 18, Uncle Alex has made plans to attend a gathering near Dock Square. He feels it will be an event of great importance and surely one that his young nephew should see. Ben is always excited to go places with his uncle and very agreeable to the invitation.
As the two begin to walk toward Dock Square, Ben’s cousin Betsey races out of the Edwards home and follows them. She yells out to her cousin, “You forgot this, Ben!” Betsey runs up to him with his spyglass.
“Thanks, Betsey,” says Ben.
Betsey turns to Uncle Alex and says, “Can I come, too, Uncle Alex?”
Her uncle smiles and responds, “Surely you can.”
When they arrive at Dock Square, they follow others down Shrimpton’s Lane to King Street. A large crowd is assembled here near the Town House.
Young Ben grows excited. He says, “Uncle, what is happening?”
Betsey, surrounded by people, calls out above the noise, “Uncle, I can’t see anything.”
Uncle Alex lifts her above the crowd and comments, “My dear Betsey, you’re not as light as you used to be.”
Then, from the second floor of the Town House, a door swings open, and Colonel Thomas Crafts steps out onto the balcony. The enthusiastic crowd cheers. With a voice strong and loud, he begins to speak.
“Fellow citizens of Boston, I now read the recent declaration adopted by Congress in Philadelphia, July 4, 1776.” The crowd roars as he continues. “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another …” Ben watches the events through the lens of his spyglass. He soon hears “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As the reading continues, Ben notices a flag waving in the breeze above the Town House. It contains a circle of 13 stars in a blue field, surrounded by 13 alternating red and white stripes. No one else can see it but Ben. It is visible only through the lens of his spyglass. Had he seen this before? Could it be a future symbol for this new nation? Thirteen stars and stripes for the 13 United States?
As the final lines of the Declaration of Independence are being read, Ben gets one more vision through the lens of his spyglass. This one is not for his new country, but for his cousin. Betsey had been patient as she waited for clues about her future. She would ask Ben each week, but he never had anything to tell her. How he hated to disappoint her. Now he had something. It didn’t make sense, but that didn’t matter. Betsey’s future would be linked to the following three things: a tall man with whiskers, the number 16, and the name Lincoln. Ben is certain of it.
When the speech ends, the crowd erupts with applause and shouts of “God save our American States” fill the air. Artillery pieces fire, bells ring, and there is a great celebration. Uncle Alex lowers Betsey to the ground, and Ben tells her about her future. Later this day, the royal symbols of the lion and unicorn are removed from the Town House and burned in a bonfire in Dock Square. King Street will soon be renamed State Street, and the Town House will be called the State House. For now, Uncle Alex gathers the children and explains what they have just seen. “Today is a glorious day!” he proclaims. “We have all witnessed the birth of freedom and the beginning of our new nation.”
The children follow their uncle as the crowd begins to leave.
On the way home, Betsey holds out her hands and says, “I’m tired, Uncle Alex. Can you pick me up?” Alexander reaches down and elevates his 10-year-old niece to a safe perch on his broad shoulders. Betsey asks, “Am I too heavy, Uncle?”
Alexander pauses for a moment and then responds, “Betsey, you’ll never be too heavy for me to carry.”
Betsey smiles and then whispers, “I love you, Uncle.”
One they walk through the cobblestone streets of Boston, Ben clutching his spyglass and Betsey clutching her Uncle Alex. In a matter of moments, all three disappear around a bend in the road.