Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of One April in Boston

The story behind the children’s book that teaches Paul Revere’s Ride and goal setting for kids

Author Ben Edwards and illustrator Cortney Skinner met in 1998 at the Paul Revere House in Boston, where Cortney was cutting authentic 18th century style silhouettes for the public. At that time, Ben was doing research for a children’s book that would tell the story of his family’s connection to Paul Revere. Cortney eventually made some silhouettes for Ben’s book, and his assignment soon expanded to pen and ink illustrations to support the text, and an oil painting for the book’s cover. Ben’s book idea had grown beyond the American Revolution to include connections to the Civil War and an ancestor who made the supreme sacrifice in World War I. The book tells the real story of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride and teaches children the value of goal setting.

The first edition of One April in Boston: The Gift of the Spyglass was released in the fall of 2000. Fifteen years later, Cortney created an additional 26 original pen and ink drawings for the second edition of the book to supplement the 20 he produced for the first edition. In 2020, One April in Boston celebrates its 20th anniversary. In this blog, Ben and Cortney share the stories behind his illustrations, give the reader insight into his artistic process, and introduce plans for the new artwork Walking Boston and Spyglass Books, LLC have commissioned to mark the book’s 20th anniversary.

The Two Nautical Instruments in North Square

Recently installed public art gives visitors a glimpse of Boston’s past and draws inspiration from the children’s book One April in Boston

by Ben Edwards | 01.17.20
In Colonial Boston, the North End was home to mariners and sea captains, one of whom was my sixth great grandfather Captain Benjamin Edwards […] Read More

Seeing the Future — A Gift We All Possess

Setting goals can help turn our visions for the future into reality — but only if we have the courage to take action each day and never quit

by Ben Edwards and Cortney Skinner | 01.14.20
Can we see into the future? Each of us has a concern for what lies ahead. We work hard in the present to bring about a better future […] Read More

My Journey – Student to Working Illustrator

A career with twists and turns that always circled back to a fascination with and a love for history

by Cortney Skinner | 01.06.20
Completing the illustration course at the Art Institute of Boston did not endow me with a degree of any kind, but it did give me the basics in commercial art production […] Read More

Howard Pyle Was My Great-Great Grand Teacher

The art of Illustration is a skill passed down directly or indirectly from illustrators of the past

by Cortney Skinner | 01.03.20
Illustrators are pictorial storytellers. In order to do their work, they also have to be highly imaginative, observant and absorbent human beings who take in all sorts of influences around them […] Read More

Making Silhouettes for One April in Boston

Profile Shades — An ancient art brought into the present

by Cortney Skinner | 12.16.19
When I was first approached in 1999 by Ben Edwards to do some illustrations for his upcoming book One April in Boston, I was asked to create several silhouettes to portray his 18th century Boston ancestors, since there were no surviving likenesses of them. […] Read More

My Journey – Student to Working Illustrator

Creating the Cover Art for One April in Boston

Traditional vs. Digital Painting — How my methods have evolved over the past two decades

by Cortney Skinner | 12.11.19
It was about 20 years ago when Ben Edwards commissioned me to create some silhouettes, pen and ink interior illustrations, and a full color cover painting for his new book, One April in Boston. […] Read More

Buy the Book Here

Direct from the Author
Paul Revere House - Boston
Old North Church - Boston
Old South Meeting House - Boston
Buckman Tavern - Lexington

About This Blog

The Spyglass Blog was created to mark the 20th anniversary of the children’s book One April in Boston. Here the author and illustrator share the stories behind the illustrations, give insight into the artistic process, and introduce related artwork Ben Edwards shares on his Walking Boston private tour. SpyglassBlog.com

The Midnight Ride

Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride comes to life on a Walking Boston private tour through original artwork produced by Cortney Skinner. PaulReveresRide.com