100 Best Books for Children ~ Coffin

The next four books on The Hundred Best Books for Children list are titles from Civil War correspondent Charles C. Coffin.

Charles Carleton Coffin was born in New Hampshire in the early 1800s. He became one of the most well-known war correspondents during the Civil War, writing for the Boston Journal under the name “Carleton.” He continued by writing over two dozen stories for young readers, mostly about his experiences during the war or other historical topics.

Homeschool families have long been familiar with the works of Coffin, and you will find his books on many of our reading lists. Jan Bloom in Who Should We Then Read denoted Coffin as a Top Author:

Charles Coffin was born and educated in a small New Hampshire town. He taught himself surveying and civil engineering in the evening, and helped construct the time telegraph line between the Harvard Observatory and Boston. He was also credited with installing the first electric fire-alarm system in Boston.

In 1851 he began writing full-time. He was in Washington, D.C. when the Civil War broke out and was assigned to the Union Army. He was an eye-witness at the Battle of Bull Run. His dispatches under the name “Carleton” were the most eagerly read in the North. He was fearless and audacious in securing his stories. Many times his were the first definite dispatches received. He was ofttimes the only correspondent who diagramed the battles. He was the only reporter to cover all four years of the war. He became a close friend of General Grant and was well liked by all the Union commanders.

Who Should We Then Read

The four books recommended by Baldwin include:

  • Story of Liberty.
  • Old Times in the Colonies.
  • Boys of ’76.
  • Building the Nation.

Story of Liberty

This “Story of Liberty” is a true narrative. It covers a period of five hundred years, and is an outline of the march of the human race from Slavery to Freedom.

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Old Times in the Colonies

THE settlement of our country was the beginning of a new era in human affairs. The people of England, ever since the days of King John, when the barons compelled him to sign the Magna Charta in the meadow of Runnymede, had struggled against tyranny; and when the emigrants sailed across the Atlantic to rear their homes in Virginia and New England, it was the transplanting of liberty to a continent where everything was new, and where the conditions that surrounded them were wholly unlike those of the Old World.

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Boys of ’76

The story of the American Revolution — what our fathers accomplished, their hardships, heroism, and self-denial, in securing the independence of the country and in advancing liberty and happiness throughout the world — will have an interest and charm of its own so long as the desire for freedom exists in the hearts of men.

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Building the Nation

In reading this volume, you will notice that the men who began to Build the Nation had no model by which to fashion it. There never had been a government of the people — never a written Constitution. There were no finger-posts in history to point them to the right way; but they were actuated by a deep and abiding love for liberty, justice, and equal rights, and did what seemed to them best for the general good.

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  • These books are geared for the middle school to high school student. Many families have used Story of Liberty and its sequel, Sweet Land of Liberty, as the basis for high school history. These two books have been republished by Maranatha Publishing.
  • Ask for written narrations after each chapter summarizing the ideas and broader themes.
  • See our ideas for teaching history for more ideas aimed at the older student. You may also be interested in 14 Forms of Writing for the Older Student.
  • Create an author page for Charles Carleton Coffin (along with the other authors in our series).

Charles Carleton Coffin had a face that helped one to believe in God. His whole life was an evidence of Christianity. His was a genial, sunny soul that cheered you. He was an originator and an organizer of happiness. He had no ambition to be rich. His investments were in giving others a start and helping them to win success and joy. He was a soldier of the pen and a knight of truth. He began the good warfare in boyhood. He laid down armor and weapons only on the day that he changed his world. His was a long and beautiful life, worth both the living and the telling. He loved both fact and truth so well that one need write only realities about him. He cared little for flattery, so we shall not flatter him. His own works praise him in the gates.

Charles Carleton Coffin: War Correspondent, Traveller, Author, and Statesman

Additional Resources

Charles Carleton Coffin: War Correspondent, Traveller, Author, and Statesman
Biography in the public domain origin of the above quote.

Author Notebooking Pages {Free Download}
Use this free set to create an author notebook for our 100 Best Books for Children series.

The Hundred Best Books for Children ~ Introduction
The Hundred Best Books for Children

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