Kaler, James (1848 - 1912)

Genre: Children's Literature, Non-Fiction

James Otis Kaler, born in Winterport, wrote adventure and patriotic biographies that had great appeal for his boy readers. He wrote more than 150 children's books, many of which were in series and intended for classroom use. He used two pseudonyms, James Otis for most of his books, and Amy Prentice for books written for young readers.

At 13, Kaler left home to become a reporter in Boston. When he was only 16, he provided news coverage of Civil War battles and events. He continued in the newspaper profession as a writer and editor and then in 1881 published the book for which he is best known, Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks With the Circus. The book has remained in print and is available as a book on tape and was also produced by Disney as a movie in 1960.

In 1898, Kaler returned to Maine to become the first superintendent of schools for the city of South Portland that had just separated from Cape Elizabeth. The city later named an elementary school in his honor. In the early 1970s, Kaler's sons and grandchildren presented the city with a collection of Kaler manuscripts, books, and letters. The materials are located in the South Portland Public Library and can be viewed by scholars and interested readers.

In 1896, Kaler anonymously published The Story of American Heroism, a collection of letters written to him by Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor winners.
Extracts from the letters were extensively quoted in Joseph B. Mitchell's The Badge of Gallantry; Recollections of Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Winners. (1968)

Selected Bibliography

  • Tim and Tip (1883)
  • An Emperor's Son (1884)
  • Left Behind (1885)
  • Silent Pete (1886)
  • The Castaways (1888)
  • Little Joe (1888)
  • A Runaway Brig (1888)
  • Jack the Hunchback (1892)
  • Josiah in New York (1893)
  • Teddy (1893)
  • The Search for the Silver City (1893)
  • Jenny Wren's Boarding House (1893)
  • The Adventures of a Country Boy at a Country Fair (1893)
  • The Boys' Revolt (1894)
  • Chasing a Yacht (1894)
  • An Island Refuge; Casco Bay in 1676 (1895)
  • With Lafayette at Yorktown (1895)
  • Ezra Jordan's Escape from the Massacre at Fort Loyall (1895)
  • Neal, The Miller, A Son of Liberty (1895)
  • The Boys of 1745 at the Capture of Louisbourg (1895)
  • How Tommy Saved the Barn (1895)
  • Andy's Ward (1895)
  • Jerry's Family (1895)
  • The Boy Captain (1896)
  • Wrecked on Spider Island (1896)
  • Under the Liberty Tree (1896)
  • On Schedule Time (1896)
  • Admiral J. of Spurwink (1896)
  • A Short Cruise (1896)
  • Teddy and Carrots, Two Merchants of Newspaper Row (1896)
  • At the Siege of Quebec (1897)
  • The Wreak of the Circus (1897)
  • With Washington at Monmouth (1897)
  • Sarah Dillard's Ride (1898)
  • The Boys of 98 (1898)
  • The Capture of the Laughing Mary (1898)
  • The Charming Sally, Privateer Schooner of New York (1898)
  • The Cruise of the Comet (1898)
  • Joel Harford (1898)
  • An Amateur Fireman (1898)
  • Dick in the Desert (1898)
  • With Warren At Bunker Hill (1898)
  • When Israel Putnam Served the King (1898)
  • Morgan, the Jersey Spy (1898)
  • A District Message Boy and a Necktie Party (1898)
  • A Traitor's Escape (1898)
  • Captain Tom (1899)
  • Telegraph Tom's Venture (1899)
  • Christmas at Deacon Hackett's (1899)
  • Chased Through Norway (1899)
  • Amos Dunkel, Oarsman (1899)
  • At the Siege of Havana (1899)
  • With the Swamp Fox (1899)
  • Corporal €˜Lige's Recruit (1899)
  • With Perry On Lake Erie (1899)
  • The Life Savers (1899)
  • Down the Slope (1899)
  • A Tory Plot (1899)
  • When Dewey Went To Manila (1899)
  • The Life of John Paul Jones (1900)
  • Armed Ship America (1900)
  • Aunt Hannah and Seth (1900)
  • The Defense of Fort Henry (1900)
  • With Preble at Tripoli (1900)
  • When We Destroyed the Gaspee (1901)
  • With the Regulators (1901)
  • Larry Hudson's Ambition (1901)
  • Inland Waterways (1901)
  • Lobster Catchers (1901)
  • With Porter in the Essex (1901)
  • The Story of Pemaquid (1902)
  • The Cruise of the Enterprise (1902)
  • Reuben Green's Adventures at Yale (1902)
  • With Rodgers on the President (1903)
  • Defending the Island; a Story of Bar Harbor in 1758 (1904)
  • With the Treasure-Hunters (1903)
  • The Minute Boys of the Mohawk Valley (1905)
  • When Washington served the King (1905)
  • Joy at the Fair (1906)
  • The Light Keepers (1906)
  • Commodore Barney's Young Spies (1907)
  • Aboard the Hylow on Sable Island Bank (1907)
  • The Wreck of the Ocean Queen (1907)
  • The Cruise of the Phoebe (1908)
  • Afloat in Freedom's Cause (1908)
  • Two Stowaways Aboard the Ellen Maria (1908)
  • The Sarah Jane, Dickey Dalton, Captain: a Story of Tugboating in Portland Harbor (1909)
  • The Minute Boys of New York City (1909)
  • Calvert of Maryland: A Story of Lord Baltimore's Colony (1910)
  • Mary of Plymouth: A Story of the Pilgrim Settlement (1910)
  • Peter of New Amsterdam: A Story of Old New York (1910)
  • Richard of Jamestown: A Story of the Virginia Colony (1910)
  • Ruth of Boston: A Story of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1910)
  • Stephen of Philadelphia: A Story of the Penn's Colony (1910)
  • Mr. Stubbs's Brother: a Sequel to Toby Tyler (1910)
  • The Minute Boys of Boston (1910)
  • The Story of Old Falmouth (1910)
  • Geography of Maine (1910)
  • The Wireless Station at Silver Fox Farm (1910)
  • With Porter in the Essex (1910)
  • With the Regulators (1910)
  • Old Ben, The Friend of Toby Tyler and Mr Stubb's Brother (1911)
  • With Sherman to the Sea (1911)
  • Adventures in Mexico (1911)
  • Boy Scouts in the Maine Woods (1911)
  • The Camp on Indian Island (1911)
  • Hunting in Africa (1911)
  • Raising the Pearl (1911)
  • "Wanted", and Other Stories (1912)
  • The Wreck of the Princess (1912)
  • Hannah of Kentucky: A Story of the Wilderness Road (1912)
  • Benjamin of Ohio: A Story of the Settlement of Marietta (1912)
  • Seth of Colorado: A Story of the Settlement of Denver (1912)
  • Antoine of Oregon: A Story of the Oregon Trail (1912)
  • Martha of California: A Story of the California Trail (1913)
  • Philip of Texas: A Story of Sheep Raising in Texas (1913)
  • The Roaring Lions (1913)
  • Airship Cruising From Silver Fox Farm (1913)
  • Boy Scouts in a Lumber Camp (1913)
  • "Across the Range," and Other Stories (1914)
  • The Club at Crow's Corner (1915)
  • True Adventure Tales from American history in the Stirring Days of the Revolution (1924)

Written as Amy Prentice

  • Billy Goat's Story (1906)
  • The Brown Owl's Story (1906)
  • Bunny Rabbit's Story (1906)
  • Croaky Frog's Story (1906)
  • Frisky Squirrel's Story (1906)
  • Gray Goose's Story (1906)
  • Mouser Cat's Story (1906)
  • Plodding Turtle's Story (1906)
  • Quacky Duck's Story (1906)
  • Towser Dog's Story (1906)

Selected Links