Laurie Coulter

Cowboys and Coffin Makers Ballplayers and Bonesetters Kings and Carpenters

Teachers and Librarians

School and Library Presentations

What was it like to make a living as a writer or scribe in the past? Laurie re-creates 1600 years of reading and writing in North America with interactive activities, weird stories she uncovered researching the three books she has written for the Jobs in History series, and her treasure box of props. In the presentation, she also talks about her own career as a book editor, ghostwriter (what's that?) and author.

Cowboys and Coffin Makers: One Hundred 19th-Century Jobs You Might Have Feared or Fancied

Please see Extra! Extra! for ten extra 19th-century jobs to print out. For lesson plans and a podcast, see the book's page on the Annick Press site.


"...Teachers and librarians will be happy to hear that Cowboys and Coffin Makers far surpasses the standard information book criteria; a comprehensive introduction provides background to the time period, a huge index helps students navigate the text, and recommended readings include both fiction and non-fiction.... this book is a truly invaluable supplement to any nineteenth-century study. The book would also be great for a road trip since it facilitates multiple readings as kids can't possibly absorb all the wacky, jaw-dropping facts in one sitting." Highly recommended.

— Shannon Ozirny, CM Magazine

"Short job descriptions, usually one or two per page, are written in an entertaining style and grouped according to headings.....The book could be used in social-studies units about the 1800s, the Westward Movement, and comparisons of cities to rural areas."

— Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, School Library Journal

"...written in an engaging and interesting way... highly recommended for elementary schools and public libraries."

Resource Links 06/07

"Cowboys and Coffin Makers would be an excellent addition to any school library. Because 19th-century Canadians were pursuing similar occupations, this resource could be used to launch a unit on pioneers or early Canadian history."

— Laura Barron, Professionally Speaking,
the Magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers

"I ordered this book to use with 4th graders who were working on a unit about careers from the past. They loved reading about the different occupations and comparing and contrasting them with jobs of today. I also like the way the book is set up by various career clusters. "

— T. Hooks (N.C.),

Canadian Curriculum Connections

British Columbia

Social Studies: Grades 4 and 5

U.S. Curriculum Connections
National Center for History in the Schools

Standards in History for Grades 5–12

Era 4

Expansion and Reform (1801–1861)

Standard 1: United States territorial expansion between 1801 and 1861, and how it affected relations with external powers and Native Americans

Standard 2: How the industrial revolution, increasing immigration, the rapid expansion of slavery, and the westward movement changed the lives of Americans and led toward regional tensions

Era 5

Civil War and Reconstruction (1850–1877)

Standard 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people

Era 6

The Development of the Industrial United States (1870–1900)

Standard 1: How the rise of corporations, heavy industry, and mechanized farming transformed the American people

Standard 2: Massive immigration after 1870 and how new social patterns, conflicts, and ideas of national unity developed amid growing cultural diversity

Standard 3: The rise of the American labor movement and how political issues reflected social and economic changes

Ballplayers and Bonesetters: One Hundred Ancient Aztec and Maya Jobs You Might Have Adored or Abhorred


"This book describes in often humorous detail (accompanied by equally humorous illustrations) the work that both the elites and commoners performed. The jobs run the gamut from judge to latrine boatman, from salt maker to adobe brick maker, from Great King to slave."

— Susan Perren, The Globe and Mail

"...the descriptions of the vocations yield a rich view of the culture, and the breezy text makes this as much a browsing as a reference title....a solid purchase for elementary school and public libraries."

— Ann Welton, School Library Journal

"Author Laurie Coulter writes in a light and lively style that is informative and entertaining...a useful and appealing book for anyone interested in the early culture of Mesoamerica."

— Mary Anne Cree, Canadian Children's Book News

"'Wow!' 'Really?' 'Gross!' 'Listen to this!' Put this book into the hands of young people and this is what you will hear. Amazement, disbelief, nose-wrinkling, and sharing; I believe these are the main criteria for a winning information book, and Ballplayers and Bonesetters guarantees them all. Get ready for 96 pages of undeniably stimulating ancient facts mixed with a welcoming dose of Mesoamerican malarkey. Coulter and Newbigging get a four out of four. Or, written in the Mesoamerican way, four small dots out of four small dots. Highly Recommended."

— Shannon Ozirny, CM Magazine

Canadian Curriculum Connections

British Columbia

Social Studies: Grade 7 – Ancient Civilizations


Social Studies: Grade 8 – Worldviews in Conflict: The Spanish and the Aztecs


Social Studies: Grade 8 – World History: Societies of the Past


Heritage and Citizenship: Grade 5 – Early Civilizations

U.S. Curriculum Connections
National Center for History in the Schools

World History: Era 5 (Intensified Hemispheric Interactions)

Standard 6: The expansion of states and civilizations in the Americas, 1000–1500.

How the Aztec empire arose in the 14th and 15th centuries; major aspects of Aztec government, society, religion, and culture.

Kings and Carpenters: One Hundred Bible Land Jobs You Might Have Praised or Panned


"Kings and Carpenters is the fifth book in the "Jobs in History" series produced by Annick Press. Author Laurie Coulter has written three of the five titles and has once again hit the mark with this entertaining, humorous yet informative look at life in "Old Testament" times.... Students will be drawn (as I was) to explore such intriguing chapters as Fiery Jobs and Spicy, Scented Jobs.... Having reviewed Kings and Carpenters, I am now excited to add the other titles in the series to our library. I know my students will borrow the books again and again."

— Rosemary Hollett, St. Emile School, Winnipeg, MB, CM Magazine

Thematic Links

History and Jobs; Ancient Canaan (Bible Lands); Palestine; Iron Age

art by Martha Newbigging © 2017

Designed by Shinypaper