A Reminder of a Life Once Lived and Loved

An enlightening window into a bygone era

What was it like to be a lighthouse keeper before electric lights replaced oil lamps and automated machines took the place of clockwork in the 1920s? 

In this extensively researched children’s picture book, Caldecott Medalist author and illustrator Sophie Blackall shares the daily life of a fictional keeper. She also portrays the weather conditions and seasonal transitions – howling winds, raging storms, enshrouding fog, ice and snow, spring thaw, and northern lights –  “on the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world.”

Even as the seasons change outside the lighthouse, the keeper faces transitions. His wife joins him and they work together. Later, their child is born in the lighthouse, safe and secure from inclement weather and embraced by loving parents. 

The keeper and his wife keep busy in the lighthouse – maintaining meticulous records, keeping the oil lamps lit, fishing off the island’s rocks to supplement their diet, rescuing imperilled sailors, and more.

One day, the keeper receives an unsettling message from the coast guard. Soon after, the coast guard arrives with an automated light. The keeper’s work is no longer required. He and his family move to a coastal home where they can see the lighthouse’s beams, a reminder of the life they once lived and loved.

In this tribute to the resiliency, courage, and strength of the men and women who served as keepers, Blackall has given young children an enlightening window into a bygone era. 

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