Illustrated and Written by Sophie Blackall
Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp’s wick, and writes every detail in his logbook.
Primary Source Pairing:
Hello Lighthouse harkens back to a different time when people were relied upon to manage the operations of our daily lives. The book begins with a new keeper taking on the responsibilities of a lighthouse and tending the most important part: the lamp. Day in and day out, fog and sun, calm and mighty weather, the keeper kept the light burning. As the book ends, the lighthouse’s lamp was run by electricity and the keeper moved on to other adventures. All the work the lighthouse keepers did were recorded in logbooks. The lighthouse keeper’s logbook is referenced throughout the text. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study a page from a lighthouse logbook in the Grays Harbor Lighthouse in Washington from 1897.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- How much of the text can you read? What does it say?
- What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
- How are the words arranged?
- What do you notice about the page the writing appears on?
- What do you see on the page besides writing?
- What other details can you see?
- Make a connection to the lighthouse keeper in the book and the logbook he kept with something you observe in this photograph of a page of the Grays Harbor lighthouse.
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
“Grays Harbor Lighthouse Construction Logbook, Page 1” photograph: U.S. National Archives: available on Flickr
“Grays Harbor Lighthouse Construction Logbook, Page 18” photograph: U.S. National Archives: available on Flickr