Barkhouse tells the story of young lighthouse keeper Sara

This lively tale provides a realistic depiction of both the loneliness and isolation that the lighthouse keepers faced.

Sara has been counting down the days until her twelfth birthday when she will finally be able to go home to visit her mother and brothers. Since her father’s death one year ago, Sara has been living with and working for the Moshers, the keepers of the Cook Island lighthouse. But Sara’s plans are thwarted when Mr. Mosher becomes ill and Mrs. Mosher must rush him to the mainland for help. Now Sara must stay on the island and look after the lighthouse all on her own. And when a storm hits, she must summon all her strength and courage to do what must done.

This lively tale provides a realistic depiction of both the loneliness and isolation that the lighthouse keepers faced, and the hard physical labour that even children as young as Sara endured just to survive. But Barkhouse never lets readers forget that Sara is still just a child, and she misses her mother and siblings as well as her beloved father. Readers will feel the depth of her sorrow when she realizes that she can’t go home as planned for her birthday but will be inspired by her spunk and spirit. Cilia’s watercolour and ink illustrations exquisitely depict the era and the remote and rugged setting.

Keeper of the Light
by Janet Barkhouse, illustrated by Thérèse Cilia
Formac Publishing

Written By

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

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