Keeper of the Light

by Janet Barkhouse

illustrated by Thérèse Cilia

Eleven-year-old Sara must keep the lighthouse working when a storm strikes and a ship is wrecked

The life of a lighthouse keeper on the east coast was not an easy one. Isolated on stormy shores, their job was to keep those at sea safe, at any cost. After her father dies in a seafaring accident, eleven-year-old Sara goes to work for the Mosher family helping clean, maintain and keep the light. When the Mosher family must leave for the mainland in a medical emergency, Sara is left alone to keep the light as a terrible gale approaches.
Dramatic and beautiful illustrations help tell the tale of a young girl alone and facing an emergency. When Sara sees a boat crashed on the rocks, young readers will feel as though they are standing on the wind-whipped shores making a life or death decision with her.

This story is based on the real experiences of young girls and boys who worked at lighthouses in the early 1900s. Janet Barkhouse has taken their experiences and created a dramatic but realistic story that shows the value of the work young people had to do and the sacrifices they had to make.

About the Authors

Janet Barkhouse
Janet Barkhouse
Thérèse Cilia
Thérèse Cilia

JANET BARKHOUSE has retired from several fascinating worlds, including theatre, academe, education. Her most recent books are Sable Island -- Imagine! and Pit Pony: The Picture Book. She lives in Clearland, Nova Scotia.

THÉRÈSE CILIA is a freelance painter and illustrator whose whimsical and detailed work often finds a home in children's books, prints, stationary and commissions. She obtained her BFA in drawing and painting at OCAD University in Toronto. In 2012, she turned a two-week artist retreat in Newfoundland into a year-long residence in Bonavista where she illustrated her first children's book Over by the Harbour. She lives in Belleville, Ontario.


"This lively tale provides a realistic depition 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."
Lisa Doucet,, Atlantic Books Today
"The beautiful illustrations capture the action of the story and help draw the reader into the adventure and suspense of the tale. The detailed images of the interior of the lighthouse are fascinating and informative, and the pages depicting the violence of the storm lashing at the boat and shore during the daring rescue are captivating."
Erin Hansen,, Resource Links
"Young readers will respond to an exciting story and a child heroine not much older than they are."
Aileen Wortley,, Canadian Children's Book News


Resource Links The Year's Best - Picture Books
Best Books for Kids & Teens -- Canadian Children's Book Centre

Subjects (BISAC)


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