Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter"

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
Written by: Arielle North Olson
Illustrated by: Elaine Wentworth
Published by: Little, Brown, and Company in Boston, Massachusetts in 1987
ISBN: 0-316-65053-6
Genre: Picture Book
Reading Level: Grade 4
Activity Level: Grades 1, 4

Summary: This book is based on true stories about a young girl tending a lighthouse while her father was kept at sea by treacherous storms and about gardens swept to sea by storms along Maine’s coast. This story is about a young girl who, knowing her father would do the same for other sailors, kept the light in the lighthouse burning for weeks while her father was kept out at sea due to a huge snowstorm. (The girl’s mother was too terrified of heights to climb the tower, so she did as her father had instructed her and persevered through even her own illness to do what was best for the sailors.)

Response: This was a good book about perseverance and families dealing with struggles. It was set in an era long-ago, which is not exactly was I was hoping for from this book. The story was good, but left me slightly annoyed at the mother for not trying to conquer her fear of heights when her daughter was working though an illness to help the sailors and maybe help her father get back home safely. Nonetheless, the ability of a young child to take on so much responsibility and do great things is a story that children need to hear.

Like the sadness in the story, the illustrations portrayed the gloom of the situation and the terrifying aspect of the story on the small island. Most of the illustrations were single-page spreads that flowed like water onto the next page, which also helped with the flow of the story.

Teaching Connections: A first grade teacher could read this book to her students and then have a discussion with them about the good qualities the book showed about the daughter. (Generosity, Selflessness, Courage, etc.) Then, they could also discuss why lighthouses are important and what their jobs are. Finally, students could visit this lighthouse website and learn more.

Fourth graders could also do this lesson while learning about NC lighthouses, but in their lesson, they would also research a NC lighthouse, create a replica, and present information on that lighthouse to the class. Research might begin at the
NC Beaches website.

What Students Learn: From this book and these activities, children learn about generosity, selflessness, courage, and perseverance. They also learn about the importance of lighthouses and fourth graders taking part in this lesson learn about lighthouses in their area.

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