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Children's Fiction Post-confederation (1867-)

Keeper of the Light

illustrated by Thérèse Cilia

by (author) Janet Barkhouse

Formac Publishing Company Limited
Initial publish date
Oct 2016
Post-Confederation (1867-), General, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 9
  • Grade: 1 to 4
  • Reading age: 3 to 9


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

Thérèse Cilia is a freelance painter and illustrator whose whimsical and detailed work often finds a home in children’s books, prints, stationery, and commissions. She obtained her bachelor of fine arts degree in drawing and painting in 2007 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 began illustrating her first children’s book, Over by the Harbour, with Flanker Press in St. John’s. Bullet the New Steam Engine is their second collaboration. She currently lives in Belleville, Ontario, where she is working on her third picture book.

Thérèse Cilia's profile page

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.

Janet Barkhouse's profile page


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

Editorial Reviews

"Young readers will respond to an exciting story and a child heroine not much older than they are."

Canadian Children's Book News

"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."

Resource Links

"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."

Atlantic Books Today

"Halifax-based Formac Publishing has produced a beautiful piece of historical fiction...Certainly it would fit the expectations for Ontario's Social Studies grade one curriculum 'Heritage and Identity: Our Changing Roles and Responsibilities,' or Albertas grade five general outcome 'Histories and Stories of Ways of Life in Canada.'"

Canadian Teacher Magazine

Other titles by Thérèse Cilia

Other titles by Janet Barkhouse

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