Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall


With contemplative illustrations and word structure, Sophie Blackall tells the story of a lighthouse. Her creative talents shine with her ability to portray simultaneous events. We see the life of a lighthouse keeper contained in circles surrounded by rope. The evocative seascape takes over double-page spreads. Interesting elements point to the passage of time both inside and outside the lighthouse. We see days and nights go by, seasons change, the birth of a baby, and the end of a job.

Hello Lighthouse is a book to be explored and studied. There are opportunities to compare and contrast, notice and wonder, and consider how new technologies replace jobs. The back endpapers give the reader more information about the idea behind the story and interesting facts. It’s fascinating to know that this story was inspired by a cutaway image of a lighthouse found at a flea market.


Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Inquire/Think I.A.1 Learners display curiosity and initiative by formulating questions about a personal interest or a curricular topic. 

Set the stage for inquiry by inviting learners to explore the back cover. View the illustration on a large screen to see the intricate details. Prompt learners to ask “I Wonder” questions about what they see. Record questions on chart paper.

Pass out this worksheet. Invite learners to record their thinking in the circular ropes.

Read the story and invite learners to record what they notice and what they wonder. They can use words or doodles to chart their thinking. Include the front endpapers in this exploration.

The “About Lighthouses” page at the end of the book will help learners answer some of their questions. The information may provoke more inquiries! The following resources will enrich investigations:

  • The fascinating illustrations may intrigue readers to learn more about Blackall. Watch The BIG Picture LIVE Caldecott Special with Sophie Blackall! to learn more about this talented artist. She talks about a book that inspired her to become an artist. Viewers will learn about Mr. Squiggles, a fun game that takes the scary out of drawing. Blackall also demonstrates how to paint a lighthouse using Chinese ink and watercolors.
  • To learn more about lighthouses, check out the I Am a Lighthouse Engineer Educator Guide by Jennifer McMahon. Learners will investigate the purpose of a lighthouse and solve an engineering challenge.
  • If embroidery captures the attention of some learners, visit Cassie Stephens’s blog. She is an art educator who shares creative projects designed for young learners. Watch her videos to see her deliver colorful, lively lessons in the classroom.

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

Click here to purchase Hello Lighthouse from Bookshop.org.

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