SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Sophie Blackall, author of the Caldecott Medal-winning picture book “Hello Lighthouse” visited several local schools last week, including Swan’s Island Elementary School and Tremont Consolidated School.
The visit is part of a program created by Island Readers & Writers (IRW), a nonprofit based in Southwest Harbor that brings book-centered programs to children in Washington County, Mount Desert Island and outer islands.
“The beauty of ‘Hello Lighthouse’ is that it has allowed us to provide resources that connect the book’s themes across content areas from writing to art, history and science,” said Alison Johnson of IRW. “There is so much to explore from architecture to navigation, from sea shanties to Fresnel lenses. This program truly highlights how good books connect young readers to the wonders of the world.”
All participating students received their own signed copy of “Hello Lighthouse.”
Blackall, a native of Sydney, Australia, resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. and is making her first visit to Maine.
“That’s who I’m making these books for in the first place. I’m making ‘Hello Lighthouse’ for kids in Maine just as much as I am making them for kids in Brooklyn or anywhere else in the world and I am excited to hear from them about what it’s like to live where they live and be surrounded by lighthouses and to travel by boat,” Blackall said.
She said she approaches school visits as an opportunity to share with children her profession and passion and to inspire creative storytelling in each child.
“I let every kid I meet know that they have a story worth telling, whether it’s through words or pictures,” she said. “I encourage them to tell it and that I am interested in hearing their story and that many others will be. Everyone’s story is valuable, no matter how old you are or where you live.”