Kate’s Light: Kate Walker at Robbins Reef Lighthouse

Elizabeth Spires, illus. by Emily Arnold McCully. Holiday House/Ferguson, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4348-2
Kate Walker took charge of Robbins Reef Lighthouse in the Port of New York when her husband died, toiling ceaselessly to give ships safe passage while raising her children and rowing to Staten Island for supplies. A German immigrant to the U.S. with a son, she married lighthouse keeper John Walker, who worked on the mainland until he took the post at isolated Robbins Reef. His wife balked: “Those first few weeks, Kate didn’t unpack her trunks.” In time, though, her doubts cleared. When their daughter was three, John died of pneumonia: “Mind the light, Kate” were his last words to her. Resisting pressure to leave the lighthouse, she won his position years later, in 1895, having served as assistant keeper during his life. Caldecott Medalist McCully’s vivid ink and watercolor spreads bring to life the storms and waves that made Walker’s work necessary, and brim with visual information about the lighthouse and the people who depended on it. Chapter book–style writing by Spires (The Big Meow) provides ample context and many anecdotes. An intrepid heroine in a lonely place, Walker had grit that makes for gripping reading. Ages 6–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/19/2020
Release date: 01/05/2021
Genre: Children's
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