Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Hello Lighthouse

Rate this book
A new picture book that will transport readers to the seaside.

Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp's wick, and writes every detail in his logbook.

44 pages, Hardcover

First published April 10, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Sophie Blackall

23 books297 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,303 (53%)
4 stars
2,083 (33%)
3 stars
664 (10%)
2 stars
117 (1%)
1 star
24 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,525 reviews
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,121 reviews45 followers
October 18, 2018
Expressive text and rich imagery beckon the reader to the shore, to feel the sea breeze blowing, see the waves rolling, to witness the beacon guiding ships safely by. Hello Lighthouse provides an illuminating look at the life of a lighthouse keeper and is a delight for all ages. I enjoyed the very informative author’s note just as much as the story itself; it really rounds out the details for inquisitive minds.
Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews723 followers
September 28, 2019
On the highest rock of a tiny island
at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse.
It is built to last forever. Sending its light out to sea.
The fog rolls in, and the fog rolls out.
The waves rise and crash. The wind blows and blows...

This beautiful picture book caught my eye on the Goodreads 2018 contest, on the longlist nominated for best picture book. I love picture books, I think they are for all ages, but I also love the sea, the smell of the sea, the coast (although I don't like busy beaches) and its beautiful lighthouses. I have visited several, on the Dutch islands but also in Canada along the West and East coast, Vancouver Island. I remember, working for a maritime company, going to the lighthouse of Ameland for a newsletter report and interview with the lighthouse keeper and a photosession... Ah, the days... This picture book is sweet and full of beautiful drawings. It is oblong shaped, like a lighthouse and it tells the story of a lighthouse keeper and his small family, their daily life and how technology changes also light houses in the end. Gorgeous color drawings with small texts tell the story. I would say for all ages! Recommended for those who love light houses like I do!
Profile Image for Calista.
3,889 reviews31.2k followers
May 8, 2019
This is about a family tending a lighthouse and what life is like for them. The artwork is inspired and there are many round windows to look into to get the feel you are inside the lighthouse and there is also aerial shots from above. We see the lighthouse in all kinds of weather conditions.

I thought this was a delight to read and rather interesting too. I don’t think I could live in a place where water beats against the sides of my house and you are so cut off from help.

The niece found this book interesting. Life is very different from what she knows. She gave this 4 stars. The nephew said not having a yard would be boring unless there were video games to play inside. He gave this 3 stars.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
November 8, 2018
Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #9 (of 20) of 2018. We were excited to read this book because as we travel, we visit lighthouses, and are especially fond of visiting them around the Great Lakes. We've read a number of books about lighthouses, too.

Lyra (11): 4 stars.The drawings were beautiful and simple. Sweet book!

Hank (12): 3.5 stars. I like the drawings.

Harry (13): 3.5. I especially loved the drawings of the water.

Tara: 4 stars. I found the facts, the information, fascinating. The cute-sy stuff in between just okay.

Dave: 3.5-4 stars. I like lighthouses and books about them. The tale is sweet and intimate, of a man and his family living in a lighthouse. The story is subtle and maybe not all that memorable, but the chief highlight is the gorgeous illustration work by Blackall, just lovely (as you can tell from the kid response, above, too). And a really useful informational appendix that rounded the book up to the 4 star category for me.
Profile Image for Tina Haigler.
294 reviews100 followers
February 13, 2021
Honestly I've always wanted to live in a lighthouse. They fascinate me, but I am also scared of heights, so that kind of puts a kink in things. I'll have to live that life through this book instead. It was a touching story--sad in a way, but also endearing and sweet. The art was charming and colorful, and had a feeling of comfort and home about it. Both me and my son really enjoyed it, and we highly recommend it for kids of all ages.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,764 reviews1,220 followers
April 6, 2019
I’ve loved lighthouses since I was a girl, and I know I would have pored over this book many times during preschool and early elementary grade ages. I enjoyed viewing the lighthouse rooms and their contents. Entrancing and enchanting. As a child the pictures could have kept me captivated for long periods of time.

The illustrations definitely make the book. They’re gorgeous. Mesmerizing. The illustrations of the lighthouse and especially the natural beauty of the sea, sky, rocks are spectacular. I wasn’t 100% a fan of the depictions of people but I liked them well enough.

The repetitive lines story was rather sad, and more than a bit gloomy at times, though it’s also sweet and has an ending that while not idyllic is pleasant and happy enough. Some might also love the story but this could have worked fine for me as a wordless or nearly wordless picture book. For young children I can see how the words might be lulling and entertaining.

The final two text pages about lighthouses and their keepers for older children/readers were interesting and were for me a welcome part of the book.

This is a lovely book and can be enjoyed by independent readers, reading aloud for families, schools, libraries, etc.

I’d had this on my list and when I found out it won the Caldecott Medal I made a point of getting to it. I think the honor is well deserved.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,129 reviews104 followers
February 6, 2019
With a wonderful and sweetly nostalgic marriage of lyrical text and glowingly imaginative but nevertheless always spectacularly realistically shining accompanying images, I have both absolutely loved and appreciated Sophie Blackall's Hello Lighthouse and am also and of course tickled absolutely proverbially pink that it has been awarded the 2019 Caldecott Medal. For Hello Lighthouse truly is an utterly sparklingly special and delightful gem, presenting first and foremost (and most importantly) what made lighthouses so historically significant and essential (and the immense pressure, as well as the often tedious but nevertheless always necessary work of the lighthouse keeper, and how in Hello Lighthouse when the lighthouse keeper suddenly falls seriously ill, his wife must then take over his job until his fever breaks, making sure the light is kept constantly shining and beaming to warn passing ships of otherwise treacherous ocean rocks and other potential threats as well as tending to her husbands needs, nursing him through his bout of what probably would have been a serious case of pneumonia).

Both nostalgic and yes indeed also imbued with more than a bit of sad regret that almost ALL lighthouses are now generally automated and that there are thus for the most part no more lighthouse keepers, Hello Lighthouse is a paean and celebration of a bygone era and in my opinion also a glorification of the magic of the ocean, of the sea (and of course also an homage to the many lighthouse keepers who not only made sure that their lights were constantly kept glowing and shining especially at night and during foggy, rainy and snowy weather conditions but who also often had to risk life and limb when there was trouble, when ships foundered and sailors needed rescuing, and yes, I do kind of sometimes have to wonder whether having modern lighthouses totally automated is really all that safe, because indeed, if there is a shipwreck near a lighthouse nowadays, there are of course generally no lighthouse keepers to spring into action and lead immediate rescue efforts).

Four shining stars for Hello Lighthouse, and the only reason I am not quite ready for five stars is that I for one would have appreciated if Sophie Blackall had put her informative author's note on lighthouses and their historical significances within the actual text proper and not on the side flaps of the dust cover, as my library book has like most such tomes the dust cover securely taped into place, and sadly, much of the author's note is therefore obscured and not really all that easily and readily legible.
Profile Image for Josiah.
3,211 reviews146 followers
September 12, 2021
Three years after winning the 2016 Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear, Sophie Blackall earned the Caldecott again, for Hello Lighthouse. Featuring gorgeous panoramas that evoke the salty spray of sea waves and the dancing lights of the aurora borealis, the story follows the tenure of one of the last lighthouse keepers. Technology is changing and it is becoming unnecessary to station a man at sea to warn ships that might otherwise run aground. Yet the romanticism of lighthouses persists to the modern day, and this book pays homage to it.

Polishing the lighthouse lens so the beacon shines brightly, winding the clockwork several times a night, writing in the logbook, painting the small, rounded rooms of the lighthouse, fishing for food, doing housework: these are the keeper's regular chores, but there's still lots of time to feel bored and lonesome. Fortunately, his wife will join him soon, and the lighthouse will become a warm, happy home. The keeper clangs the bell in thick fog to caution ships, and when one crashes, he rows out to rescue the men. The demands of the job continually shift. His wife assumes the duties when he's ill, and he takes care of her when she grows heavy with child and their daughter is born. The keeper's days dwindle as arrangements are made to automate the lighthouse, but he and his family won't move far from the beacon he operated for years. When your soul belongs to the sea, you never leave its grasp.

Hello Lighthouse isn't a gripping story, just a quiet observation of a keeper and his workplace, grounded in well-researched history. The illustrations are masterful, particularly those of the turbulent sea. My favorite are the room-by-room cutaway of the lighthouse interior, the first full-page rendering of stormy waves crashing high against the lighthouse, the action-packed still of the keeper saving sailors from drowning betwixt dark, angry waves, the sperm whales and iceberg floating by in bioluminescent waters, and the neon northern lights reflecting green on the sea. The story is less memorable than many Caldecott winners, but the artwork is elite, and I might rate Hello Lighthouse the full two stars. If you enjoy stories celebrating the romanticism of bygone eras, you'll probably appreciate this book.
Profile Image for  Bon.
1,123 reviews95 followers
February 5, 2023
Perfect intro to lighthouses

i have this thing for lighthouses and this was, yes, a kid's book but with fantastic artwork and a very realistic depiction of lighthouse keeper duties and life! So cute.
November 18, 2018
Gahhh! I loved this book. It's definitely one of my favorite picture books of the year. I loved the setting, the illustrations, the keeper of the lighthouse and his family. For anyone that appreciates the ocean and is a fan of lighthouses, this book will capture your heart!
Profile Image for Brittany.
858 reviews112 followers
November 5, 2018
5 🌟 Bright Stars!

Sophie Blackall has outdone herself again in this beautifully illustrated book about Lighthouses. I used this as a unit study for our homeschool. It's full of facts and illustrations about the lighthouse. It also tells a unique story about a Keeper and his family as they live inside. It's a beautiful story using rich imagery and simple text to catch the young readers attention. I can not praise the illustrations enough, the art style is just amazing. I love how, at the end of the book, there is a TON of info about lighthouses that can be used as a teaching guide. As a teacher, I appreciate these kind of books immensely ! This one acts as an ALL IN ONE - Art- Wording- Vocab- Facts Etc. ***Nominated for GCA 2018***
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,253 reviews
March 18, 2019
I have a soft spot for lighthouses and I loved this book. The illustrations are beautiful, detailed, educational and touching. Absolutely worthy of the Caldecott Medal. The Afterward is excellent. I've always thought lighthouse keepers were heroes. Pair this with Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, and oldie but a goodie.
Profile Image for Melki.
5,809 reviews2,345 followers
February 27, 2019
A somewhat melancholic read about the lonely life of a lighthouse keeper. Even with his wife and new baby installed, the family seems so tiny, and so, so . . . isolated. Blackall's artwork, however, is beyond exquisite.


I'm so glad she won the Caldecott.
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,245 reviews3,563 followers
January 27, 2019
Hello Lighthouse is a pretty little picture book with a very nautical feel. I read it in e-book format, but I suspect that the physical versions are tall and narrow, reflecting the shape of a lighthouse.

There's not much in the way of plot. Rather, the story shows the day-to-day life of a lighthouse keeper and--eventually--his family. We get to see the inside of a lighthouse and learn about the operation of it. We see the loneliness and the boredom, but also the excitement and danger that comes with the position. All of this is illustrated in beautiful pictures that evoke a sense of calm.

A nice note is included at the end that talks a little more about lighthouses and the people who ran them. It's kind of sad that this is no longer a way of life, but at least we still have the stories and--in some cases--the lighthouses themselves to remind us of a bygone era.

Quotable moment:

Profile Image for Deborah.
Author 22 books188 followers
April 20, 2018
I think this is the most beautiful book Sophie Blackall has ever made, and that, of course, is saying a lot.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,616 reviews192 followers
February 23, 2019
I love the illustrations that accompany the spare text about the life of a lighthouse keeper just before the lighthouse is converted to electric, and his job is over.
Profile Image for Sara the Librarian.
749 reviews327 followers
May 9, 2019
This is an exquisite picture book that tells a quiet, just slightly melancholy story of the life of a lighthouse keeper and his family. Its written and illustrated by the absurdly talented, Caldecott winning Sophie Blackall whose work you've very probably seen in books like the Ivy and Bean series and Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear (which won her the aforementioned Caldecott).

There's something a bit haunting about Blackall's paintings. Like you're seeing something from another time that's long since passed into memory. Her style has the feel of classic American folk art but with a bit more emotion. It also calls to mind the precise beauty of classic Japanese ink painting, especially in Blackall's depiction of the sea. One picture, of the lighthouse engulfed in a thick fog is positively breathtaking.

But unlike both those styles there's nothing wooden about the lighthouse keeper dancing through the gently curving living quarters of the lighthouse with his beautiful young wife or a scene where she keeps a long night vigil beside him when he's wracked with fever. Each picture is filled with warmth. There's a particularly beautiful drawing of the birth of the lighthouse keeper's child done from above, as though the reader is looking down through the roof of the lighthouse where the keeper walks around and around with his wife as she labors. There's so much life infused in a place usually equated with loneliness and even tragedy. It's lovely. Like the building itself is alive.

While the story is a simple one there is a sense of sadness about the progression of time and the encroachment of technology when lighthouse keeper gets word that his services are no longer needed since a new automated light will now guide sailors in the night. The book ends with the keeper and his young family gazing out at the lighthouse from under the light of a small house across the water, bidding it a loving farewell. It doesn't take much suspension of disbelief to imagine the lighthouse is doing the same.
Profile Image for Astiazh.
171 reviews31 followers
May 13, 2021
همیشه هم ما و هم بچه ها عاشق اینیم که یکی برامون از قدیم بشینه و تعریف کنه.
حالا این کتاب قراره برای ما از فانوس دریایی بگه از زمانی که هنوز چراغ الکتریکی جاش رو نگرفته بود و نفت و چرخ دنده از ملزوماتش بود از فانوس دریایی قدیمی که نگهبانی یک روز با سلام به آن وارد میشد و خانواده ش شکل میگرفت و زندگی ادامه داشت تا روزی که بالاخره تکنولوژی به کمک بشر اومد و نوع کارکرد فانوس های دریایی عوض شد و نگهبان از فانوس خداحافظی کرد و رفت.
چیزی که این وسط خیلی به چشم من اومد و خیلی پسندیدمش تکرار یک جمله بود در آخر هر بند بود.«و مرد همه چیز رو در دفترش ثبت می کرد.»که در واقع به بچه ها آموزش میده که می تونند اتفاقات و احساسات روزانه شون رو به شکل مکتوب ثبت کنند.
پیشنهاد میکنم بخونید و لذت ببرید.
آهان این رو هم بگم که کتاب تصویر سازی فوق العاده ای داره و جایزه کلد کات امریکا روهم گرفته.
از خوبهای کتابخونه ی دخترک
Profile Image for Julie.
1,954 reviews38 followers
October 21, 2022
I'm a sucker for a lighthouse and this is a lovely book about the one man's tenure as a lighthouse keeper and how his life changed during that time.
Profile Image for Marathon County Public Library.
1,453 reviews43 followers
June 18, 2018

This beautifully illustrated children's picture book traces the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his wife in a lighthouse on a very tiny island in the middle of the sea. We see the keeper doing his daily chores such as polishing the lamp’s lens, filling the oil and trimming the wick to keep the lighthouse lamp lit. We experience the birth of their first child, what happens when the lighthouse keeper is ill, and a rescue of some sailors whose boat was wrecked on the rocks. If you love lighthouses (as I do) or if you want a beautifully illustrated and historically accurate picture book to share with your children, this is it. I can’t say enough about the stunning, detailed Chinese ink and watercolor illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall, especially those of the sea and the lighthouse. In addition, the end pages provide a short, more detailed history of lighthouses. This is truly a book to be devoured again and again, and then perhaps followed with a family visit to some real lighthouses.

Sharyn H. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.
Profile Image for Candace.
880 reviews
May 31, 2019
The story of a lighthouse keeper and his daily routine, which he records in his logbook. The illustrations are simply beautiful. They compliment the text perfectly. The lighthouse goes through modernization and the lighthouse keeper is not needed any longer to maintain it. He and his family leave and settle on the coast. The last picture is of the lighthouse shining its light and the keeper's family shining a small light back. The author's notes About Lighthouses expertly rounds out the reader's knowledge about lighthouses and daily life. It states that electric lights replaces oil lamps in the 1920s, so we had lighthouse keepers just over a hundred years ago. Fascinating.
Profile Image for Liza Fireman.
839 reviews144 followers
November 6, 2018
I did not find what is the point of this book. Just to tell about a lighthouse? There was no plot, no story, no characters. Too many details that are not making any difference.
I didn't see what the author tried to send to the young readers. If the point is to introduce a more dry explanation of lighthouses, maybe that works. But if we want kids to be interested and to have a story there, I think that it is not achieving the goal.

It was funny to think about this and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. I loved that story, and there was a lighthouse keeper, that found a wife and had a baby in the lighthouse. The rest of the story is quite different, and is highly recommended for adults, not kids.

2 stars for this book.
Profile Image for Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance.
5,827 reviews284 followers
December 13, 2018
This is the beautiful story of a family's life in a lighthouse. It has gentle pictures and poignant text. The author shares information about lighthouses at the end, and that adds to the strength of the book.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,116 reviews186 followers
January 14, 2019
With simple text and luminous artwork, Caldecott medalist Sophie Blackall spins the tale of a lighthouse-keeper and his life on "a tiny island at the edge of the world" in this newest picture-book. Joined in his solitary posting by his wife, the keeper performs all of his duties, from polishing the light's lens to winding the clockwork that keeps the light in motion, while also recording such momentous events as his daring rescue of some shipwrecked sailors and the birth of his first child. When the keeper himself falls ill, his wife cares for him, and for all the lighthouse duties as well. Eventually, the tender - a ship which supplies the lighthouse with everything it needs - comes to take them away. They are being replaced by a machine, which will keep the light running...

Informative and engaging, Hello Lighthouse manages to be matter-of-factly interesting, with all the daily lighthouse-keeper duties it depicts, while also capturing the feeling of mystery and the sense of beauty that these massive structures evoke. There's something symbolic about a lighthouse, casting its light out into the darkness, offering a warning to passing strangers, representing the human hope for safety in the profoundly unsafe (and alien) realm of the sea. Somehow, Blackall manages to capture that sense of a lighthouse as standing in a liminal space, caught between land and sea, midway between reality and fantasy. The coming of mechanization may have ended the daily human caring for lighthouses, but it seems to have done nothing, to judge by the many people who travel the country and world to look at them, to reduce the human fascination with these vital structures. This is a gorgeous book, one whose artwork is every bit as beautiful as in Blackall's Caldecott-winning Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear , and which has a poetic cadence to the text that is well-suited to the visuals. Highly, highly recommended, to all fellow Blackall fans, and to anyone who loves lighthouses, and is looking for a picture-book about them. For my part, this might be my first pick, of 2018, for a mock-Caldecott!
Profile Image for Katie Fitzgerald.
Author 4 books203 followers
January 16, 2019
This beautifully illustrated picture book traces the experiences of a lighthouse keeper from his arrival at the lighthouse until his position as keeper becomes obsolete due to technological advances. The lighthouse is shown in all seasons and situations, and the keeper himself lives his life: waiting for his wife to arrive, then reuniting with her, falling ill and having his wife take over his duties while he gets well, welcoming his baby daughter into the world, rescuing the victims of a shipwreck, and, above all, caring for the lighthouse. An author's note at the back of the book explains how Blackall became interested in the subject of lighthouses and quickly describes some of her research.

Though I had to read this book digitally, thereby losing some of its impact, I still really enjoyed the pairing of Blackall's child-friendly, playful text with her detailed illustrations. When I was a kid, I loved any book that showed both the inside and outside of a building, and this book will likely appeal to many of today's kids for that same reason. Blackall also makes great use of different perspectives in her art, especially on the spreads relating to the birth of the lighthouse keeper's baby. Her use of circles reminiscent of portholes is also clever, and it helps the reader to feel the closeness of the small space inside the lighthouse and to remember at all times the roundness of the rooms, and of the telescope lens the keeper uses to look out over the sea.

This is a great book for introducing what a lighthouse is for, and how lighthouses were maintained for many years, as well as an interesting look at the growth of a family in an unusual home. Sophie Blackall has been a favorite illustrator of mine since Big Red Lollipop and Hello, Lighthouse only confirms her position on that list.
Profile Image for Anna.
165 reviews3 followers
November 26, 2018
Hello Lighthouse ambitiously strives to unite the story of a lighthouse's existence with that of his keeper. They are naturally entwined, as the unnamed keeper is kept in isolation within the structure, with his only ability to communicate with other humans through a supply ship or even bottles dropped into the sea. The initial page-spreads communicate the book's intention clearly- the title page shows the lighthouse surrounded by a circular ring of waves, with the boat carrying the new lighthouse keeper ringing its way towards it. The boat and the waves both surrounded the lighthouse, a wholistic system revolving around it. So, we have the lighthouse as our protagonist, a bold choice. The next pages reinforce this message, positioning the lighthouse in the bottom left, beaming the way for the ship in the top right to arrive and inhabit it. The phrase "Hello, lighthouse" repeats itself, but bizarrely without the rhythm one expects from repeated phrases. They actually make the text feel more disjointed, and so the greetings from the waves and the wind, etc., come across as affectations, as do the onomatopoeias ("The fog makes everything disappear. A bell must be rung to warn the ships! Clang! Clang! Clang!") They are cutesy, and this is not a cutesy story. It is a story deeply rooted in history and nature, a story of a man's full life within the confines of a small building in the vast sea, and a lighthouse that fulfills the role of beacon in the great expanse of sea. I wish the words reflected that, or that the illustrations could function without them.
Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
1,909 reviews4,821 followers
May 16, 2019
So, I feel like I'm going to be in the minority about this book. While I enjoyed the artwork and really recognized and loved the power behind lighthouses, I did not enjoy the story as much as I thought I did. I've read a few of the honors books for the same year and found that I enjoyed those more than this. I did find the artwork intricate and fascinating.
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,904 reviews197 followers
July 17, 2021
Sophie Blackall’s exquisite illustrations for his lyrical book show why it won the Caldecott Medal. The pictures — like the words — seem from another age, even though the book was published in 2018. With such a beautiful story and such meticulously created illustrations, Hello Lighthouse will please readers of every age.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,525 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.