Miss Colfax's Light
Find it at your library or you can ...
author, Aimée Bissonette
author's website
Eileen Ryan Ewen
Sleeping Bear Press
Miss Colfax's Light

In 1861, at the age of 37, Harriet Colfax took on the job of lighthouse keeper for the Michigan City lighthouse off Lake Michigan. It was a bold and determined endeavor, especially since there were very few female lighthouse keepers in the country at that time.

For 43 years, until the age of 80, Harriet kept her light burning, through storms, harsh winters, and changes in technology. This true story focuses on Harriet's commitment and determination to fulfilling her charge and living life on her own terms.

Excerpts from her actual log are included.

1.   Sometimes, when we think about history, the people don't seem as real as the people we see around us every day. When we have their journals or diaries or letters to look at, even if they were written 100 years ago, we get a better glimpse at flesh-and-blood human beings. What would you write in your journal so that people in 2116 had a sense of the real you?
2.   Have you visited a lighthouse? Maybe two or three or more? What do all lighthouses have in common? How are they different?
3.   Imagine yourself as a lighthouse keeper. Could you live in an isolated place, working in storm after storm, getting up at all hours of the night to ensure the safety of ships and boats on the water?
4.   What is the wildest job you can think of doing? Talk about where it would be, what the parts of the job would be, and what qualities you'd need to have to do this job.
5.   When the author researched this book, she examined "primary sources," meaning words written by Harriet Colfax herself. On your travels, if you go to libraries or museums or historical sites, ask if they have primary sources you could look at. The docents or librarians or site managers will usually be delighted to show you. If you're staying at home this summer, you might visit your nearest historical society. They are wonderful repositories for first-hand history. Discuss how reading something written by the person living history is different from the person who recounts history from secondary sources such as newspapers or magazine articles or videos.
When your child has finished reading Miss Colfax's Light, be sure to check off this book on your booklist, moving towards reading 12 books or 18 books this summer. You can register for a mile marker, our random drawing for several levels of giveaways.
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