Courage Like Kate: The True Story of a Girl Lighthouse Keeper by Anna Crowley Redding, illustrated by Emily Sutton

Courage Like Kate: The True Story of a Girl Lighthouse Keeper by Anna Crowley Redding, illustrated by Emily Sutton, Random House Studio, 2022. 9780593373408

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Picture book biography

What did you like about the book? Kate Moore was five year’s old in 1817 when her father was appointed as lighthouse keeper on Fayerweather Island in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They did not have to live in the lighthouse but had a farmhouse, gardens and animals.  Kate helped with all the chores, tending the garden and the animals. When she was 12 years old her father became unable to tend the lighthouse himself.  So Kate stepped in, a mighty job for a twelve-year-old girl.  It was 600 treacherous steps from the farmhouse to the lighthouse, a journey made more dangerous in stormy weather.  Kate had to carry her lantern and a heavy bucket of whale oil to the top of the lighthouse to light the lamps.  Sometimes the lamps were snuffed out by the howling storms and Kate would have to light them all over again. When her father died, Kate was appointed the official lighthouse keeper.  Altogether over her years as lighthouse keeper, Kate saved 23 sailors from perishing in the storms.  The illustrations done in watercolor, ink, pastel and pencil depict the area at this time along with the stormy tumultuous seas, the farmstead, and the interior of the lighthouse.  More biographical information is included at the end with a timeline of Kate’s life, an author’s note and a selected bibliography.

Anything you did not like about the book? Not a word is mentioned about Kate’s mother, either in the story or in the afterword. Kate was 12 in 1822 when she began caring for the lighthouse; her father died in 1871- what happened in-between?

To whom would you recommend this book? Those interested in the history of lighthouses and of female lighthouse keepers will welcome this book.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and lower elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture book biographies

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: August 30, 2022

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