‘Keepers of the Lighthouse’ to feature Caldecott Medal winner

The cover of Sophie Blackall's Caldecott Award-winning book "Hello Lighthouse"

OSWEGO — Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall will be the keynote artist in the inaugural “Keepers of the Lighthouse” celebration, a new collaboration of local organizations and businesses to boost cultural awareness and appreciation of the Port City’s history and landmarks.

Presented by the Children’s Board of Oswego in collaboration the river's end bookstore, the H. Lee White Maritime Museum and Oswego Harborfest, “Keepers of the Lighthouse” is a multi-day event designed to appeal to families and lifelong learners.

The celebration of reading, summer, Oswego and lighthouses is made possible by CNY Arts and the Richard S. Shineman Foundation

“A steadfast lighthouse in a vast ocean is a beacon of light in the dark. It gives us hope that there might be someone or something watching over us too as we toss upon stormy seas,” said Blackall, whose most recent book “Hello Lighthouse” tells the story of a lighthouse and its steadfast keeper. “A child at a school visit offered me a wonderful description of a lighthouse, ‘They're like helpful castles in the sea.’”

Oswego’s West Pierhead Lighthouse is one of the city’s most iconic structures, built in 1934 and for the last several years the subject of intense volunteer restoration efforts through the H. Lee White Maritime Museum.

On July 23 at 10 a.m., Blackall will be reading and signing copies of “Hello Lighthouse” at the river's end bookstore. The event is free but registration requires emailing info@riversendbookstore.com. Following that event, Blackall will conduct an illustration lab at the Children’s Museum of Oswego, across the street from the river's end bookstore.

Blackall’s “Hello Lighthouse” charts the life of a lighthouse keeper, his family and their beloved home.

“The idea of running away to live in a remote lighthouse appeals to many of us as a mental escape from an overcrowded city or the stresses of modern life — or even just the grim daily news,” Blackall said in an interview with The Palladium-Times. “I wanted to tell a story about the life of a single family, which could, in essence, be any family in any house. This family experiences separation and reunion, birth and growth, drama and peril, change and loss, hope and renewal.”

In addition to Blackall’s visit, “Keepers of the Lighthouse” will continue all year. Art generated by children taking part in “Keepers of the Lighthouse” will be displayed at the Children’s Museum of Oswego along with a prize for the winners.

The Palladium-Times is partnered with “Keepers of the Lighthouse” for a writing contest open to all local students and in partnership with the H. Lee White Maritime Museum and Oswego Harborfest. In the week leading up to Harborfest (July 22-26), The Palladium-Times will be featuring winning submissions from students.

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