Keeper of the Light: Juliet Fish Nichols Fights the San Francisco Fog

Cameron. Apr. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781951836375.
PreS-Gr 2–In a story inspired by real journals, this picture book gives readers a fictional glimpse into the day-to-day activities of a dedicated lighthouse keeper. In 1902, Juliet Fish Nichols began working at Angel Island to guide ships safely to San Francisco. Set in a journal format, descriptive language and hazy illustrations put the readers in her place as she tends to the mundane, everyday chores, while “the fog, my foe,” is a constant concern. Eventually, the story’s pace picks up when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake hits, followed months later with the lighthouse’s machinery breaking. Every 15 seconds, through a long night, Juliet must strike the bell to warn ships in the fog. Readers will admire her bravery and steadfastness, but might struggle to stay interested during the story’s slower sections. The specialized focus may also narrow the audience to local readers. There are intriguing tidbits dropped along the way, like how both Nichols and her mother were lighthouse keepers at the same time in different locations, but those are not explained until the back matter.
VERDICT For patient readers with a demonstrated interest in lighthouses or historical fiction.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing