“Hello Lighthouse” with Sophie Blackall at Swan’s Island and Tremont

Author/illustrator Sophie Blackall ended her “Hello Lighthouse” tour with visits at Swan’s Island Elementary School and Tremont Consolidated School. (Read about her school visits to Beals, Lubec and Whiting!)

Swan’s Island Elementary School

After a week of blustery and cool days, the sun finally made an appearance as we boarded the ferry in Bass Harbor headed for a fun-filled day with Swan’s Island Elementary School.

First up was the K-2 class, with a few visitors from the local preschool. After a read aloud from “Hello Lighthouse,” the kids got to drawing their own aliens. Many were proud of their art and gifted them to Sophie! She definitely had a heavier suitcase on the way back home, thanks to all the art and thank-you notes she received.

Grades 6-8 created a “Missed Connections” mural. There were some really talented artists in this group, who created cat faces, crazy clothing and other oddly proportioned body parts. The mural was hung in the classroom for all to appreciate.

In the grades 3-5 workshop, the kids created watercolor lighthouses. The day before Sophie’s visit, the fishermen father of a student helped the class create their own buoys that they planned to decorate with their own special lighthouses and display at the school’s art show.

After the workshops, the entire school hopped on a bus and headed to Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse, where everyone had the chance to explore the winding staircase, take in the panoramic view from the light room and visit the old keeper’s house. It was a perfect way to cap off the “Hello Lighthouse” program.

Tremont Consolidated School 

Tremont provided the perfect ending to our whirlwind tour. As students, teachers, and IRW board members filed into the gym for the all-school presentation, we were treated to sea shanties sung by the middle schoolers. “Can you believe they made me go to all those other schools first?” Sophie asked the students. (Every school was Sophie’s favorite!) When she asked who’d read all of the “Ivy and Bean” books (which Sophie illustrates) many hands shot in the air.

After Sophie’s presentation, Principal Jandrea True presented her with flowers and a gift from the school. Sophie was touched by the sweet gesture.

Prior to Sophie’s visit, grades pre-K to 2 teamed up in groups with one student from each grade to make lighthouses out of milk and orange juice cartons. They were little towers with both interior and exterior details.

After the art workshop in which Sophie had them create aliens, librarian Joyce Mahoney was very excited to see the kids reading their books immediately after receiving them. One second grader asked“How long have you been in your writing and illustrating career?”

During the grades 3-4 workshop, the students drew their own rooms that they would like to see to place inside a giant lighthouse. They had so many creative ideas — one was even equipped with a disco ball and a slide!

It was a wonderful day to end with Sophie, who inspired hundreds of kids and teachers in just five days. As one fourth grader from Tremont said, “I just want to say that I really get inspired by your art. It actually inspired me to animate.”

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