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Wayne State University Press

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A Pocketful of Passage

Loraine Campbell

Award Winner

Children's Literature, Great Lakes, Maritime Studies, Michigan

Great Lakes Books Series

Published: February 2007
ISBN: 9780814333419
Pages: 96 Size: 5.5 x 7.5
Published: February 2007
ISBN: 9780814335550

This true story will excite the imagination and warm the heart.

— Gloria Whelan

A Pocketful of Passage is based on the memories of Annie Bowen Hoge, whose father was a lighthouse keeper on the Great Lakes for many years. Every summer until she was nine, Annie went with her brother, sister, and mother to live at Passage Island, where her father tended the signal that guided ships through an important shipping lane between Passage Island and Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

A Pocketful of Passage is told from the point of view of nine-year-old Annie, who loved living in the old, secluded lighthouse amid the breathtaking scenery of northern Michigan. Her surroundings provide a wonderland of places to play and explore. Annie’s stories include boat trips to nearby Isle Royale ("the big island"), tales of mischief with visiting children, and a visit from the crew of a fishing boat lost in the lake. She also describes the day-to-day life of the lighthouse keepers, giving simple explanations about the purpose and the procedure of her father’s job. Yet Annie’s parents see beyond the adventures of Passage Island to recognize the danger for their young children, living isolated from doctors, stores, churches, and schools. When they tell Annie that this will be their final summer at Passage Island, her stories take on a new significance.

Loraine Campbell has combined Annie’s recollections with extensive research about lighthouse keeping to present an informative and enjoyable account of Michigan history for young readers. Maps are also included to illustrate the locations mentioned in the book.

Loraine Campbell is museum manager at the Troy Museum & Historic Village.

What could be more satisfying for a young and adventurous girl than summers on a tiny island in wild Lake Superior with a lighthouse for her home? This true story will excite the imagination and warm the heart."

– Gloria Whelan, recipient of the National Book Award for Homeless Bird and author of Summer of the War and The Mackinac Bridge: The Story of the Five-Mile Poem

The young Annie Bowen comes to life as a well-rounded and well-developed character with childhood emotions, spunk, adventure, and contentment. Campbell has done a fine job of conveying to the young reader the circumstances of a lighthouse family during the early forties."

– Rita Soltan, library youth services consultant and author of Reading Raps: A Book Club Guide for Librarians, Kids, and Families

Campbell's story is a fitting tribute to Annie Bowen and the island and lighthouse she loved so well. It is a delightful read with just the right mix of childlike description and adventure-sufficient to captivate preteens but short enough to share with younger audiences."

– Craig Roney, professor of children’s literature at Wayne State University College of Education

  • 2009 Michigan Center for the Book Selection for the National Book Festival - Result: Winner
  • 2009 Michigan Center for the Book Selection for the National Book Festival - Result: Winner