“Fish House Door” a New Children’s Classic

Set on an island off the coast of Maine, “The Fish House Door” is a story about the value of tradition and history, as well as the relationship between a father and son. Shawn comes from a long line of island lobstermen. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather have all hauled traps, painted buoys and cleaned their brushes on the door of the same fish house for decades. To Shawn, the door is just a weathered old piece of wood with broken hinges–until an art dealer comes to visit and gives Shawn a new perspective on the old door and a fresh look at the people and traditions that have shaped his past and will chart his future.

The book, which is probably best geared toward children ages 8-12, was written by Robert Baldwin, who died in 2007. Baldwin was a modern-day troubadour who sang, played the banjo and told stories wherever he went. His children’s books include “New England Whaler”, “This is the Sea That Feeds Us” and “Cities Through Time: Beijing”. After living in Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Iowa, Baldwin and his wife, Annabelle, settled in Newcastle, Maine.

Baldwin dedicated “The Fish House Door” to Robert Ives, an ordained minister and founder of the Carpenter’s Boat Shop, a nonprofit apprenticeship school and community in Pemaquid, Maine. The program aims to help people in transition find “a safe harbor before setting sail on a new course in life.” Apprentices attend for free and learn the trade of wooden-boat building, carpentry, furniture making, sailing and seamanship, and also perform community service.


Do you have a favorite nautical children’s book? If so, tell us about it in the comments box below and we may include it in future editorial.

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