HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: My #1 picture book pick!
By all accounts, we are past the picture book phase in our home. We no longer have a child who is of the age to crawl up into my lap, picture book in hand, armed with a wide-eyed request for me to read to her (oh, how i miss those days sometimes!) However, it is my firm belief that one is never too old to truly enjoy the magic of a well-written, beautifully drawn picture book. I still love reading them and, if she's really being honest, my daughter will tell you she does, too.
That's why when we received a copy of the paperback edition of The Darkest Dark by astronaut Chris Hadfield, which came out this year, we were thrilled.
The Darkest Dark is inspired by astronaut Chris Hadfield's childhood. The main character named (what else?) Chris is afraid of the dark. He doesn't want to stay in his own bed, because his room is too dark, "The kind of dark that attracts the worst sort of aliens." He tries everything not to go to bed, but his parents have other plans. They even had to bribe him to stay in his own bed with threats that if he didn't, he wouldn't be allowed to go to the neighbours' house the next day. The next day just happened to be July 20, 1969 -- the date of the very first moon landing. Chris doesn't want to miss that, so he faces the darkness of his room and stays in his bed. The next day, Chris' life changes forever. He realizes that space is"the darkest dark ever," but he also realized that he wants nothing more than to explore every corner of that darkness. He was to be an astronaut.
"The story of a boy who faced his fears...and went on to reach the stars."
This is more than just a great story based on one of Canada's national treasures. It teaches kids to face their fears, to dream big, and that anything -- and everything -- is possible. Whether you're a grandparent who remembers watching the moon landing on TV, a parent who watched with their as Chris Hadfield himself performed his own rendition of "Space Oddity" from the International Space Station (like we did) this is a magical story about the power of possibility and the wonderful worlds that await just beyond our biggest fears.
(Side note: Another thing you may not know about me is that I am absolutely obsessed with all things related to space and astronauts, so the fact that this book was written by a personal hero, Chris Hadfield, was a major point in its favour).
If you have a little one in your life who is battling a fear of the dark, or someone who could simply use a little encouragement to follow her dreams, The Darkest Dark would make a lovely, inspirational Christmas gift. In October of this year, Penguin Random House even published an edition with a glow-in-the-dark cover -- perfect for gift giving!