The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield is by some distance the most inspirational children’s book I’ve reviewed. That’s not least because the author is an actual astronaut!
About Chris Hadfield
Chris Hadfield is regarded as one of the most accomplished astronauts in the world. He has been to space three times and was Commander of the International Space Station for five months on his most recent mission.
In the back cover of the book, there is a little message from Chris and an excerpt from it reads, “The dark is for dreams – and morning is for making them come true.” And this book is all about embracing your wildest dreams that you can’t imagine could even be possible – and making them come true.
The Darkest Dark
The Darkest Dark is about a little boy called Chris who wants to be an astronaut, but he’s afraid of the dark. He doesn’t want to sleep in his own room, but his parents need to get some sleep too, so he has to.Chris tries really hard to sleep in his own room, but he’s petrified of aliens getting him in the dark. So his parents try all sorts of tactics to get him to stay put. Until eventually, they give him an ultimatum. If he doesn’t stay in his room, he won’t be allowed to go next door tomorrow.
And tomorrow, something really exciting is happening next door. Because they have a television, which will be showing the real astronauts landing on the moon. So Chris stays in his own bed and eventually falls asleep.
When he’s asleep, he dreams of going into space himself. And the next day when it gets dark, everyone huddles around the television and together they watch the moon landing. Chris realises that on the moon, it is totally dark. Darker than anywhere he’s ever seen. So that night he turns off the lights in his room so it’s really dark. He can still see shadows that looked a bit like aliens, but he’s no longer frightened. He wants to explore the night sky.
Living your dreams
In the story, Chris realises that you’re never really alone because your dreams are always there with you. Dreams about the life you want to lead – that really can come true. The book ends with a write-up about the real Chris Hadfield. The little boy who dreamed of being an astronaut and when he grew up, his dream came true.
This is a book I will read again and again with my girls because the message it portrays is the most important thing for any child to know. Dream big and work hard because you can be anything you want to be. Even an astronaut.