2016 in [Book] Review Books Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Shining Light Against “The Darkest Dark” by Chris Hadfield and The Fan Brothers

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.


For those who are looking for picturebooks to share with their aspiring young astronauts, here is another book that you should definitely add to your list. So glad to have found this title in our libraries.


The Darkest Dark

Written by: Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion lllustrated by: The Fan Brothers
Published by: Little Brown and Company, 2016
ISBN: 1101918624 (ISBN13: 9781101918623)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

As I was drafting this post, I started to think of outstanding picturebook biographies on astronauts and space scientists and could only think of two, off the top of my head. Hence The Darkest Dark is a valuable addition to this list.

Inspired by Chris Hadfield’s recollections of his childhood, the young Chris is shown to have always thought of himself as an astronaut traveling off into space, whether he is in bed or in the bath or playing with his dog.


Yet this astronaut-to-be also had a deep dark secret: he is afraid of sleeping alone in his room in the darkest dark:


While his parents had tried most everything to get him to sleep by himself, it all didn’t seem to work – until that singular moment when he and his family and practically the entire town gathered together in one house with the only TV on the whole island – to watch the first man to land on the moon.


While the night remained the same, awash in all its darkness, something in Chris had changed: an illumination within him that provided not only courage but determination for him to actualize what he has always thought he would be in the future: an astronaut.


I especially loved reading the Author’s Note as Hadfield shared his not-too-smooth journey to becoming what he always wanted to be. A deceptively-simple but thoroughly-beautiful story of courage and persistence as one finds within oneself the needed light to “the darkest dark.”

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

2 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Shining Light Against “The Darkest Dark” by Chris Hadfield and The Fan Brothers

  1. I enjoyed this book, and anything by the Fan Brothers! Thanks for pairing it up with the other books.


  2. I’ve read this, and thought it was a fun true telling of being afraid of the dark combined with the “who” it was, an astronaut who did some wonderful things. It may support those young kids who feel embarrassed about being afraid, and tell them that things will change. Thanks, Myra.


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