by Rana Asfour
Picture this: you wake up one morning and decide you're going to write a book. Something you've never done before but your mind's made up. You decide on a children's book maybe because your childhood best friend, who's an illustrator, can scribble out the pictures for you. You think you'll make it about a female Water Bear (although not really a bear, it's still a badass) on a journey to the Antarctic as part of a quest to find a super-hero because you figure everyone loves a superhero and why shouldn't the adventurer be a female? Just before it's published you reassure yourself that although you know your book is really good, that won't necessarily mean others will find it so. But 'it's ok' you repeat to yourself because it's the first time you've ever written a book. Like ever. Unknown to you at the time that not only would your book find success here among earthly mortals but that it would skyrocket all the way into space. Literally, SKYROCKET INTO OUTER SPACE.
On April 26, the Space X Falcon 9 rocket is reportedly scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center to deliver supplies to the International Space Station and 'Willow the Water Bear' by Houston T. Kidd - a children's book published by Mascot Books and illustrated by Eric L. Bates - will be on that ride. It's going to be read out loud for an 'intergalactic' story time for children and classrooms on earth.
The Story Time from Space program, started by educator Patricia Tribe and astronaut Alvin Drew in 2014, is a non profit of the Global Space Education Foundation that sends children's books into space after which astronauts can videotape themselves reading these books to the children of Earth. These story time videos and books are then placed on the Story Time From Space website with free access to everyone. Astronauts on the ISS will also conduct and videotape educational demonstrations designed by Veteran Canadian Astronaut, Bjarni Tryggvason, to complement the science concepts found in the Story Time From Space books.
So far, about 20 books with video demonstrations have made it into space. They can all be found on The Story Time from Space website. And adults, you're going to love them just as much as the children. They are all free to access and no subscription fees. If you're feeling generous though, they do have a donation option to help support the continuity of the program.
Now that's taking story telling to a whole new level. Don't you agree?
Click HERE if you're not really sure what a Water Bear is and see how cool and resilient these creatures are.