“With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” – Oscar Wilde
I was sitting on our picnic blanket under our tree on the sidewalk going through the books we were going to read for our “sidewalk schooling” and our 4.2-year-old was going around picking weeds and wildflowers when she suddenly exclaimed, “Mama! Moon!” I look up and see a glowing, perfect half moon, a first quarter moon on a beautiful bright blue sky.
She was so enthralled that I quickly ran up to our little library to add Gail Gibbon’s The Moon Book to our afternoon read. Of all the information there, she was most interested in the efforts and expeditions of man to the moon. So I also got out Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca—a captivating, transportive book (Michael Collins even said, “Reading Moonshot gave me the feeling I was back up in space.”) which has been, since then, a favorite (you can find more notes and coloring pages by the author on his website).
We watched the Apollo 11 launch (next year is its 50th year) and also looked at real photos of the different Apollo missions from Full Moon by Michael Light.
The beginnings of her fascination with the moon, spacecrafts, and astronauts which would pervade her pretend play and dialogues with Daddy.
Before bed we’d read Ayu and the Perfect Moon by David Cox, an entrancing story set in a small village in Bali where a little girl danced a traditional Indonesian dance under a full moon. And when the full moon, the hunter’s moon rose over our own little home, we read “The Moon was but a Chin of Gold” by our favorite Emily Dickinson.
We usually have music and art appreciation as part of our daily rhythm. So I thought we’d listen to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and I also took the chance to introduce a new composer, Frédéric Chopin, as we listened to his Nocturnes. We also ventured into looking at how different artists painted the moon starting with Van Gogh—paying attention to the details of his style and eventually discovering and declaring her own.
You see how that Oscar Wilde quote was apt.
Trust that there are wonders when we follow the child. And when we allow them to take our hand and the lead… Ah, they’ll even take us to the moon!