Written by Chara Curtis
Illustrated by Rebecca Hyland
A bright, eager Turkish schoolboy excitedly relays to his father the amazing thing he learned in class: astronauts have landed on the moon! The boy is shocked and dismayed at his father’s furious, violent reaction. Americans may be touting this “giant leap for mankind,” but in some cultures to speak of—even to conceive of!—walking on “the face of God’s shining light” is nothing less than blasphemy. In this profound and moving story, the boy faces the challenge of reconciling knowledge with belief.
More to the story:
This book, unfortunately, is out of print, though I was able to obtain a copy through Amazon. I encountered the story through the latest issue of Tikkun magazine which featured an article by children’s literature professor Graeme Wend-Walker. The article, entitled “Reaching for the Moon: A Children’s Book Author Challenges the Separation of Science and Religion,” discusses the plot and provides insightful commentary on the themes of education, religious belief, and reconciliation.
Wend-Walker also comments on the ways in which children’s literature is uniquely capable not only of addressing the prickly subjects of science and religion, but also of guiding young readers in their navigation of this increasingly important landscape.
In the case of No One Walks on My Father’s Moon, an elegant example of the ways in which picture books can make an outstanding contribution to the literary world, I recommend that adults use the story to open dialogue among themselves as well as with young people. Religious education settings within any faith tradition would be particularly conducive to such conversation.
(Interestingly, when I was linking the image to the Amazon page, I saw an impassioned review criticizing the very aspects of this book which I find so necessary to discuss. Click here to see my response.)