The Darkest Dark

The Darkest Dark
  • Author: Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion
  • Illustrator: The Fan Brothers
  • Year Published: 2016
  • ISBN: 978-0-316-39472-7

Science Topics

Minimum Suggested Grade Level

Maximum Suggested Grade Level


This book is about astronaut Chris Hadfield and his fear of the dark as a child. He overcomes his fear after he sees the moon landing and realizes that space is much darker than any dark he has ever seen, but that there is beauty within that darkness.


  • Appropriateness: High
  • Authority: High
  • Accuracy: Medium
  • Liteary Artistry: High
  • Appearance: High


Does the book foster development of processes?

This book does a good job of allowing children to infer, predict, communicate, and observe. Within the book there are many places when one can stop and ask the students to make predictions about what is going to happen with the main character and the students can describe what is happening in the illustrations. Also the students can make inferences on the characters mood by looking at the illustrations.

Does the book provide an opportunity for children to ask and answer their own questions?

Yes, this books provides many opportunities for the students to answer their own questions. For example, if the students asked, "Where did those little black figures come from?" they would find out that they are part of the characters imagination and how he thinks that aliens lurk in the darkness.

Does the book encourage children to think for themselves?

Yes, but the book does not actively ask the student any direct questions. Instead, the book relies on the feelings of the character which encourage the students to follow their dreams. Furthermore, the use of the character's imagination is essential, because it also encourages the students to use their own.

Is the science topic addressed in ways that are appropriate to the lesson?

The content is appropriate to the lesson.

Is the content based on sound scientific principles? Is it accurate?

It is not accurate in the sense that the main character exaggerates and imagines a lot throughout the story. However, it accurately portrays the life of an astronaut and provides factual information about his life. Additionally, the author talks about the moon landing and within the illustrations it gives us some insights as to how the moon landing was broadcast at them time that it happened.

Does the book distinguish between fact and fiction?

Yes, because the story is presented as a narrative. At the end however, the fact part comes in with an about the author and actual photographs from his life.

Are the illustrations clear and accurate?

Yes, because the illustrations  convey what the author is saying. They also capture what the character is feeling and how everything within the story is playing out.

Is the book written at the level of your students?

Yes, this book is appropriate for grades Pre-K-3rd. The vocabulary is not dense, but the story and moral that it conveys is appropriate.

Is there a multicultural component? Is it free from stereotyping?

No, because the focus is on one American astronaut and The Moon Landing. However it does not contain any cultural stereotypes.

Is the book free from gender bias?

No, because the main character is a boy. However, it does not necessarily present or reinforce any gender stereotypes because it encourages a children to follow their dreams.

Does the book show the close association between science and other disciplines?

The content of the book does not necessarily present other disciplines, however this book could be used in language arts and for SEL (social emotional learning). The connection to SEL is due to the nature of the story. It presents how a child is afraid of the dark and how he overcomes this fear by using his aspirations as motivation.

Does the book present a positive attitude toward science and technology?

Yes it does, because it shows how space travel influenced a child and how it helped him get over his fear of the dark. Knowing more helped him be less afraid, which is the nature of science.