Hachette Children’s Group has acquired a children’s book by the first man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong.
The Book of Bok: One Moon Rock’s Journey Through Time and Space is a picture book "about how the Earth and the Moon came to be, and the adventure of the first Moon landing". It was adapted from a speech Armstrong gave while accepting a NASA award in 2006.
Featuring illustrations by Kate Greenaway Medal-winner Grahame Baker Smith, it will published by HCG’s non-fiction Wren & Rook imprint on 1st April 2021. Managing editor Liza Miller signed the contract for world rights in the text with the Neil Armstrong Trust via Alan Lynch Artists; and in the artwork via Alison Eldred.
"You might think that rocks are boring lumps you find on the ground, but scientists have a saying: 'Rocks remember'. And if there’s one rock that has been on a truly unforgettable adventure, it’s Bok," reads the book's blurb. "Created in the Earth-shattering collision that led to the formation of the Moon, Bok has witnessed stars bursting into being, meteors streaking through space and a fiery, volcanic planet transforming into a life-filled haven called Earth. And early one morning, he found himself rudely awoken by a peculiar creature picking him up and throwing him into a box ... That is how Bok and Neil Armstrong first met, and this is their (true) story."
Miller commented: "When I first read Neil’s speech, I felt a shiver down my spine. It was immediately clear he had recited a practically perfectly formed picture-book text to a group of NASA scientists. I feel honoured to publish Neil’s story, which manages to balance a profound understanding of the universe with a cheeky and charming main character, the irrepressible Bok. Grahame has done a masterful job realising Neil’s vision – this book is, quite simply, majestic."
Carol Armstrong, Neil Armstrong's widow, commented: "Grahame Baker Smith, true to Neil’s sense of science wrapped in whimsy, has illustrated for the child in all of us. Bok is a rock with charisma … remember."
Baker Smith said: "If you could have sneaked a peek into my studio whilst I was working on The Book of Bok, you wouldn't have seen me sitting there, but a 10-year-old boy whose Christmases had all come at once. As a lad, I made numerous paintings and drawings of the Moon, the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft and the astronauts who, to me, were figures of legend. I am ineffably grateful to Carol Armstrong for giving me the opportunity and very great honour of creating this book for Neil's words. It is my humble homage to a man whose attitude and deeds have been a life-long inspiration."