Spread the Love Children’s Book Challenge – From the Earth to the Moon

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Guest blogger Micra reminds us of one of the favorite books of her youth, From Earth to the Moon. Micra and her neighbor have started a community book swap, and she intends to donate a copy of this book to the swap in the hope that a neighborhood child will enjoy this book.

I have a sister ten years older than I who has always been an avid reader so I was lucky enough to get raised in a house full of books. I started reading β€œadult” book pretty early in my life and I don’t have many memories about children books. Of course, I read Little Women, Little Dorrit, Eight Cousins… all my sister’s children’s books. But I also read some that were especially bought for me. One of the books that influenced me the most was From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne. I don’t remember precisely how old I was when I first read it, but I’m sure I was still in Primary School. My passion for Astronomy and Science Fiction began exactly with that book and I was so excited when Neil Armstrong touched the Moon soil for the first time in 1969! So I am sure  I had already read it before that date.EBE46

Jules Verne wrote this novel in 1865. He described the preparation and the travel of a man toward the Moon. All the process involved in this incredible task, such as the money needed, the bet involved (there is always a bet in Verne’s novels). To leave Earth and reach the Moon was something totally inconceivable at those times. A little more than 100 years after the book was written, the dream became reality. Armstrong did indeed cite From the Earth to the Moon while returning to Earth.'From_the_Earth_to_the_Moon'_by_Henri_de_Montaut_39I don’t remember the plot very well, but I perfectly recall the sense of imagination, the ignition of my fantasy. It was perhaps my first venture in something not properly children oriented. I interpreted their adventure, bet and struggle to survive as a metaphor. I began to think about what Man was created for, what the meaning of our existence was. The men in that book had a dream, wanted to know, wanted to leave our little planet to discover the universe around them. I probably was hit deeply, because, since that reading, I maintained my scientific curiosity, I never stopped thinking that man should search the unknown to find his answers. No matter how difficult the task can be, it’s always worth a try. As Dante wrote in his Divina CommediaFatti non foste a viver come bruti, ma per seguir virtute e conoscenza [you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge ] (Inferno, Canto XXVI). I was a child, but, reading that book, I started to think and hope like an adult, I started to need to grow, to know, to understand.

We are living in very different times from my childhood ones. For the best and the worse, of course. I know children could perhaps laugh while reading this book. Still, I’m convinced that the drive to the unknown, the challenge to the odds of success, the need to know, to verify our own ideas described in the book could still do the magic. To me, the bullet shot toward the Moon was a metaphor for the travel a man must do in his life to reach a goal. That isn’t changed. We are still traveling on a bullet trying to reach the Moon.

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13 thoughts on “Spread the Love Children’s Book Challenge – From the Earth to the Moon

  1. Thanks for contributing, Micra. This is a charming piece, made especially so because I know you are a sci fi fan to this day. And this was the book that started it all. I wonder what made your parents ( who whoever gifted it) choose this book for you?

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    • Thanks to you for hosting my post Perry πŸ™‚
      I don’t know why I received that book. Verne was considered a good writer for children, so his books were (and are) printed in children book series. There was a stationery store near my house where I used to buy toys, school material and books. Mursia Edition started to publish these wonderfully bound unabridged children books (the common thing was to let kids read shorter version of a book) and I loved them both visually and as reading. It’s even possible I bought it myself, I don’t remember. I was often ill at those times, so I spent my bed time reading, and reading. Anyway, that book was crucial in shaping my tastes and passions. I remember staying awake the night waiting for Neil Armstrong to do that famous first step on the Moon surface. My dream had come true πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks Katharine πŸ™‚
      Indeed, those first readings of Verne’s books opened my mind and let me search for proper science fiction. I started with Asimov, I think, and I still have to stop, even if I must admit that Golden Age sci-fi is my all time favorite.
      I was more than delighted to find out that our little Bilbo did a cinema version of one of the most incredible sci-fi (and humorist ) masterpiece of all times: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
      If I had to write about a book that changed my teenager years I would have chosen Way Station by Clifford D. Simak. A book I always advise anyone to read.

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        • Strange how the fantasy realms can appeal to us. There are some fantasy series I couldn’t even finish, while I devoured others. It’s like music, I think. If you don’t like a composer, you don’t like it, period. While others can move you to tears… πŸ™‚

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    • It’s great! Big fan too! I love the novel and the trick. First time I got the notion about Time Zones. What a revelation. I love many Verne’s book and I will always be fond of them and of the memories they bring to my mind.
      Thank you πŸ˜€

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  2. Pingback: Rosiepig loves Anne of Green Gables: spReAd the love book challenge guest post | Me + Richard Armitage

  3. That’s a lovely story, Micra! You remind me I should get my Jules Verne books out of the cellar and pass them on to my kids. It was Verne that made me develop a taste for adventure and led me further into fantasy and SF. As a teenager I devoured everything Asimov and Clarke had written, and as for Douglas Adams… well, 42, of course! πŸ˜€

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