Michelle Robinson, Nick East (illustrator)
As two young boys get ready for bed they look out of the window at the starry night and think about their daddy, an astronaut, in his rocket ship and imagine what they would see and do if they were in space as well. In no time at all they find themselves having an adventure of their own as they blast off from earth and meet their dad in space.
Goodnight Spaceman is a rhyming bedtime story with striking illustrations inspired by British astronaut Tim Peake and his young sons who watched him take off for the international space station. Produced in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and with a foreword by Tim Peake, this is a story to inspire lots of space themed fun.
Share the story
Before you start reading the book aloud to your child look at the cover picture and title pages together and talk together about what this story might be about. Then read the story aloud pausing when your child would like to talk about the pictures or story. Older children would be interested to hear the foreword too.
This is a rhyming story which makes it easy for joining in (once children are familiar with the story), you can pause so that children can complete the rhymes. You could also take turns with some of the double page spreads eg child ‘Goodnight shuttle, Goodnight base.’ Parent: ‘Goodnight deepest, darkest space’. The countdown to lift off would be fun for children to join in with as well.
Talk about the story
Look at the pictures of the boys’ bedroom and see how many space themed things you can spot together, there are lots!
Share favourite illustrations and what you like about them.
Did the children in the story really go into space? What does your child think?
What would be amazing about going into space?
Some of the words in the story eg ‘docking’ and ‘orbit’ may be puzzling. Talk together about what they mean. If you talk about the phrase ‘one small step, one giant leap’ you might like to look at our On the Moon activity page with resources on the first moon landings.
Talk about what your child knows about space, the names of the planets for example. See links below for more information.
Watch the story read aloud.
Things to make and do
Act out the story
Help you child dress up as a spaceman in a helmet (perhaps made from a small cardboard box or large paper bag) boots, large gloves and a back pack so that they can act out lift off and being in a space rocket. Perhaps you could be ‘mission control’ and start the count down!
Write a space diary
Print off the special sheet so that children can write a diary of their own imaginary adventures in space, which could be like the children in Goodnight Spaceman or something different!
Make a space picture
Children could use crayons or paint to make a big space picture, including rockets, planets and astronauts.
Make a junk model rocket
Stick cardboard or plastic tubes or containers together to make a rocket. Children could cover their model in glued paper and paint it.
Find out more
Find out how to draw a spaceman
Illustrator Nick East demonstrates here.
Make a poster about astronaut Tim Peake and the Principia mission on the International Space Station
Older children could do more research:
or The Solar System https://www.esa.int/esaKIDSen/SEMF8WVLWFE_OurUniverse_0.html
or The first moon landings, see our resources for On the Moon by Anna Milbourne and Benji Davies
Read more bedtime books by Michelle Robinson and Nick East
Read more books by author Michelle Robinson here
Other books by Michelle Robinson include:
A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting with David Roberts
Chicken Nugget with Tom McLaughlin
Read more books by illustrator, Nick East here
Who’s for Dinner? with Claire Freedman
Harry and the Monster with Sue Mongredien.