A Short Story by Tom Hanks
Sometimes merely following the meandering stream of links occasioned by an original link shared by someone else, leads us to a happy and unexpected revelation. Serendipity. Such was the case when a friend shared a 60th birthday tweet by Tom Hanks, leading my wife to a series of additional clever and creative tweets by Mr. Hanks. One thing led to another, and we found ourselves at a short story by Hanks, published in the New Yorker in 2014. Within the New Yorker story was a link to a recording of Hanks himself reading the story. We listened to it together and both enjoyed it, while learning some of the hard science involved in a trans-lunar orbital flight.
Knowing that Tom Hanks was immersed in a study of NASA and Lunar travel while preparing for his role in the 1995 film, Apollo 13 , I fully expected that the “science” in his little piece of “fiction” would be spot-on. I was not disappointed. I immediately thought that the narrative itself, being so well-written and well-delivered, would easily capture and keep the attention of school children, especially since Hanks weaves in references to the e-gadgets that so enamor contemporary kids. So, I hope that if you know any young people you will share this link with them. I think they will find this a science lesson wrapped in a very tasty and colorful shell.