Reaching For the Stars

Months ago, I listened to a virtual author talk sponsored by the Los Angeles Public Library System. As a bonus, everyone in attendance was eligible to enter a raffle to receive a free copy of one of the author’s books. 

You probably guessed by now that I was lucky enough to win a copy — José M. Hernández’s Reaching For the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut

For most of my childhood (fourth grade to eleventh grade), my dream was to become an astronaut. And today I am just as curious, just as awe-struck of those individuals who do become astronauts. 

This week, I’d like to share a few passages that stood out to me during my reading. What really struck me were the supportive words and encouragement the author received from so many members of his family as well as several of his teachers. 

“That is why the individuals who are named José are known as creators. You have the power to create a reality out of your dreams and shape your life accordingly.” Encouraging words spoken by Mr. Hernández’s abuelo. 

I loved reading about Mr. Hernández watching Neil Armstrong on the moon and deciding he wanted to be an astronaut:

“When I heard these words, I felt indescribably shocked. I was captivated by this man, by this science, which left me in awe. Absorbed in the broadcast, I got up abruptly to get closer to the television screen. I had an epiphany. During that exact moment, I discovered what I wanted to be when I grew up: an astronaut, or un astronauta. And from that moment on, I was determined that absolutely nothing would get in the way of my dream.”

And while strapped in and waiting for space shuttle Discovery to launch, Mr. Hernández thought:

“La magia, or magic, is hard to discover, but I believe that passion in the heart and positive thinking in the mind are the two ingredients for achieving something extraordinary. Just ask a scientist, an inventor, or an artist — a simple idea or dream has given birth to some of our history’s greatest inventions.”

You can also learn more about Mr. Hernández and his Reaching for the Stars Foundation by clicking here. A Netflix film is being planned about Mr. Hernández’s life and journey into space. 

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