Books, Current Events, Reviews

Dark Was the Night: Thus Begin Great Mysteries and Stories

Dark was the night is a phrase that instantly brings to mind tales of suspense, mystery, and the unknown. Whether it is ancient folklore or modern-day thrillers, it invites readers and listeners into the realms of not just fear but also wonder and the extraordinary. These words are proof of the power of storytelling. For with them we embark on journeys where heroes rise, villains lurk, and destinies unfold.

In the case of today’s featured book, which takes its title from Willie Johnson’s song of the same name, it definitely and literally launched Johnson into space! For this song is part of the Voyager Golden Records, included aboard the Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. The song itself borrows its name from a nineteenth century hymn popular with fasola singers in the American South.

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Dark Was the Night

Book Info

cover of book dark was the night featuring a watercolor illustration of a young boy playing a guitar

Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson’s Journey to the Stars by Gary Golio and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Description: The poignant story of Blind Willie Johnson–the legendary Texas musician whose song “Dark Was the Night” was included on the Voyager I space probe’s Golden Record

My Thoughts

While I might have heard some of Willie Johnson’s songs after moving to the US, I definitely did not know anything about him or his inspirational story before reading this book. Once again, reaffirms the reasons for my love of picture book biographies.

This picture book introduces readers to his fascinating story and a little bit about the titular song. It is a story of hope, and of lightness when we think ‘dark was the night’. Gary Golio’s straightforward yet powerful narrative along with E.B. Lewis’s stunning and rich watercolors effectively brings Johnson’s inspiring and illuminating spirit to readers. The story shows that even in darkness, there is light and hope; in loneliness, there is life and love.

Plus, don’t miss the backmatter which includes more about Johnson as well as the Voyager records with this song. Overall, a must-read!

You can listen to the song here. It brought to mind another favorite musical movie of mine ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou?’ (Have you watched this one?)

Watterson’s The Mysteries: Exploring How Dark Was the Night??

The Mysteries

The Mysteries by Bill Watterson and John Kascht (Literary Graphic Novels | Andrews McMeel Publishing | October 10, 2023)


From Bill Watterson, bestselling creator of the beloved comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, and John Kascht, one of America’s most renowned caricaturists, comes a mysterious and beautifully illustrated fable about what lies beyond human understanding. 

In a fable for grown-ups by cartoonist Bill Watterson, a long-ago kingdom is afflicted with unexplainable calamities. Hoping to end the torment, the king dispatches his knights to discover the source of the mysterious events. Years later, a single battered knight returns.

For the book’s illustrations, Watterson and caricaturist John Kascht worked together for several years in unusually close collaboration. Both artists abandoned their past ways of working, inventing images together that neither could anticipate—a mysterious process in its own right.

Why This Book Today

July 5th is Watterson’s birthday, so why not? Plus, we love Calvin and Hobbes in our family, and when I heard about this book a few months ago, I was thrilled!! I hope to get to read it when it is out for I cannot wait to see what brilliance Watterson creates in this book that seems to fit today’s featured phrase ‘dark was the night’ to a T. And it’s release month might also be intentional.

Publisher Simon & Schuster’s website calls this a “fable for grown-ups.” That only makes me even more eager to read it! What about you?

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read Dark Was the Night? And are you looking forward to The Mysteries like me? Any other similar reads or recommendations? Have you listened to Willie Johnson?

11 thoughts on “Dark Was the Night: Thus Begin Great Mysteries and Stories

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your post about “Dark Was the Night” and “The Mysteries.” The way you explored the power of storytelling and connected it to these books was captivating. Your personal thoughts and insights added depth to the discussion. Keep up the great work!

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