Hoda Kotb is reading bedtime stories!
The TODAY co-anchor announced Friday that she joined book publisher Harper Collins to narrate "Goodnight Moon," the classic children's book published in 1947 by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd.
The audiobook, which releases September 13 and is available for pre-order here, follows a special-anniversary edition of "Goodnight Moon," which will be released on August 30. Both celebrate the book's 75th anniversary.
The New York Times best-selling tale has sold more than 40 million copies and has been translated into dozens of languages. It's also been spoofed in sequel novels ("Goodnight iPad," "Good Morning Zoom"), a Miley Cyrus and Maya Rudolph dedication on NBC's Maya & Marty and "Game of Thrones" video parodies.
Most understand the ageless allure of "Goodnight Moon."
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Sure, Wise's rhythmic and simple prose about a bunny going to sleep is entertaining. But it was also revolutionary for its “Here-and-Now” writing style, according to Smithsonian magazine, that even Hoda found calming.
"When I first saw 'Goodnight Moon' and read it, I was like 'What is it about this book that is captivating to kids?" Hoda said. "I realized it's everything. It's a child's room, it's a child's brain and it's the calming effect that words on a page can have."
As Smithsonian magazine reports, when "Goodnight Moon" was published, fairy tales were all the rage in children's literature. So versus like, "In the great green room, there was a telephone, and a red balloon," which dramatized kids' immediate surroundings, was unusual.
Still, "Goodnight Moon" was never stacked at one major institution: the New York Public Library, until 1972.
According to a 2020 investigation by Slate, librarian Anne Carroll Moore didn't care for Wise's writing (at the time, the author's work included books like "When the Wind Blew" and "The Runaway Bunny") and Moore's opinion vibrated at libraries across the country.
Decades later, when book sales couldn't be denied, the NYPL made room on its shelves, a spokesperson for the institution speculated to Slate.
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As Slate reports, "Goodnight Moon" has been checked out 100,000 times from libraries in New York City.
Wise herself was just as dynamic as her art.
Although she was a feisty New Yorker who painted glow-in-the-dark stars on her bedroom ceiling, Wise endured a lonely childhood void of parental attention, reported the New York Times. As a result, in adulthood Wise became a "needy" people pleaser, especially in relationships.
Curiously, Wise wasn't what you'd consider "kid-friendly" — according to various sources, she reportedly told a journalist, "I don’t particularly like children."
Wise died at 42 from a blood clot in her brain following a medical procedure in France, while engaged to James Stillman Rockefeller Jr, a member of the famous American family. But her words remain impactful to children across the globe, 75 years after she wrote them.