A Smile as Big as the Moon is an inspiring story about a class of special education students who dream of going to Space Camp. What began as a memoir written by real-life special education teacher Mike Kersjes has now been made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie of the same title.
Kersjes, played by John Corbett (Sex in the City, My Big Fat Greek Wedding), is also a main character in the film. He decides that participating in NASA’s Space Camp would do wonders for his class’s self esteem. The class itself is made up of young people with learning disabilities, Tourette’s syndrome, emotional problems, and one boy with Down syndrome who dreams of becoming an astronaut. What seems an impossible feat–to bring a group of struggling students to a competitive education program designed for gifted science learners–is made possible with the help of a fellow teacher and nine months of rigorous teaching, training, and fundraising.
Many of the characters in the class are played by young actors with disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome. The story focuses on their ability to work together to overcome numerous obstacles that stand in the way of achieving their dream. The great thing about Kersjes is that he does not talk down to his students. His belief in their ability to achieve great things is a large part of what propels his students toward their goals.
A Smile as Big as the Moon debuts this Sunday, January 29, on ABC.
Source: The Futon Critic