CrossFit Children’s Book Goodnight Box Takes Goodnight Moon to the Gym
“Warning: may inspire sleep-deprived adults to work out.”
Michael B. Horn and Tracy Kim Horn include this disclaimer in the first book of their CrossFit kids literature series released December 8, Goodnight Box. The children’s book, which follows the same cadence as well-known nighttime read, Goodnight Moon, introduces the ideas of health and wellness through a diversity of functional movements, using terminology found in the CrossFit Kids curriculum.
Behind the book: Tracy, who is a certified CrossFit Kids instructor, along with husband, Michael,have been avid CrossFitters for years, and it was around the time when Tracy says, it felt like “all of their friends were having kids” that they first came up with the idea for Goodnight Box.
But the sketched out first version “just sat” until six years ago, after they had their two twin daughters.
- “Once we did have our kids, Goodnight Moon definitely became a staple in our nightly routine — I think we had memorized Goodnight Moon, and we could probably recite it forwards and backwards — and we suddenly remembered, ‘Wait a minute, we wrote one of these books,’” Tracy says.
They then revisited the book, changing the prose to better fit the feel of Goodnight Moon. But once again, the manuscript sat — until the pandemic hit.
- “Everything got stripped away,” Tracy says, “And you really had to think about what’s important to you and where you want to spend your time.”
- “To us, our CrossFit gym and CrossFit in general, as a community, was something that we just wanted to make sure would still be there at the end of all of this,” she continues.
- “We said, we’ve got to do this,” adds Michael.
The story: Like Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Box is written in simple, poetry-like prose. It starts in a “big, bright box,” where there is “a whiteboard and a pull-up bar and a WOD filled with junkyard dogs jumping over arms.” The book follows as a class moves through “angry gorillas deadlift kettlebells” and kip swings, until the WOD is finished and it’s time to say goodnight.
What might surprise readers is the intention behind the story. Both Tracy and Michael, through their years of reading children’s literature to their now six-year-old twins, realized one thing: many children’s books don’t have female protagonists.
Tracy brings up the example of a book she remembers well, Players in Pigtails, which tells the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
- “We had to sort of skip over some of the parts, not because they’re not important, not because we don’t want to share them but because at age two, [kids] just live so in the moment,” Tracy explains.
- “There’s a certain amount of research,” Michael adds, “That when you lead with a negative message, the kid takes the negative message away and not the story of redemption and how she was able to play baseball.”
- “They take away ‘Oh, girls aren’t supposed to play baseball.’ That’s not what we want to leave them with at age two or three,” he continues.
Watching CrossFit events, Michael and Tracy realized how many inspiring, empowering stories there were to be told through the athletes. So, they’ve used Goodnight Box as an opener to a series of CrossFit kids books that will tell the stories of these strong, female role models.
- “Goodnight Box felt like a really good idea in it’s own right, but what made it really worth doing is that we can write these stories about the strong women of CrossFit and lift them up as role models and protagonists,” Michael says.
The duo also hopes that the book will help adults find their way back to a gym community.
- “Maybe a book like this, maybe you’re reading this to your kid and you suddenly remember what is special about a gym, and maybe it makes you want to work out a bit more, and you get back to that community,” Tracy says.
Goodnight Box has already inspired at least one young CrossFitter.
Tracy and Michael shared their book with athlete Christy Phillips Adkins, who said her son, after being shown the book, walked to his WOD Toys kettlebell and started doing his angry gorilla deadlifts.
- “Victory. All of this work, all of these years, and one little child did that?” Tracy says. “I’m done. That is success for me.”
The details: Goodnight Box can be purchased online. A portion of the proceeds from each purchase will be shared with a non-profit that supports at-risk youth. Tracy and Michael say that right now, their charitable partner will most likely be Steve’s Club National Program, an organization that brings fitness, nutrition, and mentorship to at-risk youth, though they are open to other organizations. Michael and Tracy are also working on a partnership with their gym’s kids program, to see if the book can be turned into a special series of classes.