Gaby Giffords' Husband Mark Kelly to Pen Kid's Book About a Mouse on a Space Mission

Tom Williams/Roll Call

The former astronaut’s story “Mousetronaut” is due in Oct.

Mark Kelly, the husband of former U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords, has struck a deal to write Mousetronaut: A Partially True Story, a children's book about a mouse chosen for a space mission who saves the human crew. The book will be published by Simon & Schuster in October.

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Kelly says he was inspired by a real experience he had as an astronaut. "On my first space shuttle flight, we had eighteen mice on board as experiments and seventeen of them, as soon as we got into zero gravity, stayed latched on to the side of the cage. But one of them seemed comfortable through the whole mission, like he was enjoying it."

Kelly retired from NASA in the fall after commanding the space shuttle Endeavor on its final mission in June. His wife, Gabby Giffords, was the Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head on Jan. 11, while greeting constituents in a Tucson parking lot. Giffords retired from Congress in January to devote her full attention to her recovery from the shooting.

Giffords and Kelly collaborated on a memoir, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope, which was published in November and made numerous bestseller lists. Their co-author Jeffery Zaslow was killed in a car accident on Feb. 10. In an interview with the Associated Press about Mousetronaut, Kelly called Zaslow's death "an incredible tragedy." He also said the death brought back memories of Giffords' shooting. "It reminded me, again, one year after the tragic event of Jan. 8, how things can change in an instant."

Washington attorney and high-profile book agent Robert Barnett negotiated the deal for Kelly. He also represented the couple for Gabby and last week he negotiated a $4 million deal for Amanda Knox, the college student who spent four years in an Italian jail for murder and was then freed.

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