3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . blast off with books! Each one of the books on this list takes families on a journey to see what exists beyond our planet. You and your children can explore stars, galaxies, planets, and the wonder of space. Many of these books feature amazing illustrations that inspire awe in children and help them see that Earth is just one small part of the universe. Get ready to spark curiosity and ignite the imagination of your entire family!
This nonfiction book tells the life story of Nancy Grace Roman, the woman who led a team of astronomers in building the Hubble Space Telescope. When she was young, Nancy was told that science wasn’t a very ladylike subject to study, but she still kept pursuing her passion. In this book, children will see how she grew from a little girl into the chief of astronomy at NASA. This story, as well as the illustrations, is very engaging.
This book presents a wealth of information alongside vintage-inspired illustrations that are set against a black background. Kids will learn about the planets, galaxies, stars, space exploration, and several other STEM topics. Plus, there’s a glossary to explain unfamiliar terms. This book has an appropriate level of detail for 8-12 year olds. Many may enjoy paging through it on their own, but it could also be used as a teaching resource.
This Usborne book explores outer space with lots of lift-the-flap features, cartoon illustrations, and easy-to-understand text blurbs. Children will learn about rockets, the moon, the space station, and stars. There’s enough information in the book to keep young elementary children engaged, and preschoolers will enjoy the flaps even if they don’t absorb all of the facts.
Do your children ever ask what it would be like to live on Mars? This book provides the perfect answer! Kids will follow the hypothetical journey, starting with a four-month trip aboard a rocket and culminating with living on Mars alongside scientists, engineers, and researchers. The narrative also goes into the weather on Mars, the geography of the planet, and other characteristics that would impact everyday life. Perhaps best of all, futuristic digital illustrations fill the pages and make children feel like a trip to Mars is really possible!
This book is laid out like a museum—there are seven galleries each covering a different topic related to space. Each spread features woodblock-style illustrations that span both pages and give kids a dazzling view of the solar system, galaxies, the sun, and more. It’s written by a professor of astrophysics, so it’s packed with facts, but she writes on a level that will pique the interest of preteens and teenagers. However, younger children will love looking at the stunning illustrations.
Give children a little perspective with this book from award-winning children’s author Oliver Jeffers. With charming illustrations and simple messages, Jeffers shows just how small we are and how big space is. Kids will see simplified diagrams of outer space, the stars, and our planet. The book focuses on humanity and the encouraging message that “you’re never alone on Earth.” Read this one with preschoolers and early elementary children.
Ms. Frizzle and her wacky teaching methods are at it again as the Magic School Bus travels into outer space! The silly storyline is presented alongside dozens of space-themed factoids. Kids will learn about Earth’s moon and the sun, as well as the features of other planets. Plus, there are plenty of speech bubbles that talk about gravity, asteroids, and more. It’s a classic book series that both kids and parents will enjoy, making it the perfect pick for elementary students.
This beautifully illustrated book is an intriguing combination of art, mythology, and science. The text covers the moon and constellations in detail and also goes into lesser-known topics like nebulae, asteroids and comets, and deep space. Throughout the book, the author includes bits of mythology and astrology. Read this one section-by-section with young children or give it to elementary and middle school children to explore on their own.
This nonfiction book is written with a storytelling narrative that is sure to captivate young children. It’s a dramatic retelling of the famous spacecraft and astronauts from 1969, and the story is as magical today as it was back then! The watercolor illustrations add drama and encourage excitement in just the right places. Children as young as four will enjoy this one!
In this picture book, children will hear the true story of four mathematicians who worked at NASA in the 1960s. These African American women worked hard to overcome barriers and persisted in their work despite society’s deep roots in sexism and racism. The book does a very nice job of describing the challenges these women faced in a kid-friendly way. The end pages feature a timeline and brief biography of each of the women. Read it with kids in early elementary grades.
Introduce little ones to the wonder of the solar system with this book. It offers just the right amount of text for preschoolers as it describes the planets and their main characteristics. Bright illustrations and informative sidebars are featured on every page. Plus, there are simple discussion questions listed throughout the book. Use this one to get toddlers and preschoolers excited about outer space!
This non-fiction book encourages children to look up and see what’s going on above their eyes. Go from the window washers to the airplane to space rockets and beyond. You’ll head up, thousands of miles beyond Earth, and then you’ll start your journey back down again. This book contains an incredible amount of detail, and the pages all fold out into one long page that’s over eight feet long! It’s a great way for little ones to visualize just how expansive space is. Preschool kids will enjoy the illustrations and general concepts of the book. Elementary-aged kids will be able to dig into the text.
This board book is a great way to introduce toddlers and preschoolers to the wonders of space. They’ll see the moon, the sun, the solar system, black holes, and constellations as the book explores the Milky Way Galaxy. Simple language makes this a quick read for parents and their little ones.
This comprehensive book will launch your child into space with five chapters of easy-to-read text. They will learn about the basics of astronomy and explore a few more advanced topics that may be new to them. Realistic illustrations and photographs fill the pages to take children on a visual journey, as well. Elementary children will be able to read this book on their own. Younger children will enjoy paging through the book with an adult or look at the stunning photos on their own!
Professor Astro Cat and his assistant, Astro Mouse, are your guides for this jam-packed journey through space. The author uses humor to keep the scientific details approachable and engaging for young kids. In fact, there are so many facts and details that kids will want to go back to the book over and over again. The retro-theme of the artwork is a hit with both parents and kids. Recommended for kids over 6.
From beloved author Eric Carle, this book is the story of a father wanting to fulfill his little girl’s dreams. Monica desperately wants to play with the moon, but her father can’t bring the full moon down until it gets smaller. The book loosely presents the phases of the moon alongside the signature illustrations of Eric Carle. It’s available in a board book and in a Spanish edition, too. Preschoolers and kindergarteners will enjoy Monica’s playful imagination and her father’s journey to the moon.
This book will take your child on the whimsical journey of stars—stars in the night sky, stars in your pocket, stars as snowflakes and pumpkin blossoms and dandelions. A quiet message of shining in the darkness is woven throughout the story. The illustrations are delicate and sweetly capture the feeling of wonder in this book. It’s a quiet and gentle book, perfect bedtime reading for preschool and early elementary children.
This book tells the true story of Margaret Hamilton, a female space pioneer. Margaret always loved math and space. In the 1960s, she became a software engineer for NASA—one of the few women of her time to work in the field. As part of her job, she wrote a computer code that was instrumental in the Apollo 11 mission. This book shows the incredible determination and problem-solving skills that made Hamilton so successful. It’s a great choice for both boys and girls in elementary school.
The creatures represented in the night sky’s constellations come alive in this book. Metallic stars are placed on top of bold and bright paintings of the animals. Popular constellations are included alongside a few that are lesser known. Star maps and a more in-depth discussion of astronomy are included, too. With simple language and basic facts, this book is ideal for preschoolers and children in early elementary.