The Best Space Books for Kids

Books About Outer Space for Kids

Many children's books about space are outdated and contain incorrect information. The most modern books for kids, including 13 Planets by David A. Aguilar, are beautiful and accurate sources of information for kids.
Many children's books about space are outdated and contain incorrect information. The most modern books for kids, including 13 Planets by David A. Aguilar, are beautiful and accurate sources of information for kids. | Source

Accurate, Engaging Books that Explore Outer Space

Planets, stars, and moons are fascinating for everyone, and kids in elementary school are often riveted by rocket flights and space exploration. Unfortunately, many books at the library are woefully out-of-date and contain inaccurate information about our solar system and extra-solar planets.

As the mother of two young children who are obsessed with space, I have searched and found five great books for children in early elementary school - from Kindergarten through 3rd grade. These books are an excellent jumping-off point for more in-depth learning - after reading Moonshot, for example, our family watched the Apollo 11 lift-off online. My young boys were fascinated by the entire sequence of events and were extremely excited to watch the events as they actually happened. We have taken trips to air and space museums, and the exhibits made more sense to my boys once they had read about the history of space flight.

The books listed in this article are up-to-date, feature great photographs and artwork, and are written in a way that excites and engages children.

Children's Book About Our Solar System

13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System (National Geographic Kids)
13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System (National Geographic Kids)

13 Planets by David A. Aguilar offers an in-depth look at our solar system for elementary school aged children.

 

13 Planets: A Book About our Solar System

Many adults will gasp when they see the title to this book. Thirteen planets? When did our solar system acquire thirteen planets? Aren't there nine?

While many people cling to the notion of Pluto as a full-fledged planet, it is much smaller than other objects with a similar elliptical path around the sun. Pluto is not in the same class as Earth and Saturn, but has been re-named a dwarf planet. This book discusses the 8 main planets of our solar system, in addition to the 5 dwarf planets.

The main planets include:

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune

The dwarf planets are:

  • Ceres
  • Eris
  • Pluto
  • Makemake
  • Haumea

This book features spectacular photographs and illustrations. Each planet is discussed in detail, and hands-on activities are provided at the end of the book.

Poll About Pluto's Status

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Our Solar System

The 13 Planets book describes each planet in detail, including each planet's moons. Here, Jupiter's moons are displayed for the young reader.
The 13 Planets book describes each planet in detail, including each planet's moons. Here, Jupiter's moons are displayed for the young reader. | Source

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover))
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover))

The artwork in this book is beautiful, and follows the journey of the Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon.

 

Space History: The Flight of Apollo 11

Moonshot, by Brian Floca, is an excellent book about the flight of Apollo 11. The illustrations are beautiful, and the text relays the excitement and adventure of the first men who stepped foot on the moon. The book describes several things about the moon that might not be intuitive - while standing on the bright surface of the moon, for example, one would not be able to see the stars due to the glare from the moon's surface. Since the moon is airless, striking a rock with a pick would produce no sound: the moon is a completely silent world.

This book is a fantastic introduction to the history of spaceflight. Videos of the original Apollo 11 launch sequence, Neil Armstrong's speech, and the space capsule landing can be found online and are a great supplement to the book.

Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin

Look to the Stars
Look to the Stars

This book is written by Buzz Aldrin and illustrated by Wendell Minor. A history of space exploration and our future potential are discussed in detail.

 

Reaching For the Stars: Space Flight History and the Future

Look to the Stars is a book written by Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut. This picture book has outstanding illustrations and covers the history of space science. Copernicus and Isaac Newton are introduced, along with the Wright Brothers' first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

The book proceeds to discuss the first manned space flight, the international space station, and the future of the space program. Robots are already on Mars, and manned space flight to Mars is still in our future!

This book will excite budding scientists, engineers, and physicists. The last chapter is titled, "Your Future in Space." Ignite a child's imagination - this book belongs in every young stargazer's library.

Space: A Sticker Encyclopedia

Sticker Encyclopedia: Space (DK Sticker Encyclopedias)
Sticker Encyclopedia: Space (DK Sticker Encyclopedias)

This book by DK Publishing has over 600 photographic stickers.

 

Interactive Sticker Book About Space

The DK publishing company offers many great books about space, including guides to the planets and stars. The company also creates interactive sticker books: beautiful photographic stickers are placed next to a paragraph or short article describing the picture.

Children love these books because of the interactive nature of the sticker placement, and the DK Sticker Encyclopedia: Space is extremely well done. The book contains more than 600 stickers and information about space travel, the planets, and other objects in outer space (like the Oort cloud). The stickers are reusable, allowing children to re-position them and use them over and over again.

Half of the stickers in the book relate directly to the articles, and the other half of the stickers may be used to creatively decorate the book or other items.

A Handbook to Becoming an Astronaut

Astronaut Handbook
Astronaut Handbook

So, you want to be an astronaut? This picture book lays out clear steps that young scientists must accomplish before blasting off into outer space.

 

Guidebook for Future Astronauts

A great non-fiction picture book by Meghan McCarthy, the Astronaut Handbook is geared toward early elementary school aged children. Simple cartoon-style illustrations accompany the text, which follows four children who wish to become astronauts. Astronaut training facilities (including a swimming pool and the infamous "vomit comet" jet used for training in a zero gravity environment) are discussed.

Common questions kids have about space, such as using the toilet or taking a shower, are answered in this book. The author also highlights the fact that there are many types of astronauts, from engineers to biologists.

This book is a great addition to a space-obsessed child's library.

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Comments 14 comments

LA Elsen profile image

LA Elsen 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

My two oldest are so obsessed with space. Thank you for writing this hub. The sticker book and the astronaut book are a perfect match for them. Thanks for writing this useful hub.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York Author

I hope they like them! My son is absolutely obsessed with space, and we have been going through books very quickly. Unfortunately, our library has many out-of-date books with information that is no longer true. We really enjoyed reading Moonshot, and loved watching the old footage of the Apollo 11 launch on youtube. I hope your kids enjoy the books, LA Elsen!


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

leahlefler,

i feel that giving a child books on something such as space is really a great idea

it helps them to express their creative side by imagining that they are in space

or even it might have them saying they want to be an astronaut one day

nice ideas and voted up


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 3 years ago from Hamburg, New York

I love our space history. Hopefully these books will create great scientists in our future.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York Author

We really love educational books that inspire creativity and imagination, torrilynn. Space is such a fascinating subject for children and adults - these picture books are excellent for little kids!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York Author

Lipnancy, we had so much fun watching the Apollo 11 mission online with our children. After reading Moonshot, they were extremely excited and shouted out the countdown as the rocket shot off into space. It was really neat to share that part of our history with them.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

A great hub;so useful and thanks for sharing.

Have a great day.

Eddy.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Thanks for putting together this wonderful resource for parents and teachers!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York Author

Eddy, I hope you found the books useful! We're always looking for great space books.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York Author

I really hope the list is useful for teachers, Rose - the books are perfect for kids in early elementary school. My two boys are in Kindergarten and first grade, and love all of the books on this list.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Thanks for the book reviews. I still believed Pluto is a planet, but then I am from the old school.


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York Author

I really liked the way the book "13 planets" explained the new model of the solar system, teaches. The five dwarf planets are rather interesting and Eris, another dwarf planet, is much bigger than Pluto. They had to reclassify Pluto when they realized there were many other planetoid objects. Of course, the new information states that the error of margin is great, so a 2010 evaluation shows that Eris may only be the same size as Pluto... science is an ever-evolving field of knowledge!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America

These are good choices and I have Moonshot for myself! Every book Buzz Aldrin writes, we all should go get one - I wish he'd write more.

"13 Planets" looks like a must-have reference for every classroom in elementary school and I hope it selling well; the stickers book is probably fun for all young children.

The astronaut's handbook is relevant and will come in handy more than some think, because my contacts tell me that private companies are needing new astronauts very soon.

Thanks for the multi-review!


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 3 years ago from Western New York Author

Patty, I think the astronaut's handbook is a great read for younger kids - companies like SpaceX will certainly need qualified employees in the future, and I love watching children develop an interest in space and science.

I wish Buzz Aldrin would write more books, too. He is an excellent writer. We were at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and just missed being present for one of his visits/speeches. Next time, we'll have to plan our vacation more carefully, as I would love to hear him speak!

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