The Best Space Books for Kids
Books About Outer Space for Kids
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 Unfortunately, many books at the library are woefully out-of-date and contain inaccurate information about our solar system and extra-solar planets.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 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:
The dwarf planets are:
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
How do you feel about Pluto's status as a dwarf planet?
Our Solar System
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
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
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
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
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.