Looking for the best children’s books about space and space exploration? Check out these fiction and non-fiction children’s books about outer space. These books and lesson plans are full of activities and ideas to teach these mentor texts. These books for kids Kindergarten through upper elementary are perfect childrens books about space! Children’s books about outer space, astronauts, biographies, fiction space exploration adventures, and science fiction.
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Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed
When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering. She wanted to be an astronaut. Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.” Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.
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Your Place in the Universe by Jason Chin
Most eight-year-olds are about five times as tall as this book . . . but only half as tall as an ostrich, which is half as tall as a giraffe . . . twenty times smaller than a California Redwood! How do they compare to the tallest buildings? To Mt. Everest? To stars, galaxy clusters, and . . . the universe?
Jason Chin, the award-winning author and illustrator of Grand Canyon has once again found a way to make a complex subject–size, scale and almost unimaginable distance–accessible and understandable to readers of all ages. Meticulously researched and featuring the highly detailed artwork for which he is renowned, this is How Much is a Million for the new millenium, sure to be an immediate hit with kids looking for an engaging way to delve into perspective, astronomy, and astrophysics. Curious readers will love the extensive supplementary material included in the back of the back of the book
Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker
You’ve likely heard of the historic Apollo 13 moon landing. But do you know about the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned safely home? As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about math, about the universe.
From Katherine’s early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, Counting on Katherine is the story of a groundbreaking American woman who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives and made enormous contributions to history.
The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon by Dean Robbins
Journey to the moon on the Apollo 12 mission with Alan Bean, the fourth astronaut to walk on the lunar surface and the only artist to paint its beauty firsthand! As a boy, Alan wanted to fly planes. As a young navy pilot, Alan wished he could paint the view from the cockpit. So he took an art class to learn patterns and forms. But no class could prepare him for the beauty of the lunar surface some 240,000 miles from Earth. In 1969, Alan became the fourth man and first artist on the moon.
He took dozens of pictures, but none compared to what he saw through his artistic eyes. When he returned to Earth, he began to paint what he saw. Alan’s paintings allowed humanity to experience what it truly felt like to walk on the moon. Journalist and storyteller Dean Robbins’s tale of this extraordinary astronaut is masterful, and artist Sean Rubin’s illustrations are whimsical and unexpected. With back matter that includes photos of the NASA mission, images of Alan’s paintings, and a timeline of lunar space travel, this is one adventure readers won’t want to miss!
Max Goes to the Space Station by Jeffrey Bennett
The prequel to the other books in the Science Adventures with Max the Dog series, this installment follows Max on his trip to the International Space Station where he shares in the adventures of astronaut life and helps save everyone from a potential disaster along the way. The book teaches children to see themselves and the planet in a new light and encourages readers to discover how they can help make the world a better place. Accompanying the story of how Max saves the day are numerous “Big Kid Box” sidebars that offer science facts and other pieces of fascinating information. Grown-ups and kids learn about science together with this fun and educational picture book.
Max Goes to the Moon by Jeffrey Bennett
Max the Dog and a young girl named Tori take the first trip to the Moon since the Apollo era, and their trip proves so inspiring to people back on Earth that all the nations of the world come together to build a great Moon colony. From the colony, the views of Earth make everyone realize how small and precious planet Earth is. Along the way, the story sets the stage for more sophisticated science, featured in the 19 “Big Kid Box” sidebars. Behind-the-scenes science lessons with activities round out this entertaining and educational picture book.
Max Goes to the Mars by Jeffrey Bennett
Come with Max as he takes off on his next exciting science adventure, this time joining astronauts on the first human mission to Mars. Equipped with a specially designed spacesuit, Max sniffs for signs of microscopic life. Will he find any? Read the exciting story to find out, and to learn how his trip to Mars helps his young friend Tori reflect on the beauty and fragility of our own planet Earth. Max Goes to Mars is more than just a fun story. “Big Kid Boxes” along the sides of the pages help children and parents learn about Mars as the adventure unfolds.
Max Goes to the Jupiter by Jeffrey Bennett
Scientifically-accurate illustrations and information-packed sidebars enrich this second edition picture book. Set in the future, Max the dog and his friend, Tori, are on the Jupiter Mission. The first editon of Max Goes to Jupiter was selected for NASA’s Story Time From Space Program and ILA Children’s Choices List.
Moonshot by Brian Floca
Simply told, grandly shown, and now with eight additional pages of brand-new art and more in-depth information about the historic moon landing, here is the flight of Apollo 11. Here for a new generation of readers and explorers are the steady astronauts clicking themselves into gloves and helmets, strapping themselves into sideways seats. The book presents their great machines in all their detail and monumentality, the ROAR of rockets, and the silence of the Moon. Here is a story of adventure and discovery—a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away.
Field Trip to the Moon by John Hare
Climb aboard the spaceship bus for a fantastic field trip adventure to the moon! Once their bright yellow ship lands, students debark and set out with their teacher to explore. They jump over trenches and see craters and mountains on the moon’s surface and even Earth in the faraway distance.
But when one student takes a break to draw some pictures and falls asleep, they wake up to discover that the rest of the class and the spaceship are gone. How the student passes the time waiting to be rescued makes for a funny and unexpected adventure that will enchant children all over the galaxy.
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
Once there was a boy, and that boy loved stars very much. So much so that he decided to catch one of his very own. But how? Waiting for them to grow tired from being up in the sky all night doesn’t work. Climbing to the top of the tallest tree? No, not tall enough. The boy has a rocket ship . . . but it is made of paper and doesn’t fly well at all. Finally, just when the boy is ready to give up, he learns that sometimes things aren’t where, or what, we expect them to be.
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers
When a boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: He flies it into outer space! Millions of miles from Earth, the plane begins to sputter and quake, its fuel tank on empty. The boy executes a daring landing on the moon . . . but there’s no telling what kind of slimy, slithering, tentacled, fangtoothed monsters lurk in the darkness! (Plus, it’s dark and lonely out there.) Coincidentally, engine trouble has stranded a young Martian on the other side of the moon, and he’s just as frightened and alone. Martian, Earthling—it’s all the same when you’re in need of a friend.
A Big Mooncake For Little Star by Grace Lin
Pat, pat, pat… Little Star’s soft feet tiptoed to the Big Mooncake. Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she’s not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can’t resist a nibble? A great cultural picture book that is also great for Asian American and Pacific Islander History Month and to examine the phases of the moon!
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math…really good. They participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America’s first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world. This book is also a favorite of mine for Black History Month and Women’s History Month!
Margaret and the Moon by Dean Robbins
A true story from one of the Women of NASA! Margaret Hamilton loved numbers as a young girl. She knew how many miles it was to the moon (and how many back). She loved studying algebra and geometry and calculus and using math to solve problems in the outside world.
Soon math led her to MIT and then to helping NASA put a man on the moon! She handwrote code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter. Apollo 8, Apollo 9, Apollo 10 andApollo 11. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed.
Best Children’s Books About Space
What are some of your favorite childrens books about space? Are there any must read books about space for kids that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!