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The skies are a place of wonder and mystery. One of the first songs our children learn is about the “twinkling” stars in the sky. With rocket launches and travel to space becoming more regular, a whole new generation of future space explorers is looking to the skies, curious about life beyond Earth.
Space books for kids are a great resource to teach youngsters about our solar system and the universe at large. Moreover, books about astronauts and space fuel curiosity about careers in fields such as astronomy, engineering, and space exploration. Books about astronauts and astronomers also introduce kids to the pioneers of space travel and provide them with tangible examples of people who have allowed their curiosity, sense of adventure, and perseverance to lead them into the unknown.
The list below includes both non-fiction and fiction space-themed books for kids. Children’s books about space sometimes introduce complex topics in an easy-to-understand way. Incredible illustrations and photographs showcase subjects such as planets, the universe, and astronomy in a visually appealing way. When reading these books, children will learn not only about space but also about the power of dreams and goals.
Space books for preschoolers
Space books for preschoolers offer simple introductions to basic space concepts and are usually filled with beautiful illustrations and bright photographs.
My first book of planets: All about the solar system for kids
My First Book of Planets, written by planetary scientist Dr. Bruce Betts, is a perfect introduction to the solar system. Written for kids ages 3-5, the book explores the planets and includes fun space facts to keep children interested and entertained.
Vibrant photographs showcase each planet, and the kid-friendly language ensures that even young children can understand the explanations and descriptions.
Little Leonardo’s fascinating world of astronomy
Authored by astrophysicist and science communicator Sarafina Nance, Little Leonardo’s fascinating world of astronomy has captivating illustrations by Greg Paprocki that bring the topic to life and help to engage younger readers.
This book is written for children ages 4-8 and introduces kids to the world of astronomy and space.
The Leonardo series is a wonderful way to encourage young children’s interest in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).
There’s no place like space: All about our solar system (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)
Dr. Seuss fans will love the space adventure There’s no place like space, which features beloved characters from the Cat in the Hat. This non-fiction book, written by Tish Rabe, introduces concepts such as the planets, solar system, constellations, and astronauts to children ages 5-8.
With the rhyming text and big print, it is great for beginner readers curious about space and the natural world.
Mae among the stars
Mae among the stars is written by Roda Ahmed for children ages 4-8. This beautifully illustrated picture book is inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel to space.
Meant to inspire young girls to pursue their dreams and aspire to great things, the story tells how Mae’s curiosity and determination and her parents’ encouragement paved her way to NASA and her journey to space.
Space-themed books for kids
Books about outer space and space travel are great for curious and adventurous kids. The non-fiction books are full of information that can help with school projects.
More importantly, they introduce kids to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts and careers. Books for middle- and high-school kids are especially written to include fun facts, humor, and mystery.
Pictures are more detailed and the information is more complex while still being easy to understand.
Super cool space facts: A fun, fact-filled space book for kids
For slightly older readers (ages 6-9), Dr. Bruce Betts’ Super cool space facts offers the perfect resource for learning about the solar system and beyond.
The book explores both near and outer space as it presents facts about everything, from asteroids and black holes to astronauts on the International Space Station. Filled with wonderful pictures of stars, galaxies, and constellations, the book engages its readers with jokes, mysteries, and big word alerts.
Dr. Betts has also written a number of other space-themed books, among them Space exploration for kids: A junior scientists guide (ages 6-9) and Astronomy for kids (ages 8-12).
Space!: The universe as you’ve never seen it before (Knowledge Encyclopedias)
Described as the “ultimate space encyclopedia for children,” this encyclopedia compiled by DK and the Smithsonian is filled with incredible computer-generated images that explore the universe in detail.
From black holes to supernovas, this reference book is a wonderful visual reference guide.
It’s aimed at older readers (10-17 years), and each topic is covered in depth while still being easy to understand.
Fiction space books for kids
The darkest dark
Written by real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield, The darkest dark is for children aged 3-5 and is all about the power of dreams.
The book, inspired by Hadfield’s own childhood, tells the story of Chris, who loves pretending to be an astronaut but is afraid of the dark. During the day, his imagination has him flying rockets and battling extraterrestrials, but he is overwhelmed by his fear at night.
Follow Chris as he watches the moon landing and realizes that with big dreams, even the dark can be exciting. A biography and message from the author contribute to making this story a valuable tool for calming fear and fostering curiosity and a sense of adventure.
Life on Mars
This fun book by Jon Agee tells the story of a young astronaut who is determined to find signs of life on Mars.
The large illustration spreads allow the reader to see what the little astronaut does not, and after finding a yellow flower, he heads back to his spaceship.
The large print and simple vocabulary make Life on Mars a good choice for early and emergent readers.
Malorie Blackman’s Space race is a fast-paced story in which the main character, Lizzie, is challenged to a space race by Jake.
Read along to see whether Lizzie can beat Jake in his deluxe new spaceship, which runs on special fuel.
This adventure story is written for readers ages 7-9 although even younger readers will enjoy the book at storytime given its simple plot and eye-catching pictures.
George’s secret key to the universe collection
In this best-selling series about space co-authored by physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy, George is taken through the vastness of space by his neighbors: scientist Eric, his daughter Annie, and their super-intelligent computer Cosmos.
The collection is written as a fiction series but contains captivating information about the universe, including Hawking’s own theories.
Intended for slightly older readers (age 8-12), the collection features the following titles: George’s secret key to the universe, George’s cosmic treasure hunt, George and the big bang, George and the unbreakable code, George and the blue moon, and George and the ship of time.
Space case by Stuart Gibbs is a moon-based murder mystery.
Dashiell, whose mom is a lunar geologist and whose dad is a mining engineer, is famous for being one of the first humans to live on the moon. Unfortunately, no children are allowed out onto the lunar landscape, so he has very little to keep him busy as he remains inside the moon-based habitat. After a top scientist is found dead, no one believes 12-year-old Dashiell that foul play is involved.
Both humorous and suspenseful, this well-written novel is for middle graders. It will make a great addition to any school or home bookshelf.
Early childhood is the best time to foster your kid’s curiosity and imagination. An interest in STEM topics, including astronomy and space exploration, is a precursor to an interest in school subjects such as math and science. A natural curiosity about how the world works often extends to the skies, and the books reviewed here are sure to provide some of the answers children seek.