Facts and Fancy
For board book and picture book readers, there’s a firmament of titles ranging from the imaginative to the informational.
Raman Prinja, illus. by John Hersey. Carlton Kids, June. Ages 7–9.
This fact-filled exploration takes readers from the Earth’s surface to the edge of the universe.
Suzanne Slade, illus. by Nicole Tadgell. Tilbury House, 2018. Ages 4–7.
In Slade’s picture book encouraging readers to pursue their dreams and reach for the stars, Annie can’t wait to share her aspirations on Career Day at school.
Birthday on Mars!
Sarah Schonfeld, illus. by Andrew J. Ross. Penguin Workshop, June. Ages 5–8.
This title captures the moment when the Curiosity rover robot sang itself happy birthday in 2013, after one year on Mars.
Curious George’s Big Book of Discovery
H.A. Rey. HMH, May. Ages 4–7.
Curious George Discovers the Stars and Curious George Discovers Space are among the eight science-themed stories in this compendium based on PBS’s Emmy-winning Curious George series.
Field Trip to the Moon
John Hare. Holiday House/Ferguson. Ages 4–8.
Readers follow students as they board their yellow spaceship bus for a journey to the moon.
Go for the Moon
Chris Gall. Roaring Brook, June. Ages 5–8.
A boy chronicles the preparation for and execution of the Apollo 11 moon landing, in a story that provides technical details, cutaway views of the lunar modules, and a family viewing of the landing on TV; an author's note recalls his own childhood experience of the event.
If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon
Joyce Lapin, illus. by Simona Ceccarelli. Sterling, Apr. Ages 7–up.
In answer to the question implied by the title: ride a rocket to the bash, make moon angels in the lunar dust, and party for an entire month.
It’s a Round, Round World
Ellie Peterson. StarBerry, Sept. Ages 6–11.
Fictional young scientist Joulia Copernicus leads readers on a journey through space and time to explain how humans know the Earth is round.
Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet
Curtis Manley, illus. by Jessica Lanan. Roaring Brook, Jan. Ages 5–9.
A girl investigates the possibility that there is another planet with life similar to Earth’s. “Richly informative prose and intimate yet expansive art show a child’s contagious enthusiasm for the book’s subject,” PW’s review said.
A Kite for Moon
Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, illus. by Matt Phelan. Zonderkidz, Apr. Ages 4–8.
In this book dedicated to Neil Armstrong, a boy flying a kite notices that the Moon looks sad and promises to visit her one day—a pledge he keeps after becoming an astronaut. (See “Co-Piloting the Story.”)
Let’s Go: Into Space
Timothy Knapman, illus. by Wesley Robins. Silver Dolphin, Jan. Ages 6–8.
Readers join two kids and their dog as they blast off to explore the solar system in this oversize board book featuring die cuts.
Life on Mars
Jon Agee. Dial, 2017. Ages 4–8.
A young explorer who heads to Mars to prove there is life there is disappointed to find only a flower, until he discovers, on his way back to Earth, that someone has eaten his cupcakes.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again: Satellite Space Mission
AnnMarie Anderson, illus. by Artful Doodlers. Branches, July. Ages 6–8.
On a field trip to outer space, one of Miss Frizzle’s students disrupts Earth-orbiting satellites when she tries to take a selfie.
Max Goes to Jupiter
Jeffrey Bennett et al., illus. by Michael Carroll. Big Kids Science, 2018. Ages 4–12.
Intrepid Max the dog and his human friend Tori explore Jupiter in the latest addition to this picture book series.
Moon: Earth’s Best Friend
Stacy McAnulty, illus. by Stevie Lewis, Holt, Oct. Ages 4–8.
The moon narrates a lighthearted account of its formation and history.
Moon’s First Friends
Susanna Leonard Hill, illus. by Elisa Paganelli. Sourcebooks Wonderland, June. Ages 4–8.
After spending her life watching Earth and hoping someone will come see her, the moon is thrilled when she finally gets a visit from the Apollo 11 astronauts.
Papa Put a Man on the Moon
Kristy Dempsey, illus. by Sarah Green. Dial, May. Ages 4–8.
As a girl gazes at the moon with her father, she is proud that the fabric he weaves for his job forms a layer of astronauts’ spacesuits, and prouder still when she watches Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon.
Smithsonian Kids: To the Moon and Back!
Jaye Garnett, illus. by Olga Demidova. Cottage Door, 2017. Ages 3–5.
Readers of this board book spin wheels, lift flaps, and slide tabs to learn about the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal
Nick Seluk. Orchard, 2018. Ages 4–8.
Comics-style art and commentary by anthropomorphized planets celebrate the sun’s tireless work to keep things on Earth running smoothly.
Space Pioneers and Visionaries
These biographies showcase the accomplishments of influential scientists and space explorers.
The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon
Dean Robbins, illus. by Sean Rubin. Orchard, May. Ages 4–10.
Alan Bean, a member of the Apollo 12 crew, took photos as he walked on the moon. After he returned to Earth, he recreated the experience in paintings, some of which are reproduced in this book.
A Computer Called Katherine
Suzanne Slade, illus. by Veronica Miller Jamison. Little, Brown, out now. Ages 4–8.
PW’s review called this story about NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, whose pivotal role in the launch of Apollo 11 was showcased in the film Hidden Figures, “an uplifting portrait of a no longer so ‘hidden’ figure.”
I Am Neil Armstrong
Brad Meltzer, illus. by Christopher Eliopoulos. Dial, 2018. Ages 5–8.
An addition to the publisher’s biography series, this volume depicts Armstrong’s accomplishments, character traits, and childhood heroes.
Look Up with Me
Jennifer Berne, illus. by Lorraine Nam. HarperCollins/Tegen, Feb. Ages 4–8.
Berne’s biography of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who serves as director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium, focuses on “his authentic and enduring sense of wonder,” PW’s review said.
The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon
Bea Uusma Schyffert. Chronicle, Apr. Ages 10–13.
This updated edition of the 2003 book relays the story of Michael Collins, who commanded Apollo 11 alone, orbiting the moon 14 times while his colleagues walked on the moon.
My Journey to the Stars
Scott Kelly, illus. by André Ceolin. Crown, Jan. Ages 5–8.
The Step into Reading edition of Kelly’s picture book autobiography recounts his path to becoming a NASA astronaut and commanding the International Space Station for almost a year. (See “A Year in Space.”)
Reaching for the Moon
Katherine Johnson. Atheneum, July. Ages. 10–up.
The first autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson highlights her childhood as an African-American girl with an aptitude for math, and examines her years at NASA, where she helped with the launch of Apollo 11.
Path to the Stars
Sylvia Acevedo. Clarion, 2018. Ages 10–12.
In her autobiography, Acevedo, currently CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, tells of being the first Latina to earn a master’s in engineering from Stanford and become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Trailblazers: Neil Armstrong
Alex Woolf. Random House, Oct. Ages 8–12.
Launching a biography series, this paperback reveals how a boy who was fascinated by aviation grew up to be the first man to set foot on the moon.
Moon or Bust!
These books track NASA’s Apollo program from its hopeful genesis to its triumphant finale.
All About Margaret Hamilton
Tamra Orr, illus. by Moriah McReynolds.
All About the Moon Landing
Chris Edwards, illus. by Amber Calderon.
Blue River, July. Ages 9–14.
These additions to the All About... series focus on the NASA computer coder who was the only woman on the Apollo 11 team, and on the historic mission that landed astronauts on the moon.
Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed Everything
Martin W. Sandler. Candlewick, 2018. Ages 10–up.
“The Apollo 8 mission unfolds within the broader context of history in this expansive photo-filled volume,” PW’s review said. “First-person descriptions from the astronauts recount their lift-off, their first viewing of the Earth rising, and their journey to the dark side of the moon.”
The Apollo Missions for Kids
Jerome Pohlen. Chicago Review, June. Ages 9–up.
This activity book chronicles the Apollo missions from the perspectives of the astronauts and their families, as well as the engineers, controllers, technicians, and politicians involved.
Seymour Simon. HarperCollins, May. Ages 6–10.
Simon examines the U.S.–Soviet space race and the science and technology that made the Apollo 11 mission a success. (See “Wonder and Excitement,” p. 36.)
Richard Maurer. Roaring Brook, June. Ages 10–14.
Maurer discusses milestones in the history of the Apollo program, world events at the time of the Apollo 11 mission, and the people and technology that made that journey possible.
The Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11’s Third Man
Alex Irvine, illus. by Ben Bishop. Tilbury House, 2017. Ages 9–12.
This is a paperback reissue of a 2017 graphic nonfiction title about Michael Collins. PW’s review said it “makes the vastness of space felt in nearly every panel.”
Flying to the Moon
Michael Collins. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June. Ages 10–16.
Apollo 11 astronaut Collins’s autobiography, originally published in 1976, is reissued in an updated edition that includes new images and an introduction by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.
Brian Floca. Atheneum/Jackson, Apr. Ages 4–up.
This is an updated and expanded edition of Floca’s 2009 book about Apollo 11, cited in PW’s review as being “as poetic as it is historically resonant” and “a stirring depiction of a momentous event.”
Smithsonian Reader: Apollo 11: Mission to the Moon
Courtney Acampora. Silver Dolphin, May. Ages 3–5.
Photos illustrate this book that includes a quiz to reinforce reading comprehension.
To the Moon!
Jeffrey Kluger and Ruby Shamir. Puffin, May. Ages 10–up.
Kluger and Shamir profile Apollo 8 astronauts Bill Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell, the first crew to break out of Earth’s orbit and reach the moon.
More Than the Moon
A cluster of space-themed books takes readers beyond lunar exploration.
Above and Beyond
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. Feiwel and Friends, 2018. Ages 9–11.
Inspired by Rory Kennedy’s documentary of the same title, this book offers a hopeful look at the future of the Earth and describes NASA’s mission as essential to its survival.
Awesome Space Tech
Jenn Dlugos and Charlie Hatton. Prufrock, Aug. Ages 9–12.
A copiously illustrated volume introduces readers to powerful telescopes, distant probes, and high-speed spacecraft aiding humankind’s exploration of the stars.
Barefoot Books Solar System
Anne Jankéliowitch, illus. by Annabelle Buxton. Barefoot, Sept. Ages 8–12.
A glow-in-the-dark, interactive guide to the solar system aims to make astronomy, physics, and chemistry comprehensible to kids.
Markus Motum. Candlewick, 2018. Ages 8–12.
This “accessible look at interplanetary exploration will appeal to a broad range of young space enthusiasts,” PW’s starred review said of this illustrated book about the Mars rover.
Space in 30 Seconds
Clive Gifford and Michael Goldsmith. Ivy Kids, 2013. Ages 8–12.
Thirty topics, including the big bang theory and the properties of distant planets and galaxies, are succinctly explained with the help of cartoon-style illustrations.
Ben Hubbard. B.E.S., Feb. Ages 8–up.
Major milestones of space exploration and a preview of potential future achievements, including reaching Mars and finding life on other planets, are covered in an illustrated volume.
Space: The Definitive Visual Catalogue of the Universe
Sean Callery and Miranda Smith. Scholastic, 2018. Ages 8–12.
This introduction to the solar system and galaxies far beyond features photos from NASA and the International Space Station.
To Pluto and Beyond
Elaine Scott. Viking, July 2018. Ages 8–12.
Scott examines the journey and discoveries of New Horizons, the NASA spacecraft that is studying Pluto and the fringes of the solar system, featuring photos transmitted by the ship.