There is something completely magical about space. I don’t think I have ever met a child who didn’t have at least a small interest in the subject. For me, space is a wonderful gateway into science for young kids as well as a fun theme for fictional stories. That is why I have a great preschool thematic unit packed with lesson plans all about space Here are 16 books about space we have reviewed. Some are great and some are a little odd… but odd isn’t always bad. I have updated this list with even more children’s books about space.
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Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle is often not read in classrooms simply because of a depiction of a naked man and woman. It’s not what most parents expect to find in an Eric Carle book, but it is very fitting in this beautiful and really touching book. The story although very similar to a biblical creation story isn’t necessarily reflective only of a Christian viewpoint, to me, it’s about the author’s own creation. It begins and ends with a star, and hits all the right points in between.
Comets by Melanie Chrismer surprised me. This little book was not only full of facts about comets, but it also kept my 3-year-old’s attention from cover to cover. The facts are simple and presented in small bits with illustrations. The straightforward approach was perfect to support an introductory activity about comets.
Penguinaut by Marcie Colleen was sent to me by the publisher, and I am so glad it was. It’s such a sweet story about thinking outside of the box, about having dreams bigger than anyone lets you have, and persistence! Also how goofy is a penguin in space? If you want to teach your students that anything is possible read this book to them.
On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book About Rockets by Michael Dahl was a great find, my son loved counting down from 12-1 with the bright illustrations, simple text and hidden numbers on each page. Something that seems simple but was really awesome was that each page had the number written as a word, shown as a digit and as dots to count. You can take the time to count each dot, read the word or simply recognize the digit!
Aliens Love Underpants: Deluxe Edition Claire Freedman was sent to me by the publisher. I am not sure if they had any knowledge of just how much my daughter loves both aliens and any book remotely related to potty training. I’ll be honest the whole potty thing has been a struggle, and funny books like this that are books she’d be reading anyway have been super helpful. The book is all about aliens who come to earth on a giant panty raid, but the book is funny and cute, and its rhyming text is wonderful for emergent readers ( and any others) like my daughter. She loves for all of us to choose our favorite pair on each page!
Stargazers by Gail Gibbons is a good choice of book to teach about stars, constellations, telescopes, and more. My son sat listening to this book and every now and then was engaged but it was a bit lengthy and a little too in-depth for him ( he was almost three at the time of reading) however the book is great, it explains complicated scientific information in a really accessible way. I even learned a few new things about telescopes!
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers is a sweet story about a little boy who wants a star of his own. I loved the bright and simplistic illustrations and the message about holding on to your dreams, working for them and figuring out that sometimes things come to you in packages you don’t expect. Great book!
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers is a moving story about a boy, a martian, and the moon they were both stuck on. Together they figure out a way to get back home even though they are so sad to say goodbye to each other. I love this author, I love his illustrations as well, they are so unique, and the emotions he manages to convey are amazing. There is an illustration of the boy and martian standing awkwardly before they have to say goodbye and it embodies the feeling we all have when it’s time to say goodbye to something we don’t want to let go of. Grab anything written by this author, and you will be happy!
Hush, Little Alien by Daniel Kirk is a quirky updated version of the classic lullaby. So many bedtime books are super sugary, but this one is funky and bright! I love the space theme, and the illustrations are great! The rhymes are funny and kept my son interested in the lullaby much longer than the traditional one which he deems a “baby song.”
Space Boy by Leo Landry is a sweet book about a little boy who needs to get away from everything at home, so he climbs in his rocket and blasts off. I think we can all relate to this story, having to escape from the annoying things in our life for some alone time, if only we all had rockets the moon would be a busy getaway. The book started off really simple, then a few pages in the middle had much more text which was hard for my toddler, whose interest was lost. I rounded him back up, skipped a few lines and we finished and enjoyed the book.
If You Decide To Go To The Moon by Faith McNulty was not what I expected, but what is that they say about judging a book by its cover? Yeah. I enjoyed the book, but it was really long, even I was sorta wondering ”How much more?” halfway through. However, when I finished the book I was glad I read it all and the huge amount of information inside. The book is truly packed with information about space travel and the environment on the moon, for 3-4-year-olds I would read it in parts, perhaps throughout the same day but I don’t think many would sit with full attention for this whole book. Older kids should have no problem especially if they are interested in space. Older children will also appreciate the message that we need to keep Earth healthy so our planet remains vibrant and full of life and not cold, dusty, and still like the moon.
Another Day in the Milky Way by David Milgrim made me giggle. The story is about a little boy who is stranded on a weird planet where things are very strange, and he doesn’t know how to get home. It’s never scary because it’s simply too weird to ever get scary. People with too many arms, donkeys, and chickens dressed as horses, and finally the realization that it’s all a dream. The humor was rather dry although kids will probably take it as goofy. My favorite part was the little alien dog that transforms into a regular one at the end of the book when the little boy wakes up.
Roaring Rockets by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker is a fun rhyming book about rockets. Even toddlers will enjoy the cartoon-like pictures and zippy text. Also, the last page is devoted to explaining the parts of a rocket and other facts!
Our Stars by Anne Rockwell is another wonderful nonfiction book from this author-illustrator. The book shares the most basic facts about stars with the reader as well as more complicated facts about constellations, comets, and meteors. I love that the facts are shared pretty independently on each page, so if something is above your toddler’s head, you can simply skip that page, until they are ready for more facts. The illustrations are fun enough to grab attention but detailed enough to help explain the facts being presented.
The Moon Might Be Milk by Lisa Shulman follows a little girl and her animal friends as they all share their opinions of what the moon is made out of. While reading this with my son years ago, he kept saying “No no not milk, shaving cream!” because we’d just made our shaving cream moon craft. The story has a cute ending, and I like how no opinion is made fun of or wrong. When I asked my son what he liked about the book he ignored the moon and said “The cat.” There you have it, a cute book about a moon but the cat stole the show.
Night Goes By by Kate Spohn is a book that explains how the sun goes down and the moon comes out, and the cycle continues. The sun, moon, and stars are all very cheery and enjoy their lots in life. The star and moon play all night! The book is simple, and while I wasn’t too into it, my son who was almost 3 when we read it really liked it. I would suggest it for toddlers and young preschoolers.
The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Tracy Campbell Pearson is a beautiful book. The poem was written in the 19th century but my two year old loved it paired with these stunning and warm illustrations of a family’s adventures at night. I really am so impressed with how well the words were put to life by the pictures, and my son loved it. It’s inspired me to find more classical literature and poetry to share with my son.
A Is for Astronaut: Exploring Space from A to Z by Traci N. Todd is a typical themed alphabet book that is atypically funky. The vintage illustrations and historical photos from NASA make this book stand out from other similar books. Each letter represents a number of space-related items and the historical photos are so powerful in this because it bridges the gap from being a story to being information that children are eager to dive into further. There is something so powerful about a photograph to make that connection that this really happened, these guys really walked on the moon in “the olden days” as my son calls any time before his birth in 2006.
Moon Man by Tomi Ungerer is an odd, heartwarming, entertaining story. My son loves this story about the man on the moon who wants to be a part of the action on earth and decides to visit himself. Of course, as is the custom on earth we are afraid of outsiders, and he is thrown in jail. Luckily as he goes through the phases, he manages to slip out through the bars. He finds someone to help him return home where he belongs, even though he is sad to go. I couldn’t help but think of ET – but that’s just me.