Little known fact, summer is the busiest season for local public libraries. It is the best time of year to look for fun *free* programming for all ages. From traveling planetariums to special story times, tie-dying to STEAM projects, I promise your local library is doing a lot more than usual so check us out! Plus, it’s the perfect time to check out space themed books, no matter what age you are!
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, the American Library Association’s summer theme is A Universe of Stories. You’ll find space themed reading challenges, displays and activities at most of the Seacoast libraries.
Here’s my round up of a few of my favorite space-themed reads.
Space Themed Picture Books
Gravity By Jason Chin
A rockstar in the non-fiction picture book world, Jason Chin offers amazing visual treats. Your whole family will love the lush illustrations combined with an accessible description of gravity. (I also love his Grand Canyon and Redwoods books).Hey-Ho! To Mars We’ll Go By Susan Lendroth
Set to the tune of “The Farmer In the Dell”, this book propels a classic into to the 21st century. It’s fun reading for all, particularly those who love a good song book.
Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story By Mark Kelly
Real-life astronaut Mark Kelly (fun fact: he’s a twin and his brother is an astronaut, too!) has written a sweet picture book series about a mouse that gets drafted into the next space mission and, of course, saves the day! When my daughter was three, and into ALL things space, she loved it!
Ron’s Big Mission By Rose Blue.
Vibrant illustrations match this biographical picture book of Ron McNair, one of the first African-American astronaut/physicists who, sadly, was lost in the Challenger disaster. His is an all too familiar, yet important story, of overcoming segregation using peaceful determination, grit and passion to achieve his dreams. A space theme picture book that speaks to so much more!
Space Themed Books For Bigger Kids
You Choose: Space Race By Rebecca Stefoff
This is one of a very popular non-fiction choose your own adventure series. Choose your own path as you participate in the space race first hand- will you help build the first rocket? Train as an astronaut? Work in Mission Control? You Choose! Great for ages 8-11 years.
Moonshot By Brian Floca
Another rockstar in the non-fiction picture book world, Brian Floca offers a detailed account of that famous day in July 1969 when Apollo 11 took off for the moon. The details make this most suitable for 2-5 graders but the images are for perfect everyone. Updated version released this year in celebration of the Apollo 11 mission!
Hidden Figures By Margot Lee Shetterly with Winifred Conkling
A tremendous picture book biography of the four unsung heroes of the space race. There are several levels of books about these remarkable women so if you need more detail for your older child, ask your librarian. I particularly like the accessibility of this picture book version for all ages. One of my all time favorites.
Space Case By Stuart Gibbs
On to some fiction fun! What happens when your family is one of the first to live on the Moon but there is a murder at the station? Dashiell is here to solve the mystery and save the mission in this funny and suspenseful mystery. Book one of the hot fun Moon Base Alpha series for ages 8-12.
Cosmic By Frank Cottrell Boyce
Liam is a 12 year old boy trapped in the body of a 30 year old man. He feels stuck between two worlds- adult vs. kid. Cleverly, he uses this to his advantage and hops on the first civilian mission to space. But when things get sticky he feels stuck between two world again- only this time he is a long way from home. For ages 8-12.
Last Day on Mars By Kevin Emerson
This book is so popular we can barely keep it on the shelves! 200 years in the future, humanity has fled Earth for Mars as a stopover before the Sun goes supernova and they have to high-tail it to another galaxy. Liam and his family are scheduled to be on the last ship off the planet when they uncover a plot to sabotage their escape thereby threatening human existence! Heartpounding space adventure for ages 10+.
As always, links are to Indiebound.org or ask at your library!
Did you know? Courtesy of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society, most New Hampshire libraries have telescopes for you to check out and take home! Also check out their website for Skywatch activities in your area. We love to visit the enormous telescopes in Portsmouth’s Market Square (especially in the colder months when it gets dark earlier so I don’t have to mess with bedtime…)