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Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about aeronautics, astronautics and space science?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to aeronautics, astronautics and space science. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about aeronautics, astronautics and space science.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about aeronautics, astronautics and space science, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like There’s No Place Like Space to popular sellers like Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition to some of our favorite hidden gems like Go for the Moon.

We hope this list of kids books about aeronautics, astronautics and space science can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science

Space Mice book
#1
Space Mice
Written by Lori Haskins Houran & illustrated by Priscilla Alpaugh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When two hungry mice spot a giant yellow ball of cheese in the night sky, they get right to work building a rocketship so they can take a big bite out of that glowing full moon. After sailing through starry skies, the mice arrive at the feast of their dreams—and soon the moon isn’t so full anymore! Simple, rhythmic text makes this a great read-aloud for future astronauts.

Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany book
#2
Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany
Written by Kristen Fulton & illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An Inspiring True Story about One Family’s Escape from Behind the Berlin Wall!

Peter was born on the east side of Germany, the side that wasn’t free. He watches news programs rather than cartoons, and wears scratchy uniforms instead of blue jeans. His family endures long lines and early curfews. But Peter knows it won’t always be this way. Peter and his family have a secret. Late at night in their attic, they are piecing together a hot air balloon—and a plan. Can Peter and his family fly their way to freedom? This is the true story of one child, Peter Wetzel, and his family, as they risk their lives for the hope of freedom in a daring escape from East Germany via a handmade hot air balloon in 1979.

• A perfect picture book for educators teaching about the Cold War, the Iron Curtain, and East Germany
Flight for Freedom is a showcase for lessons of bravery, heroism, family, and perseverance, as well as stunning history.
• Includes detailed maps of the Wetzel family’s escape route and diagrams of their hot air balloon

For fans of historical nonfiction picture books like Let the Children March, The Wall, Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon.

• True life escape stories
• For picture book readers age 5–9
• For teachers, librarians, and historians

Kristen Fulton is a children’s book author. She can always be found with a notebook in hand as she ventures through historical sites and museums. Most of the time she lives in Florida—but she can also be found traveling the country by RV.

Torben Kuhlmann is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. Starting in kindergarten he became known as “the draftsman.” Flying machines and rich historical detail often adorn his work. He lives in Hamburg, Germany.

There's No Place Like Space book
#3
There's No Place Like Space
Written by Tish Rabe & illustrated by Aristides Ruiz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat introduces Sally and Dick to the planets, stars, and moons in our universe.

Go for the Moon book
#4
Go for the Moon
Written & illustrated by Chris Gall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

For the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, a step-by-step explanation of how the Apollo 11 spacecraft worked as told by a young enthusiast.The Apollo 11 astronauts have prepared carefully for their attempt to be the first men to land on the moon. The young narrator of this book has prepared carefully, too: he explains the design of the spacecraft, the flight from the earth to the moon, and the drama of touching down - while shadowing the astronaut’s voyage with one of his own. Go for the Moon! captures the fascinating detail and inspiring adventure of the moon landing. It is a captivating celebration of one of humankind’s greatest technical achievements and most extraordinary feats of exploration.

Fly High, John Glenn: The Story of an American Hero book
#5
Fly High, John Glenn: The Story of an American Hero
Written by Kathleen Krull & illustrated by Maurizio A.C. Quarello
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The inspiring, deeply patriotic true story of John Glenn, a true hero who not only changed America’s contribution to space exploration but also spent his life proudly serving his country in many ways.

This is a gorgeous picture book to introduce younger readers to John Glenn, from award-winning author Kathleen Krull and illustrator Maurizio A. C. Quarello.

John Glenn wasn’t just the first American to orbit Earth. He was a family man, a soldier, a United States senator, and a national hero. He laid the groundwork for future star voyagers—and dreamers—everywhere.

From the time he was a child, John Glenn loved flying. Later he did so by flying airplanes for the U.S. military, and then when space travel became a possibility, he trained for years to become an astronaut. John had to push his mind and body to the brink.

But he loved his country more than anything and wanted to serve—including flying into the great unknown.

Heart on Pluto book
#6
Heart on Pluto
Written by Karl Jones & illustrated by Andrew J. Ross
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Love is everywhere, even in the fartherst reaches of the Solar System. On NASA’s first-ever mission to Pluto, the New Horizons satellite discovers that even when you’re far from home, you are loved.

New Horizons was the first NASA satellite to visit and take close-up images of Pluto. And though the journey was long and challenging, New Horizons discovered a message of love in the heart-shaped nitrogren ice lake on Pluto’s surface.

Where's the Astronaut? book
#7
Where's the Astronaut?
Written by Nosy Crow & illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing with little ones by lifting the felt flaps to discover four hidden space-themed friends. Then find the mirror under the final flap! Parents love these books because they are simple yet robust, and little readers adore them because they’re fun and easy to play with.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 book
#8
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
Written & illustrated by Brian Floca
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

Here is the story of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon — a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away by steady astronauts in their great machines.

Dark Was the Night book
#9
Dark Was the Night
Written by Gary Golio & illustrated by E.B. Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The poignant story of Blind Willie Johnson—the legendary Texas musician whose song “Dark Was the Night” was included on the Voyager I space probe’s Golden Record

Willie Johnson was born in 1897, and from the beginning he loved to sing—and play his cigar box guitar. But his childhood was interrupted when he lost his mother and his sight. How does a blind boy make his way in the world? Fortunately for Willie, the music saved him and brought him back into the light. His powerful voice, combined with the wailing of his slide guitar, moved people. Willie made a name for himself performing on street corners all over Texas. And one day he hit it big when he got a record deal and his songs were played on the radio. Then in 1977, his song—“Dark Was the Night”—was chosen to light up the darkness when it was launched into space on the Voyager I space probe’s famous Golden Record. His immortal song was selected for the way it expresses the loneliness humans all feel, while reminding us we’re not alone.

Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Engineering book
#10
Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Engineering
Written by Bob Cooper & illustrated by Greg Paprocki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An introductory primer for kids focusing on the “E” portion of “STEAM” engineering. With original Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci as inspiration, this exciting new volume in the Little Leonardo series introduces kids to many of the different types of engineering they can aspire to. Littles will learn how nine types of engineers design and build all sorts of things, from the tiny microcircuitry in your smartphone to large projects like dams and bridges that transform the very face of the planet. Part of the Little Leonardo’s Fascinating World Series. Greg Paprocki works full-time as an illustrator and book designer. He has illustrated several Curious George books, as well as the BabyLit alphabet books and The Big Book of Superheroes. Bob Cooper is a veteran editor whose twenty-year career has found him working on everything from comic books to art, architecture, and children’s titles.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and...

Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and The Moon

Space Mice
Written by Lori Haskins Houran & illustrated by Priscilla Alpaugh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When two hungry mice spot a giant yellow ball of cheese in the night sky, they get right to work building a rocketship so they can take a big bite out of that glowing full moon. After sailing through starry skies, the mice arrive at the feast of their dreams—and soon the moon isn’t so full anymore! Simple, rhythmic text makes this a great read-aloud for future astronauts.

There's No Place Like Space
Written by Tish Rabe & illustrated by Aristides Ruiz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat introduces Sally and Dick to the planets, stars, and moons in our universe.

Where's the Astronaut?
Written by Nosy Crow & illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing with little ones by lifting the felt flaps to discover four hidden space-themed friends. Then find the mirror under the final flap! Parents love these books because they are simple yet robust, and little readers adore them because they’re fun and easy to play with.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Armstrong - A long time ago a mouse learned to fly . . . and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next? Torben Kuhlmann’s stunning new book transports readers to the moon and beyond! On the heels of Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse comes Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon—where dreams are determined only by the size of your imagination and the biggest innovators are the smallest of all. The book ends with a brief non-fiction history of human space travel—from Galileo’s observations concerning the nature of the universe to man’s first steps on the moon.

  2. I Am Neil Armstrong - “A biography of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon”—

  3. Pop-Up Peekaboo! Space - Take your preschooler on an exciting journey through space in this cute baby board book with flaps to lift and pop-ups to enjoy. This book introduces space, to babies, while encouraging first learning through lively, read-aloud rhymes, as well as fun and colorful space scenes. With the help of parents and caregivers, toddlers will have fun turning the pages, guessing who’s hiding under the flaps and then lifting the flaps to play peekaboo! They will learn all about space, astronauts, stars, planets, and more! Ideal for preschool play, this sturdy baby book will appeal to both parents and children and is certain to keep little ones entertained time and time again!

  4. A Kite for Moon - Dedicated to astronaut Neil Armstrong, A Kite for Moon is the perfect children’s book to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first United States moon landing. What would it be like if the moon was your friend? Find out as you walk alongside a little boy who journeys through life to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut. And then blast off with your little one as you zoom to the moon together! The story begins when a little boy, who is flying his kite, notices a sad Moon. He sends up kites to her, writing notes promising he will come see her someday. This promise propels him through years of studying, learning, and training to become an astronaut. Until … he finally goes up, up, up in a big rocket ship with a fiery tail! A Kite for Moon, written by New York Times bestselling author of How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi Stemple, is a heartfelt story about a young boy’s fascination and unlikely friendship with the moon.

Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and Aviation

Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany
Written by Kristen Fulton & illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An Inspiring True Story about One Family’s Escape from Behind the Berlin Wall!

Peter was born on the east side of Germany, the side that wasn’t free. He watches news programs rather than cartoons, and wears scratchy uniforms instead of blue jeans. His family endures long lines and early curfews. But Peter knows it won’t always be this way. Peter and his family have a secret. Late at night in their attic, they are piecing together a hot air balloon—and a plan. Can Peter and his family fly their way to freedom? This is the true story of one child, Peter Wetzel, and his family, as they risk their lives for the hope of freedom in a daring escape from East Germany via a handmade hot air balloon in 1979.

• A perfect picture book for educators teaching about the Cold War, the Iron Curtain, and East Germany
Flight for Freedom is a showcase for lessons of bravery, heroism, family, and perseverance, as well as stunning history.
• Includes detailed maps of the Wetzel family’s escape route and diagrams of their hot air balloon

For fans of historical nonfiction picture books like Let the Children March, The Wall, Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon.

• True life escape stories
• For picture book readers age 5–9
• For teachers, librarians, and historians

Kristen Fulton is a children’s book author. She can always be found with a notebook in hand as she ventures through historical sites and museums. Most of the time she lives in Florida—but she can also be found traveling the country by RV.

Torben Kuhlmann is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. Starting in kindergarten he became known as “the draftsman.” Flying machines and rich historical detail often adorn his work. He lives in Hamburg, Germany.

National Geographic Kids Little Kids First Board Book: Space
Written & illustrated by Ruth A. Musgrave
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

National Geographic spins off its best-selling Little Kids First Big Book series into engaging new board books to introduce even the littlest kids to high-quality nonfiction. These sturdy pages explore the basics of the solar system with amazing photographs, super-simple facts, and lively, age-appropriate language to keep babies and toddlers—and their grown-ups—fascinated by every colorful page. With stunning photos of the Earth and other planets, this beautiful book introduces the very youngest explorers to the wonders of the space, beginning right here on Earth and expanding into the universe beyond. Designed to be the stepping stone to the Little Kids First Big Book series, the National Geographic Little Kids First Board Books take similar subjects and drill them down to the simplest nonfiction concepts for the youngest audience. Not only will readers learn about planets and our solar system, they can also find recurring shapes and patterns in the design; occasional callouts will add humor for adults, and sidebar text offers additional learning for older siblings or those ready for more complex information.With their square shape, bright and playful design, awesome photography, clear text, and cues to encourage interactive learning, the Little Kids First Board Books mirror the beloved First Big Books while taking a fresh new approach to excite a baby’s sense of wonder and make learning about nature and science fun.

Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747
Written & illustrated by Chris Gall
board book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

For the 50th anniversary of the Boeing 747’s first commercial flight, a picture book about the development of the iconic passenger plane and how it changed the history of air travel.

In 1968, the biggest passenger jet the world had ever seen premiered in Everett, Washington. The giant plane was called the Boeing 747, but reporters named it “the Jumbo jet.”

There was only one problem. It couldn’t fly. Yet.

Jumbo details the story of the world’s first wide body passenger jet, which could hold more people than any other plane at the time and played a pivotal role in allowing middle class families to afford overseas travel. Author and illustrator Chris Gall, himself a licensed pilot, shows how an innovative design, hard work by countless people, and ground-breaking engineering put the Jumbo jet in the air.

On January 22, 1970, the Boeing 747 made it’s first transatlantic flight, taking passengers from New York to Paris in seven hours.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont - Profiles Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who made great strides in the invention of flight.

  2. A Dream of Flight - Years before the invention of the modern airplane, Alberto Santos-Dumont dreamed of flying. As a boy, he was mesmerized by the machinery on his father’s coffee plantation in Brazil and went on to study science and engineering in France. Soon his groundbreaking—and sometimes silly—inventions became the talk of Paris, especially after he set his sights on building an airship that could bring the world’s people together. His small stature and big ideas earned him the nickname “Le Petite Santos.” This is the story of Santos’s successful race for the Deutsche Prize, and his many failures along the way. Chock-full of cool diagrams, charming Parisian scenes, and graphic novel-style spot illustrations, A Dream of Flight will have young readers looking to the sky and scheming up their own aerial inventions.

  3. Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot: Candlewick Biographies - “Smith tells Sophie’s inspiring story with a buoyant sense of wonder, fitting for a woman who was happiest in the air. Her accomplishments and passion for flight are brought beautifully to life by Tavares.” — Booklist (starred review) Take to the skies with the story of Sophie Blanchard, an extraordinary woman who is largely forgotten despite her claim to being the very first female pilot in history. In eighteenth-century France, “balloonomania” has fiercely gripped the nation . . . but all of the pioneering aeronauts are men until a shy girl comes along, devoted to her dream of flight. Sophie is not the first woman to ascend in a balloon, nor the first woman to accompany an aeronaut on a trip, but she will become the first woman to climb to the clouds and steer her own course.

  4. Airport - From the excitement of arrival to the wonder of taking off — a picture book that captures in joyous and powerful images all the magic of an airport.

Want to see books about aviation?

Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and Astronomy

Heart on Pluto
Written by Karl Jones & illustrated by Andrew J. Ross
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Love is everywhere, even in the fartherst reaches of the Solar System. On NASA’s first-ever mission to Pluto, the New Horizons satellite discovers that even when you’re far from home, you are loved.

New Horizons was the first NASA satellite to visit and take close-up images of Pluto. And though the journey was long and challenging, New Horizons discovered a message of love in the heart-shaped nitrogren ice lake on Pluto’s surface.

Super Space
Written & illustrated by Editors of Silver Dolphin Books
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Lift the flaps to explore outer space!

Which planet is the hottest? How many astronauts have been to the Moon? Which planet has dust devils? Find out the answers to all of these questions and more in First Flaps and Facts: Super Space! This book introduces children to the planets, the sun and stars, the moon, space exploration, and more with flaps to lift, a wheel to turn, and a giant foldout. With colorful illustrations and simple text, this book is perfect for children who are just learning about space.

Spectacular Space
Written & illustrated by James Olstein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Aspiring astronauts will love discovering wonderful trivia about outer space, from the first flower grown out there to the fact that Saturn could float in water! There are fun tidbits about tortoises orbiting the Moon, Martian rocks, and lightning bolts longer than our galaxy! Also, you’ll laugh out loud when you see the funny illustrations of Einstein surfing a gravitational wave and pizza floating through space!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Voyage Through Space - See space as you’ve never seen it before! Join one little astronaut and her space dog as they voyage through our solar system. Journey from the Sun, to the planets, asteroids and Kuiper belt, before folding out a glow-in- the-dark poster at the back. Simply turn off the light to bring the incredible glow-in-the-dark ink to life.

  2. The Planets - This series explores the four key elements of our Solar System: the Sun, the Moon, the Planets, and the Stars. With each title including fascinating facts and photographic images, young readers will enjoy discovering what lies in the darkness beyond.

  3. The Day the Universe Exploded My Head - Hang on tight for a raucous bounce through the solar system and back — propelled by funny, fanciful, factually sound poems and exuberant illustrations. The universe poured into me. My brain was overloaded. It smoked and glowed red-hot. And then it actually exploded. Ever wonder what the sun has to say about being the closest star to Earth? Or what Pluto has gotten up to since being demoted to a dwarf planet? Or where rocket ships go when they retire? Listen closely, because maybe, just maybe, your head will explode, too. With poetry that is equal parts accurate and entertaining — and illustrations that are positively out of this world — this book will enthrall amateur stargazers and budding astrophysicists as it reveals many of the wonders our universe holds. Space travelers in search of more information will find notes about the poems, a glossary, and a list of resources at the end.

  4. Caroline's Comets - “Caroline Herschel was the first woman to discover a comet and the first woman to be paid as a scientist.”—

Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and Exploration And Discovery

Go for the Moon
Written & illustrated by Chris Gall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

For the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, a step-by-step explanation of how the Apollo 11 spacecraft worked as told by a young enthusiast.The Apollo 11 astronauts have prepared carefully for their attempt to be the first men to land on the moon. The young narrator of this book has prepared carefully, too: he explains the design of the spacecraft, the flight from the earth to the moon, and the drama of touching down - while shadowing the astronaut’s voyage with one of his own. Go for the Moon! captures the fascinating detail and inspiring adventure of the moon landing. It is a captivating celebration of one of humankind’s greatest technical achievements and most extraordinary feats of exploration.

Adventures in Space
Written & illustrated by Simon Tyler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

From the brilliant illustrator, Simon Tyler, comes a wonderful compendium of space, space travel and much more. One day our sun will grow…and grow…and grow…until it ends its life as a red giant 400x its current size. Wonder at facts like these, and much more, in the new illustrated guide to Space. Space is fascinating, and in this book Simon Tyler gorgeously illustrates the planets, meteors, rockets and galaxies - even strange phenomena like the speed of light and solar flares!

Planetarium
Written by Raman Prinja & illustrated by Chris Wormell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The newest title in the Welcome to the Museum series turns its focus to the heavens and explores the wonders of space. Welcome to the museum that is always open to explore. Step inside the pages of this beautiful book to discover galleries of galactic matter, expertly curated to bring you the experience of a fascinating exhibition in the comfort of your own home. Planetarium features all aspects of space, from the sun and our solar system to the lives of stars, the Milky Way, and the universe beyond. With stunning artwork from Dinosaurium illustrator Chris Wormell and informative text by Raman Prinja, a professor of astrophysics at University College, London, Planetarium is the perfect gift for budding astronomers and armchair stargazers alike.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Skies Above My Eyes - Have you ever looked up and wondered what’s going on high up in the skies above your eyes? Take a journey up into the air, through the atmosphere, way out into space, and back down to Earth in this richly illustrated concertina book. Readers will zoom past the technology that fills our skies, from helicopters, fighter jets, weather balloons, and satellites, hang-gliders and hot-air balloons. They’ll also discover the insects and animals that whizz through the skies, explore the layers of the atmosphere, and travel through the solar system and out to the galaxies far beyond. Following on from The Street Beneath My Feet, which dug down to the centre of the Earth, this expansive concertina book opens out to an impressive 2.5 metres, perfect for inquisitive young minds.

  2. Curiosity - Maybe you remember when a little robotic spacecraft landed on a far-off planet. On August 6, 2012, the rover Curiosity touched down on the rocky surface of Mars—and now she’s ready to guide you through her journey firsthand. From idea to creation and beyond, this fact-filled, stylish book introduces readers to Curiosity and her mission: to discover more about the red planet and search for evidence of life. How did Curiosity get her name? What tools does she use to carry out her tasks? In her own voice, the popular NASA rover tells how and why she traveled more than 350,000,000 miles to explore a planet no human has ever visited . . . and what she’s been doing there. In his debut picture book, Markus Motum brings Curiosity’s story to life in vivid color: the deep blues of space set off the warm, rusted hues of Mars’s dusty red surface, marking this lovable rover and her mission as something special—truly a world apart.

  3. The Race to Space: Countdown to Liftoff - In this second installment of the Epic Fails series, explore the many failures that made up the Space Race, paving the way for humanity’s eventual success at reaching the stars. Today, everyone is familiar with Neil Armstrong’s famous words as he first set foot on the moon: “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” He made it look easy, but America’s journey to the moon was anything but simple. In 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world’s first satellite, into orbit, America had barely crossed the starting line of the great Space Race. Later that year, our first attempt was such a failure that the media nicknamed it “Kaputnik.” Still, we didn’t give up. With each failure, we gleaned valuable information about what went wrong, and how to avoid it in the future. So we tried again. And again. And each time we failed, we failed a little bit better. The Epic Fails series by Erik Slader and Ben Thompson explores the humorous backstories behind a variety of historical discoveries, voyages, experiments, and innovations that didn’t go as expected but succeeded nonetheless, showing that many of mankind’s biggest success stories are the result of some pretty epic failures indeed.

  4. Disaster Strikes! - Twelve thrilling and terrifying space-mission failures, told by the bestselling author of Apollo 13! There are so many amazing, daring, and exciting missions to outer space that have succeeded. But for every success, there are mistakes, surprises, and flat-out failures that happen along the way. In this collection, bestselling author and award-winning journalist Jeffrey Kluger recounts twelve such disasters, telling the stories of the astronauts and the cosmonauts, the trials and the errors, the missions and the misses. With stories of missions run by both Americans and Russians during the height of the space race, complete with photos of the people and machines behind them, this book delves into the mishaps and the tragedies, small and large, that led humankind to the moon and beyond.

Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and 20th Century

Fly High, John Glenn: The Story of an American Hero
Written by Kathleen Krull & illustrated by Maurizio A.C. Quarello
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The inspiring, deeply patriotic true story of John Glenn, a true hero who not only changed America’s contribution to space exploration but also spent his life proudly serving his country in many ways.

This is a gorgeous picture book to introduce younger readers to John Glenn, from award-winning author Kathleen Krull and illustrator Maurizio A. C. Quarello.

John Glenn wasn’t just the first American to orbit Earth. He was a family man, a soldier, a United States senator, and a national hero. He laid the groundwork for future star voyagers—and dreamers—everywhere.

From the time he was a child, John Glenn loved flying. Later he did so by flying airplanes for the U.S. military, and then when space travel became a possibility, he trained for years to become an astronaut. John had to push his mind and body to the brink.

But he loved his country more than anything and wanted to serve—including flying into the great unknown.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
Written & illustrated by Brian Floca
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

Here is the story of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon — a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away by steady astronauts in their great machines.

We Dream of Space
Written & illustrated by Erin Entrada Kelly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Honorable Mentions
  1. A Computer Called Katherine - The inspiring true story of mathematician Katherine Johnson—made famous by the award-winning film Hidden Figures—who counted and computed her way to NASA and helped put a man on the moon! Katherine knew it was wrong that African Americans didn’t have the same rights as others—as wrong as 5+5=12. She knew it was wrong that people thought women could only be teachers or nurses—as wrong as 10-5=3. And she proved everyone wrong by zooming ahead of her classmates, starting college at fifteen, and eventually joining NASA, where her calculations helped pioneer America’s first manned flight into space, its first manned orbit of Earth, and the world’s first trip to the moon! Award-winning author Suzanne Slade and debut artist Veronica Miller Jamison tell the story of a NASA “computer” in this smartly written, charmingly illustrated biography.

  2. The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving into History - A hilarious nonfiction look at two of history’s most epic “failures”: the Wright brothers, whose countless crashes and biggest failures led to ultimate success. Although the Wright Brothers are now celebrated as heroes for their groundbreaking contributions to science and engineering as the first men to successfully manage powered, piloted flight, their eventual success was built on the back of a lot of nosedives. It took the self-taught engineers years of work and countless crashes before they managed to remain airborne for a mere twelve seconds! In this hilarious first installment of the Epic Fails series, Ben Thompson and Erik Slader take readers through the the Wright Brothers’ many failed attempts at flight before achieving their groundbreaking success, laying the foundation for aviation as we know it today.

  3. Eight Days Gone - Snappy verse and retro art brings readers along for Apollo 11’s historic, eight-day mission to the moon in 1969. Young readers will learn the basics about the gear, equipment, and spaceship used by the astronauts, as well as the history of NASA’s moon mission. O’ Rourke’s vibrant and retro illustrations paired with McReynolds’ short verse creates a perfect read aloud for preschool and kindergarteners eager to learn about Buzz Aldrin’s trip to the moon. Back matter includes a bibliography and author’s note with additional information about the mission and the crew’s return home after the historic first lunar landing.

  4. Destination: Moon - An out-of-this-world exploration of the 1969 Moon landing from children’s science expert Seymour Simon! In July of 1969, NASA sent the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the Moon. Inside were three people: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. They went into lunar orbit a few days later. More than a hundred hours after launch, the word came back: “The Eagle has landed!” In this exciting account of the famous 1969 Moon landing, award-winning science writer Seymour Simon tells the story of the Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union; recalls how families across the world sat captivated in front of their TVs to witness humankind’s first steps beyond Earth; and explains much of the science and technology that got our astronauts to the Moon on that remarkable day. Perfect for young scholars’ school reports, Destination: Moon features clear text, vibrantly colored pages, engaging sidebars, and stunning full-color photographs. This book includes an author’s note, a glossary, a timeline, and an index and supports the Common Core State Standards.

Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and Science

Little Leonardo's Fascinating World of Engineering
Written by Bob Cooper & illustrated by Greg Paprocki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An introductory primer for kids focusing on the “E” portion of “STEAM” engineering. With original Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci as inspiration, this exciting new volume in the Little Leonardo series introduces kids to many of the different types of engineering they can aspire to. Littles will learn how nine types of engineers design and build all sorts of things, from the tiny microcircuitry in your smartphone to large projects like dams and bridges that transform the very face of the planet. Part of the Little Leonardo’s Fascinating World Series. Greg Paprocki works full-time as an illustrator and book designer. He has illustrated several Curious George books, as well as the BabyLit alphabet books and The Big Book of Superheroes. Bob Cooper is a veteran editor whose twenty-year career has found him working on everything from comic books to art, architecture, and children’s titles.

Future Astronaut
Written by Lori Alexander & illustrated by Allison Black
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Ground Control to Major Baby: Could you be an astronaut?

Does baby have what it takes to become an astronaut? That’s an affirmative, Houston! Discover all the incredible ways that prove baby already has what it takes to become an astronaut — from growing healthy teeth to eating from plastic packs to working in small spaces. Includes lots of fun astronaut facts to help prepare little ones for takeoff!

Future Baby is an adorable new board book series that takes a playful peek into an assortment of powerful careers and shows little ones how their current skills match up with the job at hand. With Future Baby, babies can be anything!

Rocket Science for Babies
Written & illustrated by Chris Ferrie
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Ages 0 to 3 years Rocket Science for Babies by Chris Ferrie is an introduction to aerospace engineering (also known as rocket science). Baby will learn the principles of lift and thrust, the forces responsible for flight. This is the first in a series of books designed to stimulate your baby and introduce them to the world of science. Also coming in May are: Newtonian Physics for Babies General Relativity for Babies Quantum Physics for Babies

Honorable Mentions
  1. Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering! - Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this book explores the basics of flight - from birds, to planes and rockets - and ties it all to baby’s world. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!

  2. Destination: Space - Hop on board the space shuttle and get ready for the ride of your life as you explore deep space with your five fellow space cadets. This journey of discovery takes you through our local solar system and beyond, to galaxies far and wide. With every encounter, learn more about the science behind the stars, planets, meteors and comets in our sky, and the history of our universe.

Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and Astronauts

Mae Among the Stars
Written by Roda Ahmed & illustrated by Stasia Burrington
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An Amazon Best Book of the Month A beautiful picture book for sharing, inspired by the life of the first African American woman to travel in space, Mae Jemison. A great classroom and bedtime read-aloud, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts! 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. This book will inspire other young girls to reach for the stars, to aspire for the impossible, and to persist with childlike imagination.

The Darkest Dark
Written by Chris Hadfield & illustrated by The Fan Brothers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan’s lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible. Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem—at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He’s afraid of the dark. But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is—and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.

Penguinaut!
Written by Marcie Colleen & illustrated by Emma Yarlett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Orville lives at the zoo, surrounded by animal pals who go on exciting adventures. A hang gliding rhino! A deep-sea diving giraffe! Orville struggles to keep up, until one day he concocts an adventure all his own: build a spaceship and fly to the moon all by himself. Can one tiny penguin get there alone?

Penguinaut is perfect for every child who’s said, “I can do it myself!” and comes to find that the rewards are much richer when shared with friends. Marcie Colleen’s playful text and Emma Yarlett’s charming, whimsical illustrations are sure to delight both children and their parents.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Astro Girl - The stars are the limit for a little girl who acts out her wish to be an astronaut — inspired by a very special person. Astrid has loved the stars and space for as long as she can remember. “I want to be an astronaut!” she says to everyone who will listen. While her mama is away, Astrid and her papa have fun acting out the challenges an astronaut faces on a space mission — like being in zero gravity (“I can do that all day long!” she says), eating food from a kind of tube, and doing science experiments with the help of cookie sheets. When at last it’s time to meet Mama at the air base, Astrid wears her favorite space T-shirt to greet her. But where exactly has Mama been? Channeling a sense of childlike delight, Ken Wilson-Max brings space travel up close for young readers and offers an inspiring ending.

  2. Life on Mars - In this sneaky, silly picture book for fans of Oliver Jeffers and Jon Klassen, an intrepid-but not so clever-space explorer is certain he’s found the only living thing on Mars. A young astronaut is absolutely sure there is life to be found on Mars. He sets off on a solitary mission, determined to prove the naysayers wrong. But when he arrives, equipped with a package of cupcakes as a gift, he sees nothing but a nearly barren planet. Finally, he spies a single flower and packs it away to take back to Earth as proof that there is indeed life on Mars. But as he settles in for the journey home, he cracks open his cupcakes-only to discover that someonehas eaten them all! Readers will love being in on the secret- Unbeknownst to the explorer, a Martian has been wandering through the illustrations the whole time-and he got himself a delicious snack along the way.

  3. Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing - 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. Apollo 11. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed. Dean Robbins and Lucy Knisley deliver a lovely portrayal of a pioneer in her field who never stopped reaching for the stars.

  4. Mousetronaut - A heartwarming picture book tale of the power of the small, from bestselling author and retired NASA astronaut Commander Mark Kelly. Astronaut Mark Kelly flew with “mice-tronauts” on his first spaceflight aboard space shuttle Endeavour in 2001. Mousetronaut tells the story of a small mouse that wants nothing more than to travel to outer space. The little mouse works as hard as the bigger mice to show readiness for the mission . . . and is chosen for the flight! While in space, the astronauts are busy with their mission when disaster strikes—and only the smallest member of the crew can save the day. With lively illustrations by award-winning artist C. F. Payne, Mousetronaut is a charming tale of perseverance, courage, and the importance of the small!

Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and Girls And Women

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Written by Margot Lee Shetterly & illustrated by Laura Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award–nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrator Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers! 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. In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as “colored computers,” and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career. “Finally, the extraordinary lives of four African American women who helped NASA put the first men in space is available for picture book readers,” proclaims Brightly in their article “18 Must-Read Picture Books of 2018.” “Will inspire girls and boys alike to love math, believe in themselves, and reach for the stars.”

Small World
Written by Ishta Mercurio & illustrated by Jen Corace
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Nanda is born, the whole of her world is the circle of her mother’s arms. But as she grows, the world grows too. It expands outward—from her family, to her friends, to the city, to the countryside. And as it expands, so does Nanda’s wonder in the underlying shapes and structures patterning it: cogs and wheels, fractals in snowflakes. Eventually, Nanda’s studies lead her to become an astronaut and see the small, round shape of Earth far away. A geometric meditation on wonder, Small World is a modern classic that expresses our big and small place in the vast universe.

Always Looking Up
Written by Laura Gehl & illustrated by Louise Pigott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

This empowering picture book biography tells the story of Nancy Grace Roman, the astronomer who overcame obstacles like weak eyesight and teachers who discouraged women from pursuing astronomy to lead the NASA team that built the Hubble Space Telescope. A testament to women in scientific careers and a record of an important NASA milestone.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Counting the Stars - Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or astronauts walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used their knowledge, pencils, adding machines, and writing paper to calculate the orbital mechanics needed to launch spacecraft. Katherine Johnson was one of these mathematicians who used trajectories and complex equations to chart the space program. Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws were in place in the early 1950s, Katherine worked analyzing data at the NACA (later NASA) Langley laboratory. In 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, Katherine Johnson was called upon and John Glenn said “get the girl” (Katherine Johnson) to run the numbers by hand to chart the complexity of the orbital flight. He knew that his flight couldn’t work without her unique skills. President Barack Obama awarded Katherine Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 and her incredible life inspired the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Get to know this incredible and inspirational woman with this beautifully illustrated picture book from an award-winning duo.

  2. Astronauts - A nonfiction graphic novel for middle grade readers about notable female astronauts. America may have put the first man on the moon, but it was the Soviet space program that made Valentina Tereshkova the first woman in space. Meanwhile, in the United States, NASA’s first female astronauts were racing toward milestones of their own. These trail-blazing women were admitted into Group 9, NASA’s first mixed-gender class. They had the challenging task of convincing the powers that be that a woman’s place is in space. But once they’d been admitted into the training program, they discovered that NASA had plenty to learn about how to make space travel possible for all humans. In Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier, Jim Ottaviani and illustrator Maris Wicks capture the great humor and incredible drive of Mary Cleve, Valentina Tereshkova, and the first women in space.

  3. Katherine Johnson (You Should Meet) - Get to know the woman who made many of NASA’s early missions possible in this fascinating, nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read, part of a series of biographies about people “you should meet!” Meet Katherine Johnson, a brilliant mathematician who worked at NASA in the early 1950s until retiring in 1986. Katherine’s unparalleled calculations (done by hand) helped plan the trajectories for NASA’s Mercury and Apollo missions (including the Apollo 11 moon landing). She is said to be one of the greatest American minds of all time. A special section at the back of the book includes extras on subjects like history and math, plus inspiring careers for math lovers. With the You Should Meet series, learning about historical figures has never been so much fun!

  4. Luciana: Braving the Deep (American Girl: Girl of the Year 2018, Book 2) - In her second novel, Luciana is off to youth astronaut training camp! She hopes to be chosen to dive to an underwater habitat where real astronauts train for life in space. But when Luci accuses her diving partner of sabotage, no one believes her and her chances of making the diving team sink fast. Things hit rock bottom when Luci has an underwater crisis. Suddenly, making the dive team isn’t her biggest worry. She’ll have to conquer her fears if she ever wants to make it to Mars. If she can’t, will she have to kiss her dreams of becoming an astronaut good-bye?

Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and Outer Space

Reaching for the Moon
Written by Buzz Aldrin & illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

I walked on the moon. This is my journey. But it didn’t begin when I stepped on board Apollo 11 on July 1, 1969. It began the day I was born. Becoming an astronaut took more than education, discipline, and physical strength. It took years of determination and believing that any goal is possible—from riding a bike alone across the George Washington Bridge at age ten to making a footprint on the Moon. I always knew the Moon was within my reach—and that I was ready to be on the team that would achieve the first landing. But it was still hard to believe when I took my first step onto the Moon’s surface. We all have our own dreams. This is the story of how mine came true.

Space Squad
Written by Finn Coyle & illustrated by Srimalie Bassani
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A diverse range of space scientists introduce the machines they use to explore and study space. Children will discover the spectacular space fleet, including a carrier rocket, spaceplane, space exploration vehicle, satellite, and the International Space Station. As children are asked if they know what each machine does, the answer is revealed on the next page.

About the Finn’s Fun Trucks series: Written by 11-year-old truck enthusiast Finn Coyle, the Finn’s Fun Trucks series provides a vocabulary-rich introduction to transportation for truck-loving children with the help of a diverse range of vehicle operators and community helpers.

Tiny Little Rocket
Written & illustrated by Richard Collingridge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An epic space journey perfect for any bedtime—earth or space—that puts the reader right in the cockpit and combines Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site with Interstellar Cinderella!

Honorable Mentions
  1. My Rainy Day Rocket Ship - Rainy summer days are no match for a little astronaut who builds the perfect rocket ship for an indoor space adventure to another galaxy, where the sky is his only limit! A stormy afternoon and an order from Mom to stay inside are no match for this little dreamer, who uses everyday household items—a rocket chair, a cardboard box, an old dish rag, and a super-duper imagination—to whip up a trip around the universe he won’t soon forget. My Rainy Day Rocket Ship is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the imagination of Black boys who use their beautiful minds to transform the mundane into the extraordinary, dream out loud, and boldly go where their sky is the only limit.

  2. A Trip Into Space - Blast off into the sky and visit the International Space Station! A lively, rhythmical story and detailed illustrations take readers on a trip to the ISS, where astronauts sleep zipped up and walk in space. This great read-aloud includes information (verified by NASA staff) about the ISS. Fact-filled and fun, this story will send young minds soaring.

Books About Aeronautics, Astronautics And Space Science and Explorers

Above and Beyond
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Since NASA was established in 1958, it has landed rovers on distant planets and launched telescopes deep into space—all so that we can look back to the beginning of time. Through stunning images provided by NASA and fascinating profiles and sidebars of lesser known contributors to the NASA program, young space fans will learn how NASA started, how it faced challenges along the way, how much it has achieved, and how it will continue to move forward in the future. NASA’s boundless curiosity and urge to explore lies at the heart of the human adventure. NASA rises to the urgent challenges we face, using its massive reach and expertise to find answers to vital questions like: How can we learn to live in a more extreme natural environment? Inspired by Rory Kennedy’s documentary of the same name (airing 10/2018), Above and Beyond aims to leave audiences hopeful and inspired about the future of our planet—and convinced that NASA is essential to our continued survival as we mark its important anniversaries and dream of new discoveries to come.

A Journey Through Space
Written by Steve Parker & illustrated by John Haslam
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Take a journey from your doorstep into outer space! Zoom through the Solar System, discovering satellites, comets and asteroids along the way. Explore craters on Mars, moon-hop around Jupiter, and get a close-up view of Saturn’s amazing rings. Just don’t travel too close to the Sun! Packed with lively illustrations to reveal our amazing universe, this book is perfect for a parent and child to read together or to explore independently. Includes a dust jacket that doubles up as a poster.

When Sparks Fly: The True Story of Robert Goddard, the Father of US Rocketry
Written by Kristen Fulton & illustrated by Diego Funck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Robert Goddard may be known as the father of US rocketry, but back in the 1880s, he was just a kid in Worcester, Massachusetts. Even as a youngster, his eyes glimmered with scientific interest and the thrill of discovery. With BAMS! POPS! BANGS! he experimented time and time again with one mission: make his rockets fly! Join Kristen Fulton and Diego Funck as they take you on one explosive journey about a young kid who shot for the moon, never gave up, and let his creative sparks of curiosity burn bright.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Hey Ho, to Mars We'll Go! - This musical mission to Mars will have young astronauts talking—and singing—about the science of space travel. Singing astronauts on a mission explore the science behind a trip to Mars, from launch to landing on the Red Planet. Set to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell,” this jaunty journey follows five adorable, bobble-headed astronauts as they learn how to bathe in zero gravity, grow veggies in space, and entertain themselves on the six-month trip. This book defies gravity—text and art float free on the page, encouraging readers to turn the book sideways and upside-down. An interactive, innovative approach to interstellar fun.

  2. To the Stars! - Kathy Sullivan wanted to go everywhere. She loved blueprints and maps. She loved languages and the ocean. She didn’t like the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She wanted to explore and do exciting things that girls weren’t supposed to be able to do. Only men had the exciting jobs. Kathy liked fishing and swimming; flying planes and studying science. That’s what she liked and that’s what she decided to do with her life. She followed her heart and eventually became a NASA astronaut and the first woman to walk in space. Kathy wanted to see the whole world and so she did: from space!

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