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Astronauts: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about astronauts?

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

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.

When it comes to children’s stories about astronauts, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Arctic Patrol Mystery to popular sellers like Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 to some of our favorite hidden gems like Fly High, John Glenn: The Story of an American Hero.

We hope this list of kids books about astronauts can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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  • The Space Walk - One small step for man is one giant leap for friendship in this funny kid-level space adventure Astronaut Randolph Witherspoon wants to take a walk–a space walk, that is! But Ground Control has other ideas. Randolph must eat some lunch, get some exercise, and then he can go outside, provided he dresses warmly and doesn’t talk to strangers. But Randolph’s mission doesn’t exactly go to plan, leading to an unexpected new friend. Brian Biggs puts an interstellar spin on the parent-child relationship in this hilarious new picture book.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Penguinaut! - 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.

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Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing
Written by Dean Robbins & illustrated by Lucy Knisley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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Armstrong
Written & illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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Earth Space Moon Base
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An unlikely trio lands on a planet and keeps the inhabitants at bay using bananas.

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Mousetronaut
Written by Mark Kelly & illustrated by C. F. Payne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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!

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George and the Blue Moon
Written by Stephen Hawking and Lucy Hawking & illustrated by Garry Parsons
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

George and Annie are off on another cosmic adventure inspired by the Mars Expedition in the fifth book of the George’s Secret Key series from Stephen and Lucy Hawking. George and his best friend, Annie, have been selected as junior astronauts for a program that trains young people for a future trip to Mars. This is everything they’ve ever wanted—and now they get to be a part of up-to-the minute space discoveries and meet a bunch of new friends who are as fascinated by the universe as they are. But when they arrive at space camp, George and Annie quickly learn that strange things are happening—on Earth as well as up in the skies. Mysterious space missions are happening in secret, and the astronaut training they’re undertaking gets scarier and scarier…

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  • I Am Neil Armstrong - “A biography of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon”–

  • Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier - 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.

  • Space for Smart Kids: A Little Scientist's Guide to Astronauts, Gravity, Rockets, and the Atmosphere (1) (Future Geniuses) - Discover the mysteries of science with Future Geniuses! Come along with Valentina, the astronaut, on this incredible journey to Mars and become a space genius! Up past the exosphere, thermosphere, and mesosphere, we will find outer space and learn the answers to some big questions. What is the ozone layer? What is gravity? Which countries have successfully traveled into space? What are the parts of rockets called, and what does each part do? What is space like? Future Geniuses is a collection that will help families spend a lot of time reading and learning together. Through simple text and fun illustrations, author and scientist Carlos Pazos makes the subjects of space and space travel approachable and easy to understand for even the smallest scientists.

  • 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?

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The Race to Space: Countdown to Liftoff
Written by Ben Thompson and Erik Slader & illustrated by Tim Foley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

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Daring Dozen
Written by Suzanne Slade & illustrated by Alan Marks
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon. That was the Apollo 11 mission. Since that moment, six more Apollo missions were launched, five successfully reached the moon, and eleven more men walked on its surface. In simple, poetic verse, Suzanne Slade takes readers on a trip to the Moon aboard all the Apollo missions from 1969 through 1972. Suzanne was able to work closely with astronaut Alan Bean, the lunar module pilot of the Apollo 12 landing. Backmatter includes a note from Alan Bean, information about the rockets and vehicles used, highlights from the missions, and more.

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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.

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Disaster Strikes!
Written & illustrated by Jeffrey Kluger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

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Ada Lace, Take Me to Your Leader
Written by Emily Calandrelli & illustrated by Tamson Weston
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

From Emily Calandrelli—host of Xploration Outer Space, correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World, and graduate of MIT—comes the third novel in a fun illustrated chapter book series about an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology.Third grader and inventor extraordinaire Ada Lace likes nothing more than to tinker with mechanics like her robot, George. Her latest project is to fix up a ham radio, something that she could use to contact people on this planet…and beyond. The only problem is that she just can’t get it to work properly.During a sleepover, Ada’s best friend Nina hears something strange coming from the radio in the middle of the night. A distant voice says, “Release the swarm!” convincing Nina that aliens are about to invade planet Earth.Could Ada and Nina have stumbled upon something…extraterrestrial?

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  • Catstronauts: Race to Mars - In the sequel to CatStronauts Mission Moon, your favorite elite group of cat astronauts are thrust into the space-race of the century!

  • CatStronauts: Space Station Situation - In the third book in the CatStronauts graphic novel series, your favorite elite team of cat astronauts is a member short–one of the team has quit! When chief science officer Pom Pom rejoins the CatStronauts on the International Space Station, she has to get to work right away–the Hubba Bubba Telescope isn’t working, and CATSUP is losing funding by the day! But as the CatStronauts and Mission Control race to find answers, the unthinkable happens and pilot Waffles is forced to orbit the Earth in nothing but his space suit. Even though he’s no scaredy cat, Waffles has a hard time staying out in space. When disaster on a global scale rears its head, will a fractured CatStronauts team be enough to save the day? In this full color graphic novel, debut author/illustrator Drew Brockington takes the CatStronauts to the brink, adding in mounds of jokes, charm, asteroid showers, and enough tuna for everyone!

  • Once Upon a Toad - A girl gets into a mouthful of trouble in this modern fractured fairy tale, from the author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club.

  • Astronaut Annie - Career Day is approaching, and Annie can’t wait to show her family what she’s planning to be when she grows up. But, she must keep it a secret until Friday! So curious family members each ask Annie for a clue. Convinced that she’ll be a news reporter like he once was, Grandpop gives her his old camera and notebook to use for her presentation. Grandma is sure Annie wants to be a champion baker like her, so she offers a mixing bowl and oven mitts to Annie. Hopeful she’ll become the mountain climber he aspired to be, Dad gives Annie an old backpack. Mom presents Annie with a pair of high-top sneakers to pursue Mom’s favorite sport in high school – basketball. Grateful for each gift, Annie cleverly finds a way to use them all to create her Career Day costume. When the big day arrives, Annie finally reveals her out-of-this-world dream to everyone.

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The Arctic Patrol Mystery
Written & illustrated by Franklin W. Dixon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Private investigator Fenton Hardy enlists the aid of his teenage detective sons in a search for a missing man being sought by an insurance company. All leads to the sailor’s whereabouts have petered out and the boys fly to Iceland, the man’s native land, hoping to find a new clue. From the moment Frank and Joe arrive in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, they are in constant danger. In the spine-chilling pursuit that follows, Frank and Joe uncover a diabolical espionage plot that threatens the life of a U.S. astronaut and NASA’S moon project.

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Catstronauts: Mission Moon
Written by Drew Brockington
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
CatStronauts, you are needed!
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Letters from Space
Written by & illustrated by Susan Batori
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Astronaut Clayton Anderson spent 152 days in space aboard the International Space Station–and while he didn’t mail dozens of letters back to Earth (they would have burned up on reentry!), imagine if he did! These letters from space are full of weird science, wild facts, and outrageous true stories from life in space, complete with hysterical illustrations from Susan Batori. Backmatter includes even more interesting information on space, astronauts, and living among the stars.

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Papa Put a Man on the Moon
Written by Kristy Dempsey & illustrated by Sarah Green
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Marthanne and her father sit side by side, looking out over their mill village as the moon glows in the sky. Marthanne hopes that one day, man will walk on the moon, and she knows her father is helping America accomplish this mission: The fabric he weaves forms one layer in the astronauts’ spacesuits. Papa insists he’s only making a living, but Marthanne knows his work is part of history, and she’s proud. She tries to be patient, but she can’t stop imagining the moon mission: the astronauts tumbling through space, the fabric her papa made traveling all the way up into the sky. When the astronauts blast off and Neil Armstrong finally takes his first steps on the moon, Marthanne watches in wonder. She knows her papa put a man on the moon.

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The First Hippo on the Moon
Written by David Walliams & illustrated by Tony Ross
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From Number One bestselling picture book duo, David Walliams and Tony Ross, comes this explosively funny space adventure for children of 3 and up.

Two big hippos. One ENORMOUS dream. Who can make it to the moon first? 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . BLAST OFF!

Introducing a wonderfully charming and funny new picture book from two superstars!

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  • AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet - This laugh-out-loud, visually groundbreaking read launches a major new series by children’s literature legend Jon Scieszka. Featuring full-color illustrations throughout, a spectacular gatefold, plus how-to-draw pages in the back, it’s an outer space adventure that demonstrates a giant leap for bookmaking and a giant leap for any kid looking for their next go-to series. AstroWolf, LaserShark, SmartHawk, and StinkBug are animals that have been hybridized to find other planets for humans to live on once we’ve ruined Earth. So off they rocket to the Plant Planet! Will that planet support human life? Or do Plant Planet’s inhabitants have a more sinister plan? AstroNuts Mission One is a can’t-put-it-down page-turner for reluctant readers and fans ready to blast past Wimpy Kid.

  • 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.

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