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Flight: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about flight?

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

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 flight, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The 21 Balloons to popular sellers like The Twenty-One Balloons (Puffin Modern Classics) to some of our favorite hidden gems like Rosie Revere, Engineer.

We hope this list of kids books about flight 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 Flight

#1
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Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck's class, is available in September 2016.
#2
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Amelia Earhart
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara & illustrated by Mariadiamantes
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Meet Amelia, the fearless female flier! Now available as a board book in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of Amelia Earhart, from her childhood as a tomboy to becoming the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean to her eventual disappearance. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!
#3
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3-2-1 Blast Off!
Written by Kevin Meyers and Haily Meyers & illustrated by Haily Meyers
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-5
Adventure into space with this playful oversized board book, from the creators of Gotta Go, Buffalo and the All Aboard series. Haily and Kevin Meyers are the husband and wife team behind the dazzling baby product line, Lucy Darling (lucydarling.com). Haily's design work can be seen on their unique monthly sticker designs, nursery art prints, baby memory books, and multiple baby products. Their work has been featured in Pregnancy and Newborn magazine, Red Tricycle, Babiekins Magazine, Cool Mom Picks, KIWI magazine, Mollie Makes magazine, Fresh Style magazine, Mom Trends, HGTV Canada, and specialty baby shops worldwide. They live in Arizona.
#4
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Max and Bird
Written & illustrated by Ed Vere
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Max, a kitten, and Bird, a very young bird, want to be friends but Max also wants to eat Bird, so they strike a deal.
#5
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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.
#6
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Up and Down
Written & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
A penguin has wings for a reason . . . doesn’t he? Having a best friend with his own airplane is one thing, but actually experiencing what it feels like to fly by himself? Here is one penguin who believes this is precisely what he needs to feel complete. Only . . . if flying by himself is so wonderful, then why does he feel so empty? Because some experiences are better shared. (And penguins are much happier on the ground.) Oliver Jeffers delivers the perfect companion to his much-loved Lost and Found. Penguins everywhere will take flight in delight.
#7
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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.
#8
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The Dreamer
Written & illustrated by Il Sung Na
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Once, there was a pig who admired birds. But he could never join them. Or could he? Thus begins the journey of a pig with big dreams, and the perseverance to make them come true. He develops flight plans, builds experimental contraptions, and has far-flung adventures, but at the end of the day, his favorite thing to do is still to sit and watch for those he loves best: the birds. Il Sung Na creates a world at once whimsical and aspirational, where anything is possible and, yes, even pigs can learn to fly.
#9
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The Second Sky
Written by Patrick Guest & illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
An inspiring story about finding your true element Ever since he first hatched, Gilbert has wanted to fly. But with his big, clumsy feet and small, fluffy wings, learning to fly is a bigger challenge than Gilbert anticipated. His fellow penguins tell him to give up, but Gilbert is sure that if he keeps trying, he’ll be able to soar… Young readers will fall in love with this sweet, motivating story about overcoming obstacles and discovering your hidden talents.
#10
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The Way Back Home
Written & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From the illustrator of the #1 smash hit The Day the Crayons Quit comes an imaginative tale of friendship in a world where what makes us different isn’t nearly as important as what makes us the same. When a boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: He flies it into outer space! Millions of miles from Earth, the plane begins to sputter and quake, its fuel tank on empty. The boy executes a daring landing on the moon . . . but there’s no telling what kind of slimy, slithering, tentacled, fangtoothed monsters lurk in the darkness! (Plus, it’s dark and lonely out there.) Coincidentally, engine trouble has stranded a young Martian on the other side of the moon, and he’s just as frightened and alone. Martian, Earthling—it’s all the same when you’re in need of a friend.
Table of Contents
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Books About Flight and Friendship

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Max and Bird
Written & illustrated by Ed Vere
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Max, a kitten, and Bird, a very young bird, want to be friends but Max also wants to eat Bird, so they strike a deal.
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Up and Down
Written & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
A penguin has wings for a reason . . . doesn’t he? Having a best friend with his own airplane is one thing, but actually experiencing what it feels like to fly by himself? Here is one penguin who believes this is precisely what he needs to feel complete. Only . . . if flying by himself is so wonderful, then why does he feel so empty? Because some experiences are better shared. (And penguins are much happier on the ground.) Oliver Jeffers delivers the perfect companion to his much-loved Lost and Found. Penguins everywhere will take flight in delight.
Add to list
The Way Back Home
Written & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From the illustrator of the #1 smash hit The Day the Crayons Quit comes an imaginative tale of friendship in a world where what makes us different isn’t nearly as important as what makes us the same. When a boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: He flies it into outer space! Millions of miles from Earth, the plane begins to sputter and quake, its fuel tank on empty. The boy executes a daring landing on the moon . . . but there’s no telling what kind of slimy, slithering, tentacled, fangtoothed monsters lurk in the darkness! (Plus, it’s dark and lonely out there.) Coincidentally, engine trouble has stranded a young Martian on the other side of the moon, and he’s just as frightened and alone. Martian, Earthling—it’s all the same when you’re in need of a friend.
Honorable Mentions
Somewhere Else book
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Floaty book
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Teaching Eddie to Fly book
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Penguinaut! book
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  1. Somewhere Else - George has absolutely no interest in exploring the world. None at all. He’s far too busy enjoying his home life and baking delicious pastries. Or so he tells all his friends when they invite him along on their wonderful adventures. But when George’s friend Pascal digs a little deeper, the real reason George refuses to travel away from home is finally revealed . . . From the children’s book author of the acclaimed Herman and Rosie comes Gus Gordon’s Somewhere Else.

  2. Floaty - Blah! Mr. Raisin is a bit of a grump. He lives all alone in a little house, and he likes it that way just fine. One day, a mysterious basket appears on Mr. Raisin’s doorstep. When he opens it up, it seems there’s nothing inside . . . until he notices a floating dog bobbing along his ceiling. What follows is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about embracing the unexpected—and finding friendship that takes you to new heights.

  3. Teaching Eddie to Fly - Laugh-out-loud picture book about embracing your own unique gifts. Eddie is a bird, but he can’t fly! His friend Ernest, a bear, decides he’s going to help Eddie learn to fly—with hilarious and unanticipated results. Along the way, both Ernest and Eddie learn some valuable lessons. Is Eddie even meant to fly? Or is there something else he’s even better at? Quirky and fun, Teaching Eddie to Fly will have kids laughing while challenging them to think about what they’re good at, and what makes them unique.

  4. 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.

Want to see books about friendship?

Books About Flight and Animals

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The Dreamer
Written & illustrated by Il Sung Na
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Once, there was a pig who admired birds. But he could never join them. Or could he? Thus begins the journey of a pig with big dreams, and the perseverance to make them come true. He develops flight plans, builds experimental contraptions, and has far-flung adventures, but at the end of the day, his favorite thing to do is still to sit and watch for those he loves best: the birds. Il Sung Na creates a world at once whimsical and aspirational, where anything is possible and, yes, even pigs can learn to fly.
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Maisy Goes On a Plane: : A Maisy First Experiences Book
Written & illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
What’s it like to travel by plane for the first time? Little flyers are in good company with Maisy leading the way. Maisy is going to visit her friend Ella, and she is taking a plane to get there. She’s very excited! Join the mouse as she checks in at the airport, finds her seat (by the window!) and makes some new friends on her flight. From the whoosh at takeoff to waiting in line for the bathroom, from buckling seat belts to arriving in a whole new wonderful place, flying is more fun with a friend like Maisy on board.
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Blown Away
Written & illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Come on an unexpected journey with a fearless blue penguin in Rob Biddulph's debut picture book, Blown Away. In this brilliantly captivating and gloriously illustrated story, a brave young penguin takes a kite flight to a tropical paradise. But in the end, he realizes that home is where his igloo is.
Honorable Mentions
Fly! book
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Soldier Dogs #1: Air Raid Search and Rescue book
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The Flying Squirrel Stowaways book
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Buzz book
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  1. Fly! - It’s a big day up in the tree that Mama bird shares with her baby. Mama bird thinks Baby bird is finally ready to leave the nest and learn to fly so he can migrate south with the rest of their flock. But Baby bird isn’t so sure. Can’t his mother keep bringing him worms in their nest? Can’t he migrate in a hot air balloon instead? Or perhaps a car? This silly wordless picture book will keep young readers giggling as Baby bird figures out that he must flap his wings and learn to fly—whether he likes it or not!

  2. Soldier Dogs #1: Air Raid Search and Rescue - The paw-biting start to a thrilling new adventure series perfect for fans of Max and the I Survived books, inspired by the brave military dogs who helped our troops win World War II. When Matt’s older brother enlisted in the army, he left Matt his German Shepherd, Chief, a retired fire dog and the best pet EVER. So Matt isn’t happy when Chief starts paying attention to his foster sister Rachel instead of him. But when Nazi planes begin bombing the city, Matt finds himself in an impossible situation. Can he be a hero to his sister when it matters most? And when they get caught outside during the air raid, will Chief be there to save the day? This paper-over-board edition includes a collectible poster and a pull-out map!

  3. The Flying Squirrel Stowaways - Follow two flying squirrels who choose the Boston Christmas Tree as their home and accidentally stow away on an international adventure! I t’s wintertime in Nova Scotia, and two flying squirrels are busy exploring the woods around their spruce-tree home. After a busy night of playing and gliding and snacking, they’re ready to settle down and sleep all day. But humans have other plans: the tree is cut down and packed onto a truck bound for Boston, Massachusetts. It turns out their new home has been chosen as Halifax’s annual thank-you gift, the Boston Christmas Tree! The little squirrels have no idea they’re about to embark on a journey across Atlantic Canada and Maine on the way to Boston. Will the accidental stowaways be discovered? And what awaits them in their new American home?

  4. Buzz - After learning that a bee’s body is too chunky for flight, Buzz the bumblebee defies the laws of aerodynamics to save a friend in need.

Want to see books about animals?

Books About Flight and Family

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Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck's class, is available in September 2016.
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Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?
Written by Dan Richards & illustrated by Jeff Newman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Dan Richards teams up with celebrated artist, Jeff Newman, to share a funny and vibrant picture book about how powerful a child’s imagination can be…with a little encouragement. Evan asks a simple question, “Can one balloon make an elephant fly?” At first, his mother is too busy to answer. But when she takes the time to play the game with her son…magic happens.
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My Cousin Momo
Written & illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Momo is coming to visit, and his cousins are SO excited! But even though Momo is a flying squirrel, he won’t fly for his cousin’s friends. Plus, his games are weird. He can’t even play hide and seek right! But when Momo’s cousins give his strange ways a chance, they realize that doing things differently can be fun…almost as much fun as making a new friend.
Honorable Mentions
Jacob's Fantastic Flight book
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Flight of the Bluebird (the Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters Book 3) book
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Nope book
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I Can Fly book
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  1. Jacob's Fantastic Flight - Jacob has a special gift--he can fly!When his parents plan a trip to the sea, Jacob says he will fly there himself. Along the way, he meets new friends and has wonderful adventures. And when his bird friends need help, Jacob and the flock work together to rescue their friend and outsmart the nefarious birdcatcher. With gorgeous illustrations and a humorous, resonant story about independence, kindness, and embracing the unknown, Jacob's Fantastic Flight shows what happens when a child uses their strengths and differences to help others in need. Printed on FSC-certified paper with vegetable-based inks.

  2. Flight of the Bluebird (the Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters Book 3) - Sisters Jaundice and Kale Bland are flown to Egypt, where they are reunited with their parents, whose real identities they learn, and seek to uncover the mysteries of a magical scarab.

  3. Nope - A nurturing mama bird, a fearful baby, and a nest in a tall, tall tree. Ready, set, soar? Nope! Sweetly and humorously told, here is a sparkling debut about the joys that come from embracing new experiences, written and illustrated by nationally-syndicated cartoonist Drew Sheneman.

  4. I Can Fly - Penguin wants to fly like other birds, but he has trouble doing so when he tries! Penguin is confused because he has wings and can flap, waddle, and leap like other birds, but he lands flat on his stomach when he tries to fly. When Penguin asks his dad why he can’t fly, his father tells him that penguins swim. But Penguin doesn’t want to accept this! Will he be able to find a way to fly?

Want to see books about family?

Books About Flight and Science And Nature

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The Second Sky
Written by Patrick Guest & illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
An inspiring story about finding your true element Ever since he first hatched, Gilbert has wanted to fly. But with his big, clumsy feet and small, fluffy wings, learning to fly is a bigger challenge than Gilbert anticipated. His fellow penguins tell him to give up, but Gilbert is sure that if he keeps trying, he’ll be able to soar… Young readers will fall in love with this sweet, motivating story about overcoming obstacles and discovering your hidden talents.
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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!
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TouchThinkLearn: Fly!
Written & illustrated by Xavier Deneux
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
A bird arrives, alights on a tree, finds a mate, and builds a nest. Soon its eggs will hatch and one brave hatchling will embark on its first flight. A deceptively simple and joyful celebration of the natural cycle of life, this book adds the bonus of removable—and movable—characters and scenery to the bestselling TouchThinkLearn format, featuring the hallmark production technique of glued-on pieces dovetailing with die-cut openings. In this first narrative title in the series, the movable pieces invite and involve the reader in a meaningful and multisensory participation in the story.
Honorable Mentions
Destination: Space book
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A Meeting in the Sky book
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Pop-Up Peekaboo! Space book
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A Kite for Moon book
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  1. 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.

  2. A Meeting in the Sky - On December 20, 1943, a German pilot escorted an American bomber to safety; this remarkable, secret meeting in the sky inspired a lifelong quest to reunite as the two former enemies became friends.

  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 Flight and Airplanes

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Amelia Earhart
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara & illustrated by Mariadiamantes
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Meet Amelia, the fearless female flier! Now available as a board book in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of Amelia Earhart, from her childhood as a tomboy to becoming the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean to her eventual disappearance. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!
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Hello, Airplane!
Written & illustrated by Bill Cotter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Illustrations and easy-to-read text follow an airplane as it says good-bye to the ground and hello to the sky, where it flies over a town, mountains, clouds, and people.
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Those Magnificent Sheep In Their Flying Machines
Written by Peter Bently & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
The sheep on the hillside were munching away, much as they always did, day after day, when suddenly something went ZOOM overhead! "Let's go and see what it is!" they all said. And so begins a ripping, round-the-world adventure as the magnificent sheep take to skies in their spiffing, yellow flying machine...
Honorable Mentions
Night Witches at War book
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The Glorious Flight book
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Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering! book
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Captain Awesome Takes Flight book
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  1. Night Witches at War - Flying combat missions in wartime is always dangerous. But imagine doing so in a slow, rickety biplane, at night, with no lights or navigational equipment of any kind. Sound impossible? It wasn’t for the Soviet Night Witches. This unit of incredibly brave women flew hundreds of missions to attack German forces on the front lines during World War II. Learn all about these brave women and how their skill and courage in battle helped defeat the Nazis to win the war.

  2. The Glorious Flight - Winner of the Caldecott Medal, this stunningly illustrated book depicts Louis Bleriot’s historic first cross-Channel flight. “Factually accurate, yes-but also a witty pictorial reincarnation of Bleriot’s first experience of an airship”—Kirkus Reviews

  3. 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!

  4. Captain Awesome Takes Flight - Captain Awesome battles an evil flight attendant who’s trying to stop him from going on vacation in the nineteenth adventure of the Sunnyview Superhero Squad! When Eugene McGillicudy finds himself at the airport, things seem pretty normal at first—and pretty boring—until Eugene bumps into a flight attendant and has a sudden realization. That flight attendant isn’t just any flight attendant. She’s the evil Fun E. Racer, and she’s here to stop Captain Awesome from going on vacation! With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Captain Awesome chapter books are perfect for beginning readers!

Want to see books about airplanes?

Books About Flight and Hot Air Balloons

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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.
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And Away We Go!
Written & illustrated by Migy England
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Mr. Fox is going to the moon! Away he goes in his hot air balloon. . . . But wait! Can Elephant come too? Sure! Let's bring along some pizza. What about Giraffe? And Squirrel? Everyone is welcome in Mr. Fox's balloon, but look out--will everyone fit? In the tradition of classic cumulative tales like Mr. Gumpy's Outing, Migy's And Away We Go! is an unforgettable debut picture book from an exciting new talent.
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A Dream of Flight
Written by Jef Polivka-Searle and Rob Polivka & illustrated by Rob Polivka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.
Honorable Mentions
The Twenty-One Balloons (Puffin Modern Classics) book
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The 21 Balloons book
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Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride (Caldecott Honor Book) book
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A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 book
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  1. The Twenty-One Balloons (Puffin Modern Classics) - A Newbery Medal Winner Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions.Winner of the 1948 Newbery Medal, this classic fantasy-adventure is now available in a handsome new edition. “William Pene du Bois combines his rich imagination, scientific tastes, and brilliant artistry to tell a story that has no age limit.” —The Horn Book

  2. The 21 Balloons - Relates the incredible adventures of Professor William Waterman Sherman who in 1883 sets off in a balloon across the Pacific, survives the volcanic eruption of Krakatoa, and is eventually picked up in the Atlantic.

  3. Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride (Caldecott Honor Book) - The first “manned” hot-air balloon is about to take off! But what are those noises coming from the basket? Based on the (POSSIBLY) true report of a day in 1783, this si the story of (PERHAPS) the bravest collection of flyers the world has ever seen, as (SORT OF) told to Marjorie Priceman.

  4. A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 - In the year and a half since the flight of the first manned balloon in 1783, an Italian has flown, a Scot has flown, a woman has flown, even a sheep has flown. But no one has flown from one country to another. John Jeffries, an Englishman, and his pilot, Jean-Pierre Blanchard, a Frenchman, want to be the first. On January 7, 1785, they set out to cross the English Channel to France in a balloon. All seemed to be going fine, until Jeffries decides the balloon looks too fat and adjusts the air valve―how hard could it be? Too bad he drops the wrench over the side of the aerial car. With no way to adjust the valve, the balloon begins to sink. Jeffries and Blanchard throw as much as they can overboard―until there is nothing left, not even their clothes. Luckily, they come up with a clever (and surprising) solution that saves the day. A VOYAGE IN THE CLOUDS from Matthew Olshan and Sophie Blackall is a journey that will keep kids laughing the whole way.

Books About Flight and Social Themes

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Fly Flies
Written by Ziggy Hanaor & illustrated by Alice Bowsher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Fly just wants to have fun flying, but everyone she meets thinks she’s doing it all WRONG! Fly is happily practicing her flying in the park, doing some wibbles and some wobbles and some waveys. Blackbird, Seagull, Starling and Hawk take turns giving Fly advice about the best way to fly; fly in a straight line, glide on the wind, fly in a flock, dive onto your food…. Fly tries to take their advice on board, but each time finds that this is not HER way to fly. With a sweet, witty twist at the end, this is a delightful book about staying true to yourself in the face of people who insist they know better.
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Bertie Wings It!
Written by Leslie Gorin & illustrated by Brendan Kearney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Bertie the birdie knows: he's ready to fly from the nest and into the sky. But whenever he's about to take wing, his fellow feathered friends squawk at him to STOP and follow their advice instead. But not one of these "experts"--the persuasive penguin, the emu, or the kiwi--has ever actually flown! Will Bertie learn to trust his own instincts . . . and soar?
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Flight School
Written & illustrated by Lita Judge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A persevering penguin is determined to fly in this adorably inspiring picture book from the creator of Red Hat and Red Sled. Although little Penguin has the soul of an eagle, his body wasn’t built to soar. But Penguin has an irrepressible spirit, and he adamantly follows his dreams to flip, flap, fly! Even if he needs a little help with the technical parts, this penguin is ready to live on the wind.
Honorable Mentions
Penguin Flies Home book
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Tar Beach book
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  1. Penguin Flies Home - Penguin mastered his quest to soar with the eagles in Flight School—now he’s heading home to teach his friends in this sweet and inspiring stand-alone companion story! Penguin loves everything about flying: the wind beneath his wings, the song that rises from his belly, and the sight of new and wonderful places. Still, he misses his penguin friends in the South Pole. So, he flips and flaps back home, ready to teach them the magic of flight! But when he arrives, his enthusiasm for flying doesn’t get quite the reaction he expected. Will Penguin’s friends still like him, even if they don’t share his soaring dreams?

  2. Tar Beach - Illus. in full color. “Ringgold recounts the dream adventure of eight-year-old Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who flies above her apartment-building rooftop, the ‘tar beach’ of the title, looking down on 1939 Harlem. Part autobiographical, part fictional, this allegorical tale sparkles with symbolic and historical references central to African-American culture. The spectacular artwork resonates with color and texture. Children will delight in the universal dream of mastering one’s world by flying over it. A practical and stunningly beautiful book.”—(starred) Horn Book.

Books About Flight and 20th Century

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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.
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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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The Unbreakable Zamperini
Written & illustrated by Nel Yomtov
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14
In the 1930s Louis Zamperini was a promising Olympic track athlete. But when World War II broke out, he enlisted and served as a bombardier with the U.S. Army Air Corps. In 1943 Zamperini miraculously survived when his bomber crashed in the Pacific Ocean. But that was just the beginning of his ordeal. After surviving for more than six weeks on a raft at sea, he was captured by Japanese forces and sent to a POW camp. For the next two years Zamperini endured brutal treatment at the hands of the Japanese officer who chose to make an example of him. But no matter how horrible things things became, Zamp refused to be broken. Learn all about Louis Zamperini and his unbreakable spirit as a prisoner of war in World War II.
Honorable Mentions
Eight Days Gone book
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Papa Put a Man on the Moon book
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Destination: Moon book
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  1. 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.

  2. Papa Put a Man on the Moon - 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.

  3. 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 Flight and Imagination And Play

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Edward Built a Rocketship
Written by Michael Rack & illustrated by Graham Ross and Michael Rack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
3...2...1... KAA-BOOM! Edward blasts into space on a magical tour of the Milky Way with meteor showers, asteroids, and aliens. This brightly illustrated adventure is one you definitely won't forget!
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Little Bird
Written by Germano Zullo & illustrated by Albertine
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6
A man drives his truck up to a cliff's edge. Unable to go any further, he opens the back door of his truck and a flock of birds flies out, but, as the man soon discovers, a small timid bird remains. Surprised and delighted, the man acts kindly towards the bird and an intimacy develops. After lunch, the man tries to show the bird that he should fly off and join his friends. The man's comic attempt at flight deepens the encounter between these two very different creatures. Soon the bird flies off and the man drives away, but in a surprise twist the bird and his friends return, and in a starkly lyrical moment we see them all experience something entirely new.
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Pop!
Written by Jason Carter Eaton & illustrated by Matt Rockefeller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
An afternoon of popping soap bubbles takes a turn for the adventuresome as Dewey races to pop that one elusive bubble that keeps...getting...away! Full color.
Honorable Mentions
Oliver Who Would Not Sleep book
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If You Had a Jetpack book
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  1. Oliver Who Would Not Sleep - Move over, Frances the badger, and good night, silly old moon. Meet Oliver — a boy who *really* knows how to stay up! Oliver Donnington Rimington-Sneep
    COULDN’T and DIDN’T and WOULD NOT SLEEP!
    And why should he? As soon as his parents shut his door, Oliver’s off on all kinds of explorations: painting and reading, drawing and racing — and a little trip to Mars for good measure. But his explorations end where all explorations should: safe at home, in a warm bed . . . asleep. For every parent with an Oliver (or Olivia) in their lives, and every child seeking a little fun before shut-eye, OLIVER WHO WOULD NOT SLEEP is the perfect bedtime adventure.

  2. If You Had a Jetpack - A fun and creative answer to the question “what would YOU do if you had a jetpack?” perfect for fans of Boy and Bot and How to Train a Train. Having a jetpack is fun—if you know what to do with one. If you had a jetpack, you could: • Teach your brother how to build one too. • Demonstrate its usefulness at Show and Share Time at school. • Give your principal a ride home. • Fly south to visit your nana. • Visit the astronauts on the space station and help with anything that needed fixing. Join one inventive little rabbit as he and his brother put their new jetpack to good use! “An energetic, crowd-pleasing read-aloud that can be revisited again and again.”—SLJ “This vivid picture book will leave kids longing for jetpacks, while taking off on their own flights of fancy.”—Booklist

Books About Flight and Technology

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Zelda's Big Adventure
Written by Marie Alafaci & illustrated by Shane McG
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Zelda has big plans—she wants to be the first chicken in space. She leaves nothing to chance as she builds her spaceship, plans her experiments, and packs for the journey. All she needs now is a little help from her friends, and if they won’t step up, Zelda will just have to manage on her own! Eye-popping art and a story of perseverance and ingenuity prove that for a plucky hen, the sky is never the limit. This modern twist on the traditional The Little Red Hen story features an endearing and resourceful chicken determined to fulfill her dream
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George and the Unbreakable Code
Written by Lucy Hawking and Stephen Hawking & illustrated by Garry Parsons
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
George and Annie are off on another cosmic adventure to figure out why strange things are happening on Earth in the fourth book of the George’s Secret Key series from Stephen and Lucy Hawking. George and his best friend Annie haven’t had any space adventures for a while and they’re missing the excitement. But not for long, because seriously strange things have started happening. Banks are handing out free money, supermarkets aren’t able to charge for their products so people are getting free food, and aircrafts are refusing to fly. It looks like the world’s biggest and best computers have all been hacked. And no one knows why… It’s up to George and Annie to travel further into space than ever before in order to find out what—or who—is behind it.
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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.
Honorable Mentions
Chilly da Vinci book
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A Trip Into Space book
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  1. Chilly da Vinci - While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet! Chilly ties into the popular “maker” movement with humor and imagination. While others do “penguin” things, Chilly da Vinci—self-declared inventor penguin, builds machines that don’t work…yet!

  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 Flight and History

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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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Astronauts
Written by Jim Ottaviani & illustrated by Maris Wicks
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13
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.
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Raid of No Return (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #7)
Written & illustrated by Nathan Hale
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Nathan Hale tackles a topic fans have been asking about for years: World War II. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, officially bringing the United States into World War II. A new generation of pilots were recruited to fly bombing missions for the United States, and from that group, volunteers were requested for a dangerous secret assignment. For the first time in American history, Army bombers would be launched from an aircraft carrier. Once at sea, they were told their mission was a retaliation strike against targets in Tokyo. But on the day of the raid, a Japanese patrol boat spotted them and they had to launch early, with barely enough fuel to get them past their target. After the bombing, some pilots crashed, some were captured, and many ended up in mainland China and were carried to safety by Chinese villagers, being hunted by Japanese forces all the while. With tales of high-flying action and bravery, Raid of No Return is a story of heartbreak and survival during wartime.
Honorable Mentions
Science Comics: Flying Machines book
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Up & Down book
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  1. Science Comics: Flying Machines - Take to the skies with Flying Machines! Follow the famous aviators from their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, to the fields of North Carolina where they were to make their famous flights. In an era of dirigibles and hot air balloons, the Wright Brothers were among the first innovators of heavier than air flight. But in the hotly competitive international race toward flight, Orville and Wilbur were up against a lot more than bad weather. Mechanical failures, lack of information, and even other aviators complicated the Wright Brothers’ journey. Though they weren’t as wealthy as their European counterparts, their impressive achievements demanded attention on the international stage. Thanks to their carefully recorded experiments and a healthy dash of bravery, the Wright Brothers’ flying machines took off.

  2. Up & Down - Swept up by the European ballooning craze of the 1780s, Dr. John Jeffries longed to become the first person to fly across the English Channel. But first he had to outwit a rascally co-pilot, keep the balloon from bursting, and avoid crashing into the sea. The good doctor’s quick-thinking solutions will surprise young readers—and keep them giggling when “lightening the load” is a relief in more ways than one. Don Brown tells this quirky true story with his usual accuracy and heart.

Want to see books about history?

Books About Flight and Aviation

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Everything Goes: In the Air
Written & illustrated by Brian Biggs
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Follows Henry and his father through an airport as they see and talk about different forms of air transportation, including airplanes, helicopters, and hot air balloons.
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Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot: Candlewick Biographies
Written by Matthew Clark Smith & illustrated by Matt Tavares
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
"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.
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Fly High, Katie!
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
Katie is flying to Florida to visit her grandmother, but she has never been on an airplane before.
Honorable Mentions
The Airport Book book
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Friendly Fliers book
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  1. The Airport Book - Follow a family and the youngest member’s favorite sock monkey through all the inner and outer workings of an airport. In a book that is as intriguing as it is useful and entertaining, we follow a family on its way through the complexities of a modern-day airport. From checking bags and watching them disappear on the mysterious conveyor belt, to security clearance and a seemingly endless wait at the gate to finally being airborne. But wait! There’s more! The youngest family member’s sock monkey has gone missing. Follow it at the bottom of the page as it makes a journey as memorable as that of the humans above.

  2. Friendly Fliers - A diverse range of pilot characters introduce the vehicles that they fly. Children will discover an assortment of vehicles, including a jumbo jet, seaplane, glider, helicopter, and space plane. As children are asked if they know what each vehicle 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.

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