Best Kids Books About Space

13 Books About Space That Your Kids Will Love

Updated Jan. 29, 2019

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade . . . not because [it is] easy, but because [it is] hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win." President John F. Kennedy, 1962

We want to help children feel inspired and captivated by great books. Some of our own favorites focus on space, rockets, and big dreams, so we thought it would be great to compile a list of the best children's books about space. To quote a favorite animated character, Buzz Lightyear from Disney's Toy Story, we want children to believe they can go "to infinity, and beyond!" Sometimes the best way to voyage into new worlds is by being transported into the vast unknown of space through the pages of an amazing book.

In 2011, NASA shut down its space shuttle program, a program that sparked amazing feats of science, math, and engineering and human ingenuity, bravery, and creativity. It seems that despite thrilling achievements in the years after President John F. Kennedy declared "we choose to go to the moon," space exploration lost its perceived value and was seen as a high-risk, low-return government expense. Matthew McConaughey's character, the space shuttle pilot Cooper, might have captured the feeling best: "We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt."

Interestingly, private companies have stepped into to fill the empty space (wink, wink) left by NASA, and people all over the world are enthralled with the potential of colorful visionaries like Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk and SpaceX, and Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin.

We're enjoying a resurgence of interest in space and exploration, and we hope children, and the parents and other loved ones who enjoy the books with them, can find their next big dream in one of these, the best books about space. Live long and prosper! ;)

Oh No, Astro! book
#1
Oh No, Astro!
Written by Matt Roeser and illustrated by Brad Woodard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a cute story about a somewhat timid and uptight asteroid sent hurtling through space after being knocked out of orbit and about his travels down to earth. The illustrations in this book are absolutely phenomenal and I love the bright, almost vintage-cartoon-style to them! The punny, science-filled wording is enjoyable as well, with just enough of a story to it to keep the learning interesting and the facts at the back of the book are perfect for giving little space aficionados a little extra info.

Astro, an asteroid that wants nothing more than for his personal outer space to be respected, is hit by a passing satellite and sent on what turns out to be a great adventure from the asteroid belt to Earth. Includes "space facts."

Harry and Horsie book
#2
Harry and Horsie
Written by Katie Van Camp and illustrated by Lincoln Agnew
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When a boy named Harry sneaks out of bed one night with his best friend, Horsie, to play with his Super Duper Bubble Blooper -- an out-of-this-world adventure begins! Illustrated with retro-comic art, this is a charming story about the power of friendship and imagination from a talented new team.

Hidden Figures book
#3
Hidden Figures
Written by Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrated by Laura Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a great introduction for little readers to the four true stories of how African American women helped the space program, overcoming gender and racial biases. I like how it exposes civil rights and women's rights issues at a level that is appropriate and understandable for children and focuses on how each of these four women worked hard and persevered to overcome those challenges.

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."

Hopper and Wilson Fetch a Star book
#4
Hopper and Wilson Fetch a Star
Written and illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Have you ever wanted your very own star? Wouldn't it be wonderful to have your own star for a nightlight? It is this thought that begins Hopper and Wilson's second adventure. They fill their airplane with lemonade and soar into the night sky. So many stars to choose from! One is too pointy. One is too heavy. Another is too bright! Taking a break on the moon, the two friends look directly above and spot it—the perfect star! As Hopper lays down for a nap, Wilson ventures off on his own, to the dark side of the moon. Yet now he is lost! How can he find his way back to Hopper? The perfect star, of course. Wilson spots it in the sky and follows it back to his friend. In another deceptively simple story, Maria van Lieshout shows how sometimes the best part of nature is that it's found only in nature—and that everything has its proper place . . . be it stars or even best friends, who always belong together.

This Is a Moose book
#5
This Is a Moose
Written by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Lights! Camera! Moose! MOOSE? Yes, Moose! When a movie director tries to capture the life of a moose on film, he's in for a big surprise. It turns out the moose has a dream bigger then just being a moose--he wants to be an astronaut and go to the moon. His forest friends step in to help him, and action ensues. Lots of action. Like a lacrosse-playing grandma, a gigantic slingshot into space, and a flying, superhero chipmunk. In this hilarious romp, Richard T. Morris and bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld remind us to dream big and, when we do, to aim for the moon.

Reaching for the Moon book
#6
Reaching for the Moon
Written by Buzz Aldrin and 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.

Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing book
#7
Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing
Written by Dean Robbins and 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.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 book
#8
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
Written and 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.

The Darkest Dark book
#9
The Darkest Dark
Written by Chris Hadfield and 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.

I Am Neil Armstrong book
#10
I Am Neil Armstrong
Written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

"A biography of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon"--

The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System book
#11
The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System
Written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

On a special field trip in the magic school bus, Ms. Frizzle's class goes into outer space and visits each planet in the solar system.

There's No Place Like Space book
#12
There's No Place Like Space
Written by Tish Rabe and 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.

Mousetronaut book
#13
Mousetronaut
Written by Mark Kelly and 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!

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.