Fifty years ago this month, a man set foot on the moon for the first time during the Apollo 11 mission. Neil Armstrong was the first, followed by Buzz Aldrin, with command module pilot Michael Collins flying in lunar orbit. A lot has changed in our world since July 1969—one change being that there are hundreds more great picture books about outer space and astronomy. Read these with your kids and wonder together about what the next 50 years will bring.
by Jennifer Berne; illustrated by Lorraine Nam
(Katherine Tegen Books 2019)
Learn how astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson found his inspiration to study space after a visit to New York City’s Hayden Planetarium. The story gives details on Tyson’s accomplishments, as well as how he thinks and how he views the world.
by Laura Roettiger; illustrated by Ariel Boroff
(Eifrig Publishing 2019)
Aliana lives in the Rocky Mountains and loves to explore and create. After learning about the phases of the moon, she gets the idea to make a birthday surprise for her brother using the moon’s light. Local author Laura Roettiger was amazed by the brightness of the full moon when she moved to Colorado in 2016 and it inspired her to write this book.
by Helaine Becker; illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
(Henry Holt and Company 2018)
This nonfiction picture book tells the story of African American mathematician, Katherine Johnson, who helped make sure the Apollo 13 mission returned safely home, thanks to her calculations. “Every child needs to know this story,” says Marilyn Robbins, children’s programs coordinator at BookBar. The book’s illustrator, Dow Phumiruk, a pediatrician, lives in the Denver area.
by Jill McDonald (Doubleday Books for Young Readers 2019)
Introduce babies and toddlers to space in a simple, easy-to-understand board book format. The book includes details about the first moon landing, Apollo 11 astronauts, NASA, spacesuits, rocket modules, and celebrating after a successful mission.
by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel 2008)
A young boy flies a single-propeller airplane into outer space and manages to land on the moon in this imaginative science fiction story recommended by the Jefferson County Public Library. He makes friends with a Martian—also stranded on the moon—and the two make a plan to repair their spacecraft and return home.
by Curtis Manley; illustrated by Jessica Lanan (Roaring Brook Press 2019)
Recommended by Denver Public Library, The Bookies bookstore, and other book experts, watercolor illustrations follow a curious young girl and her family on a visit to the planetarium. Along the way, the book scopes out across time and history to take readers through facts about space.
by Carmela LaVigna Coyle; illustrated by Mike Gordon
(Muddy Boots 2019)
In this rhyming picture book by local author Carmela LaVigna Coyle, a young girl asks, “Can a princess become an astronaut?” in addition to other questions of what curious and adventurous little girls can be when they grow up, including “Do princesses play with gadgets and gears?” and “Can a princess by grow up to president?”
Librarians and book experts also recommend:
- I am Neil Armstrong by Brad Meltzer; illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
- The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon by Dean Robbins; illustrated by Sean Rubin
- If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon by Joyce Lapin; illustrated by Simona Ceccarelli
- Daring Dozen: The Twelve Who Walked on the Moon by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Alan Marks
- Papa Put a Man on the Moon by Kristy Dempsey; illustrated by Sarah Green
- Moon Babies by Karen Jemeson; illustrated by Amy Hevron
- Apollo’s First Moon Landing: A Fly on the Wall History by Thomas Kingsley Troupe; illustrated by Jomike Tejido
- Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by David Litchfield
- Sun! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Stevie Lewis
- Rocket Science for Babies by Chris Ferrie
- 8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie; illustrated by Lizzy Doyle
- Dogs in Space by Nancy Coffelt
- Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream by Tanya Lee Stone
- Destination: Moon by Seymour Simon
- Max Goes To The Moon by Jeffrey Bennett; illustrated by Alan Okamoto
- Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed; illustrated by Stasia Burrington
- Rocket to the Moon by Don Brown
- The Girl Who Named Pluto by Alice B. McGinty; illustrated by Elizabeth Haidle
- Rocket Says Look Up! by Nathan Bryon; illustrated by Dapo Adeola
- Stars by Mary Lyn Ray; illustrated by Marla Frazee
- Light Up The Night by Jean Reidy; illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
- How To Catch A Star by Oliver Jeffers
- A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
- Penguinaut! by Marcie Colleen; illustrated by Emma Yarlett
- Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
- Dinosaur Rocket! by Penny Dale
- Franklin and Luna Go to the Moon by Jen Campbell; illustrated by Katie Harnett
- Little Fox and the Missing Moon by Ekaterina Trukhan
- Whose Moon Is That? by Kim Krans
- Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
- Sydney & Simon: To the Moon! by Paul A. Reynolds; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
- The Boy Who Climbed Into the Moon by David Almond; illustrated by Polly Dunbar
- Small World! by Ishta Mercurio; illustrated by Jen Corace
- Earthrise by James Gladstone; illustrated by Christy Lundy
- Nova The Star Eater by Lindsay Leslie; illustrated by John Taesoo Kim
- Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Stevie Lewis