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Books About Outer Space and Astronomy

Ignite your child's interest in space with these great picture books.

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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.

Look Up With Me: Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Life Among the Stars

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.

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Aliana Reaches for the Moon

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.

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13

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.

Hello World! Moon Landing

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.

The Way Back Home

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.

Just Right: The Search for the Goldilocks Planet

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.

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Can Princesses Become Astronauts?

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?”

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