Updated for 2022
Even if we astronomy lovers would love to spend all day outside watching the sky, sometimes it is cloudy or cold outside, and snuggling with a good book sounds like a much more comfortable option. Books are also great options if you are trying to find a gift for a kid that is obsessed with space.
Books are also still one of the best ways to learn about space and introduce kids to astronomy and space. If you have children that are interested in these subjects, the books in this list will keep sparking their curiosity and get them to make sense of the universe in a way that is easy to understand for their age range.
We have split the list into five age ranges so you can pick books that explain things in a language that is appropriate for the kid’s age. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
Table of Contents
- Space and astronomy books for toddlers (ages 0-3)
- Space and astronomy books for preeschoolers (ages 3-5)
- Space and Astronomy Books for elementary students (ages 5-10)
- Space and Astronomy Books for middle schoolers (ages 10-14)
Best space and astronomy books for toddlers
Planets Coloring Book
|Title||Planets Coloring Book|
More than books full of facts or information, a fun and interactive way to introduce toddlers to the concepts of planets, stars, and the universe is through illustration and coloring books.
The art in the book is really cute. It is independently published and the author has a lot of experience and a whole line of volumes covering other subjects.
The value of the book is great because it has more than 90 pages whereas most similar options with the same price have less than 30.
The paper is high-quality and thick which always matters when it comes to coloring books.
Touch the Brightest Star, Christie Matheson
|Title||Touch the brightest star|
Christie Matheson is a house name when it comes to books for toddlers. The core of her books is the rhymes and interactions they feature. On every page, the kid is asked to perform certain actions like tapping the page, waving goodbye, or petting an animal in the book and this has consequences and makes something happen on the following page, making the whole book feel like one full story. The illustrations are made using watercolor techniques that give the background sky some beautiful gradients and while I wish the colors were a little be brighter, the art is cute and should keep kids interested.
Older kids might not find the story interesting enough but it is a great pick for preschoolers.
Hello, World! Solar System
|Title||Hello, World! Solar System|
Jill McDonald is a consistently good author of children’s books. Her series “Hello, World!” looks to introduce toddlers and babies to concepts of the world around them and Solar System is one of the best ones. The artwork is bright and the shapes are interesting while remaining simple. The kids will find it very engaging and fun. They will learn about the planet we live on, the sun, and the other planets around it. The other books in the series are also good, but staying on the theme of space books, we can also recommend Hello World!, Moon Landing.
ABC’s of Space
|Title||ABCs of Space|
|Author||Chris Ferrie and Julia Kregenow|
The “ABC’s of” is a series of books written by experts and scientists that introduces kids to concepts of a certain subject in alphabetical order so they are learning three different things at once: the alphabet, the concept, and some more general information. The art of the book is sharp, vibrant, and cartoony. While on the outside it looks like these are very simple books, they are actually very engaging for children.
The ABC’s of Space is also sold in a pack with other three ABC’s books on math, physics, and science.
Best space and astronomy books for preschoolers
Moon’s First Friends
|Title||Moon’s First Friends|
|Author||Susana Leonard Hill|
It is really cool how the author of this book starts with the idea of telling the story of the first trip to the Moon and turns it into a whole journey that teaches kids about the history of Earth, technology, and humankind.
The illustrations are friendly and the character of the Moon is just adorable and lively. I really like the use of soft colors and lots of shading.
It is available in hardvover, paperback and kindle formats.
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth
|Title||Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth|
Oliver Jeffers is currently the most popular children’s book author and illustrator out there and you only have to take a quick look at this book to see why. Here We Are is a beautiful work of art that combines teaching children about the planet they live in with positive, hopeful messages for humanity, coexisting and respecting each other. The number of prizes this book earned was incredible, including TIME Magazine’s Best Books of the Year, Boston Globe Best Books of the Year, and becoming a New York Times Best Seller. If there is one book on this list that we can really recommend as a must-have is this. The art is gorgeous, it’s engaging and the subtext is very relevant to our times.
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars
|Title||A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars|
What kind of nerdy kid (or adult) doesn’t find huge numbers and trivia fun? A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars is an illustrated journey into science and space told using math and big numbers to explain the vastness of the universe we live in. The book is full of facts and numbers explained in a fun, easy way that will get every kid repeating them to everyone they can every chance they get. The illustrations aren’t as good as in some of the other books on the list, but the content more than makes up for it. The kickstarter campaign backers that pledged way more than the $3,500 the authors asked for to make the book a reality all agreed that it is a great idea. Both children and adults will get something out of it.
It is available in both hardcover and paperback.
|Author||Scott Kelly, Izzy Burton|
Written by real NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, this great book tells the tale of his and his brother’s childhood that led him to dream about becoming an astronaut and eventually achieving the goal. It teaches kids about following their dreams, and having fun while following them.
The illustrations by renowned children’s book artsist Izzy Burton are amazing. The use of light and shadow is particularly great. The art is probably the best out of all the books in the preschoolers category on this list.
As its name implies, this is more of a bedtime reading. Just for the art, it is absolutely woth getting the hardcover version over the kindle one.
Best Space and Astronomy Books For 5 to 10 Years Old (Elementary Students)
Super Cool Space Facts
|Title||Super Cool Space Facts|
|Author||PhD Bruce Betts|
For that kid that spends his time learning (and repeating) cool facts about nature, this is the perfect gift.
Just as the name implies, Super Cool Space Facts is full of easy to learn, well-written and interesting facts about space and astronomy. While it is targeted at ages 4-8, I think older kids might appreciate it even more, and it might even teach a thing or two to an adult.
Unlike most of the other books, this one is not illustrated and uses real life photos instead, but at 124 pages children will get a lot of value out of it.
You Are the First Kid on Mars
|Title||You Are the First Kid on Mars|
|Publisher||G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers|
This book was published in 2009 but for some reason, I hadn’t heard about it until very recently and I’m sorry I missed the chance to show it to my nephew at the time as he is now a bit old for it. In You Are the First Kid on Mars, O’Brien compiles modern scientific theories and tells the story of how we think a trip to Mars would work taking the children as an observer and members of the crew.
The text is a bit more complex than other books for this age range, but that is by design as it will encourage kids to ask questions and continue doing research as soon as they end reading the book. The artwork is done in a photorealistic painting style. The spacecrafts look great and will keep both children and adults analyzing them for quite a while.
Margaret and the Moon, Dean Robbins
|Title||Margaret and the Moon|
|Author||Dean Robbins, Lucy Knisley|
|Publisher|| Knopf Books for Young Readers|
If you are looking for something that specifically targets young girls here’s the perfect pick. Margaret and the Moon is based on the life of Margaret Hamilton, who became famous for becoming director of software engineering at NASA at a time when math and computer programming were a boy’s game. She then wrote the computer code that took mankind to the moon by being in charge of the software for the Apollo program.
The book manages to remain accessible even while dealing with subjects like math and engineering and the art by Lucy Knisley keeps things simple but is full of life. The book is inspiring, beautiful, and charming, definitely one of our top picks on this list.
This Book Is A Planetarium
|Title||This Book Is A Planetarium|
Out of all the books on this list, this one has to take the coolness prize.
This Book Is a Planetarium does exactly what the name suggests. It turns into a planetarium when you open it!.
It is a pop-up book that turns into six different devices and instruments explaining the scientific principles that make them work. It’s an interactive, fun, experience that both kids and adults can appreciate. The design work is great and the paper is sturdy
Best Space and Astronomy Books for Middle Schoolers (Ages 10-14)
The Mysteries of the Universe
|Title||The Mysteries of the Universe|
This book is simply a piece of art. From the cover, to the gold lining on the pages, to the typography and the way the pages are filled with little illustrated details. It is worth it even for an adult to appreaciate the photos and artwork.
The Mysteries of the Universe is an introdcution to the wonders of space. It containes descriptions, definitions, and interesting facts about every major stellar object out there, from planets to black holes.
The publisher’s description recommedns it for ages 7-9 but I think older children will be able to appreciate it more and will find it more interesting as it is slightly more text-heavy.
The price for such value and amount of content is hard to beat.
Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and Beyond
|Title||Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and Beyond|
|Author||Martin Jenkins, Stephen Biesty|
From a purely technical standpoint, the illustrations in this book are my favorite. The attention to detail really helps you understand all the work that takes to build the machines that have helped us study and travel to space. For an engineering nerd, it is a thing of beauty.
In this book, Jenkins takes us on a journey in time to discover all the important people, devices, and places that have influenced mankind’s journey to space, from the ancient Greeks to the invention of the telescope to studying Mars with land rovers and even a little bit of speculation on what the future holds.
Exploring Space is very well-written and executed. The technically minded people will enjoy it more and get a lot out of it.
Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry
|Title||Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry|
|Author||Neil deGrasse Tyson, Gregory Mone|
|Publisher||Norton Young Readers|
On 2017, Neil deGrasse Tyson released his New York Times bestseller book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry where he does a great job introducing people to explanations about the nature of time, space and the universe in a very accessible manner and a compact format. This follow-up is an adaptation of that book for younger readers that includes illustrations, photos and makes changes to make the concepts even easier to grasp.
The book is barely 192 pages long, which seems short when you are trying to tackle concepts about astronomy, but manages to pack a lot of content, facts and even has time to include chapters about being inspired by the universe around us to ask questions and follow our curiosity. It doesn’t try to dumb down the subjects and instead encourages the reader to embrace the beauty, complexity, and vastness of it.
Neil deGrasse’s books are must-haves for every astronomy and space enthusiast and this is no exception.
See You in the Cosmos
|Title||See You in the Cosmos|
Kids entering the tweens age can begin to understand complex narratives and deal with deeper themes so it’s ok to start recommending novels.
See You in the Cosmos is the story of Alex Petroski, an 11-year-old kid from Colorado who loves everything about space, rockets, and science. Proof of this is the name of his dog, Carl Sagan. Alex starts a journey to the Southwest High Altitude Rocket Festival in New Mexico and records his adventures on his iPod with hopes that someday aliens will find the device and will be able to use it to understand how humans live and behave. It is here he starts to find out things about his parents that introduce him to themes such as mental health but also finds people that will help him and other secrets.
In the end, the book is very optimistic, emotional, and offers a message about embracing life. You will find yourself rooting for the character of Alex and feeling like he’s becoming more and more your friend every step of the way.