A few weeks back we dove to the depths of the ocean.
Today, we’re strapping ourselves in for some outer-space travel! Get ready for some maximum g-force awesomeness for your curious kids!
Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, written by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
published in 2018 by Peachtree
133 pages + back matter
Suzanne Slade takes us on a brilliant, free-verse journey from May 25, 1961 — the day President Kennedy delivered his challenge of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth” — until 2979 days later, July 20, 1969, the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon’s ghostly surface.
Jam-packed with courageous stories of astronauts and their families, brilliant achievements of engineers and technicians, tragedies of the space program as well as triumphs, small, personal details and unparalleled, astonishing views, Slade’s account masterfully covers an enormous amount of ground with a thrifty word count.
Meanwhile, every page is dominated by Gonzalez’s dynamic, commanding, and astonishingly accurate artwork, interspersed with full-page NASA photographs. It’s a hefty, oversized volume with additional fact-pages. Brilliant read for ages 10 through adult.
Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover, written and illustrated by Markus Motum
published in 2018 by Candlewick Press
Can a Mars Rover be charming? Affable? Charismatic?
Well, Markus Motum has made this little fella to be all of that as he narrates his journey from the first twinkling of a scientist’s idea, through the design and build processes, along his 253 day hurtle through space, and out and about on his Mars rovings.
Curiosity has an uncommonly amiable voice, yet he manages to fill us in on a mighty payload of cool space facts and technical information. I learned an enormous amount including the name of the sixth grader who won the naming contest!
Stylish, contemporary illustration work dominates every page. The text is succinct, with lots of additional facts effectively scattered about the pages. A gem for curious folks ages 10 and up.
Tiny Little Rocket, written and illustrated by Richard Collingridge
published in 2018 by Scholastic
Time for something fanciful!
Blast off in a tiny little rocket with solid silver fins and a golden door. You could be the pilot, even if you’re just a small fry! You could pull that purple lever that propels you past the sun at audacious speeds, swerve around freakishly huge meteors, and help Planet Earth celebrate… something!… with rockstar flamboyance! What could it be?!
Out of this world fun, extremely cool illustration work, plus a bit of solar system pizzazz that’ll entice kids to want to learn more. Ages 4 and up.
They Came, written and illustrated by Mark Tatulli
published in 2018 by Roaring Brook Press
More craziness ahead!
This time, the tables are turned and from “across the far reaches of inky space, past the glow of planets and sparkly stars” an unnerving, mysterious “They” are coming!
They land plump in Stephen Sprout’s neighborhood with several loud Clumps and a spectacular Psssshhhh!
It does not take long for Alarm To Spread and before you can say buttered noodles They are surrounded by Uniformed Guys in Charge who stand ready to attack. But why did They come? What do They want? Leave it to Stephen to find out in one of the most delicious twists ever! Pandemonious fun, with plenty of food for thought as well. Ages 4 and up.
The Dreamer, written and illustrated by Il Sung Na
published in 2018 by Chronicle Books
One more flight of fancy before returning to reality, this one stars an endearing, can-do pig with overflowing optimism and perseverance!
He’s a bird-loving pig, a true ornithologist, who gazes at their graceful flight and yearns to join them. His early attempts at flight are strewn with bruising, catastrophic failures, but this pig keeps trying, keeps going back to the drawing board, listens well to his feathered advisors, and da-da-daaaa! he flies!! All the way to the moon!
Such a happy triumph! A sherbet-colored fountain of encouragement for all who dream, ages 4 and up.
A Trip into Space, written by Lori Haskins Houran, illustrated by Francisca Marquez
published in 2018 by Albert Whitman and Company
What if your office was located in outer space? For the team at the International Space Station, that’s the very cool reality.
Find out what it’s like to eat, work, drink, sleep, in the ISS. The text is super short and sweet, the illustrations clear and simplified, making this book accessible to kids as young as 2 or 3. Added info in the end pages will intrigue slightly older siblings, ages 5 and up.
Find lots more adventures in space and flights of fancy for all ages — both true and fictional — here.