Picture Books: Rockets & Space Exploration


It’s time for another list with some favorite kids’ books!

It’s been almost a year since I published my own space story—The Rocket that Flew to Marsand I thought it would be fun to share some of the books we read when I was reading up on rockets and space exploration. I’ve grouped them in categories, starting with…



The super cute picture books:

  • Life on Mars, by John Agee—When a young astronaut arrives on Mars—he is the first to explore the barren planet, but he’s determined to show the doubters wrong and prove that there is indeed Life on MarsOn Goodreads
  • If You Decide to Go to the Moon, by Faith McNulty, illustrated by Steven Kellogg—A fun mix of science and imagination. (Once we started reading this book, I recognized the illustrator’s style from another book we’ve read—The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash, another whimsical adventure!) On Goodreads
  • Astronaut Handbook, Meghan Mccarthy—Set back in the days of the space shuttle, and so somewhat outdated now! But, it’s still a fun read. On Goodreads
Astronaut Handbook

Books about discovering space from earth:

  • How the Meteorite Got to the Museum, by Jessie Hartland—A goofy cumulative tale, about a real meteorite that once upon a time soared through space, before entering Earth’s atmosphere and crashed into a red Chevy Malibu. On Goodreads
  • Bright Sky, Starry City, by Uma Krishnaswami—A good story about star-gazing—and the things that can get in the way of star-gazing, literally. On Goodreads

Science stories:

  • You Are the First Kid on Mars, by Patrick O'Brien—A slightly longer picture book, imagining the journey of the first humans to reach Mars. On Goodreads
  • My Journey to the Stars, by Scott Kelly—The true-story version of Astronaut Handbook, describing how astronaut Scott Kelly trained for his year-long mission on board the International Space Station. It’s a bit longer and more technical as well, with gorgeous artwork. On Goodreads
  • Discovering New Planets, by Mae Jemison—A real-life science exploration by an astronaut-turned-children’s-author. On Goodreads
  • The Mars Rover, by Patricia Hutchison—Exactly what the title says! On Goodreads
  • Mission to Mars, by Franklyn M Branley—A fairly comprehensive discussion of Mars in ancient and modern history. On Goodreads
  • How Do Space Vehicles Work, by Buffy Silverman—From launch to landing, the story of the Soyuz’s journey into space. On Goodreads

DK Eyewitness Books: Mars

 Extra science-y stories for older kids/more advanced readers:

  • Destination Mars, by Seymour Simon—Simon has a ton of non-fiction/science books for kids who are old enough to read—and all of them have incredible photos. On Goodreads
  • Mars: a DK Eyewitness Book, by Stuart Murray—If kids want to learn about something, DK Eyewitness Books is one of the best places to start: photos, science, and lots of easy-to-read factoids. On Goodreads

Need more ideas? Goodreads has a list of picture books about space travel. There are over a hundred books on the list! Obviously, I haven't read most of them, but some look like a lot of fun!

Do you have a favorite space-themed picture book to recommend?


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