The best books for children who love space and science fiction

Who am I?

I usually enjoy painting pictures for storybooks about nature I know, so it was a treat to depict an imaginary place that I’ve never actually seen! I was so inspired to illustrate Mary’s story about the moon, as I could focus on creating an other-worldly atmosphere, adding to the drama that could have happened anywhere. The story focuses on Molly and her family moving to the moon and includes scientific facts about how gravity would impact their everyday life. I used Mary’s knowledge as reference to underpin the imaginative side of my process. Painting the inside of a moon module enabled me to use textures, colours, and lighting in such a fun, expressive way!

I illustrated...

Molly on the Moon

By Mary Robinette Kowal, Diana Mayo (illustrator),

Book cover of Molly on the Moon

What is my book about?

Award-winning science fiction author Mary Robinette Kowal consulted with a NASA astronaut to craft her first picture book story, accurately describing how living on the moon differs from life on Earth. Beautifully illustrated by Diana Mayo, Molly on the Moon is the tale of two siblings adjusting to their new home. Inspiring and imaginative, Molly on the Moon also includes fascinating facts about the moon’s environment, revealing how the differences in gravity, temperature, and time would affect our lives.

Illustrator Diana Mayo’s art is an intriguing study in contrasts. She envisions the moon as a world that seems both strange and familiar, vast but confined, cozy yet intensely isolated. The deep blue colour palette of her mixed media images feels appropriately lunar and a little mysterious.” –

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Man on the Moon (a day in the life of Bob)

Why did I love this book?

This is one of my all-time favourite books I used to read to my children at bedtime.

It has all the beauty of a completely stylized, detailed, and yet seemingly believable world both on earth and on the moon, yet includes aliens! I think the marriage of story and pictures works perfectly, with the reader finding aliens on every page, seemingly unbeknown to the writer!

It makes for fantastic squeals of delight as children find aliens, more seeming to appear on each consecutive read. I think it’s a great book to let the imagination run as well as stimulating conversations about what really might be on the moon. Brilliant!

By Simon Bartram,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Man on the Moon (a day in the life of Bob) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2017 is the 15th anniversary of the creation of Bob, Man on the Moon, celebrate with this anniversary edition. Enjoy the stunning artwork Simon Bartram has become famous for. Bob is everyone's favourite man on the moon; follow him on his daily adventures. Bob has a special job - looking after the moon. He keeps it clean and entertains passing space tourists as well as giving guided tours. He knows everything about the moon and that there is definitely no such thing as aliens!

The Way Back Home

By Oliver Jeffers,

Book cover of The Way Back Home

Why did I love this book?

Oliver Jeffers has such a simple way with words (almost as if he is writing as his child self, still) but which always brings a wry, knowing adult smile to my mouth when reading aloud. I love this book too, for being able to make my children smile and feel empathy for the characters.

I love the graphic, simple yet sophisticated illustrations, helping to explain the story along the way. It’s a fantastic blend of the reality of children’s play, along with an imaginative introduction to science fiction. Fabulous!

By Oliver Jeffers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way Back Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Zoom into space on an exciting adventure in this toddler-friendly board book from the award-winning, bestselling creator of How to Catch a Star and Lost and Found.

One day a boy finds an aeroplane in his cupboard. Up, up and away he flies, past clouds and stars until suddenly, phut, phut phut, the plane runs out of petrol and the boy crash lands on the moon. Just as he is beginning to get cold and lonely, a Martian appears from the darkness - could this be the start of an unlikely friendship? And will the boy ever manage to get…


By Alexis Deacon,

Book cover of Beegu

Why did I love this book?

I love the fact that no one actually knows who or what Beegu is, though she is instantly adorable and engaging and the reader feels empathy immediately for her.

It is a very gentle, quiet story about missing home but which had a big impact on me, nevertheless, and the children I’ve read it with seem to understand her sadness.

I think Alexis Deacon’s beautiful paintings have an ethereal, timeless feeling, perfect for the story which could be set in the past, present, or future.

By Alexis Deacon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beegu as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beegu is not supposed to be on Earth. She is lost. She is a friendly little creature, but the Earth People don't seem very welcoming at all. However, so far she has only met the BIG ones. The little ones are a different matter ...

Book cover of Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond

Why did I love this book?

Of all the non-fiction books about space for older children, this was the one I chose to share with my son. It felt special enough to give him as a birthday gift.

I think it’s beautifully illustrated in a highly believable but dramatic way, as well as including some amazing photographic images. It’s broken down into short, manageable chapters, perfect for one planet or theme to either read alone or to share at bedtime.

By David A. Aguilar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Space Encyclopedia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Presenting the latest exciting findings on space exploration and research and cutting-edge, spectacular views of the universe that technology is bringing back to Earth, all in one ultimate reference book. Authored by David A. Aguilar of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the National Geographic Space Encyclopedia is ideal for the family bookshelf, providing both accessible information for school reports and compelling reading on the mysteries beyond our world.

Book cover of Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book

Why did I love this book?

As an illustrator myself, I’m always drawn to picture books of beauty that have a style I admire. Britta Teckentrup’s textured, detailed, gentle artworks perfectly compliment the author’s rhyming text, bringing magical life to facts about the lunar cycle. I love the moodiness and atmosphere captured that gives feeling to the science described, and it’s all packaged with beautiful heavy-weight paper, bringing class and a gift-like quality.

By Britta Teckentrup,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the much-loved children’s series that began with Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book comes an informative book with peek-through holes that show the moon’s different phases with each turn of the page.

Over deserts and forests, Arctic tundra and tropical beaches, the moon shines down on creatures around the world. Children will love discovering how it changes from day to day as the lunar cycle is shown through clever peek-through holes, each revealing the moon in a different size and shape.
It’s the perfect light nonfiction book for young stargazers—and an ideal bedtime book, ending with a giant moon hovering…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the moon, extraterrestrial intelligence, and cosmology?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the moon, extraterrestrial intelligence, and cosmology.

The Moon Explore 112 books about the moon
Extraterrestrial Intelligence Explore 39 books about extraterrestrial intelligence
Cosmology Explore 44 books about cosmology

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Music for Mister Moon, The Green Umbrella, and Art & Max if you like this list.