The best children’s books for kids who love space

Why am I passionate about this?

I love reading about space and the dedication and commitment astronauts must have to eventually be placed on a mission. Their courage seems superheroic and legendary. But I also know that it takes ordinary individuals to make space missions happen. My mother grew up in a textile community and many of my maternal relatives worked in a textile mill that produced a fabric used in the Apollo spacesuits. These workers could never have dreamed of working for NASA or becoming astronauts, but their work was integral to the process of putting men on the moon. Any great achievement requires a legion of hardworking hands to see it through to completion. 


I wrote...

Papa Put a Man on the Moon

By Kristy Dempsey, Sarah Green (illustrator),

Book cover of Papa Put a Man on the Moon

What is my book about?

Papa Put a Man on the Moon is a story that grew out of my own family history. My mother grew up in a small textile community that played a key role in the Apollo Space Program. The book highlights the role ordinary workers played in putting a man on the moon. Marthanne narrates the story of her father’s work in accomplishing this mission: The fabric he weaves at the textile mill forms one layer in the astronauts' spacesuits. Marthanne knows his work is part of history, and she can hardly wait for the Apollo astronauts to blast off. When Neil Armstrong finally takes his first steps on the moon, Marthanne watches in wonder. She knows her papa played an important role in putting a man on the moon.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

Kristy Dempsey Why did I love this book?

As a former teacher and librarian, I adored sharing this extensive book with my students about the national effort to put land men on the moon. From flight directors to factory workers, this non-fiction account with spectacular photos reads like a documentary about the Apollo 11 mission and shares captivating stories about the people who worked behind the scenes. 

By Catherine Thimmesh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For Apollo 11, the first moon landing, is a story that belongs to many, not just the few and famous. It belongs to the seamstress who put together twenty-two layers of fabric for each space suit. To the engineers who created a special heat shield to protect the capsule during its fiery reentry. It belongs to the flight directors, camera designers, software experts, suit testers, telescope crew, aerospace technicians, photo developers, engineers, and navigators. Gathering direct quotes from some of these folks who worked behind the scenes, Catherine Thimmesh reveals their very human worries and concerns. Culling NASA transcripts, national…


Book cover of Moon!

Kristy Dempsey Why did I love this book?

For a laugh-out-loud romp through our corner of the universe, check out this hilarious narrative about Moon’s close friendship with Earth. These two friends will stick close together forever! Full of fun facts and even funnier puns, this autobiography of Earth’s best rock is sure to teach you something new and make you laugh along the way. I especially enjoy non-fiction delivered with a dose of humor, so this is one of my favorite space-related read-alouds.

By Stacy McAnulty, Stevie Lewis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moon! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

From writer Stacy McAnulty and illustrator Stevie Lewis, Moon! Earth's Best Friend is a light-hearted nonfiction picture book about the formation and history of the moon―told from the perspective of the moon itself.

Meet Moon! She's more than just a rock―she’s Earth’s rock, her best friend she can always count on. Moon never turns her back on her friend (literally: she's always facing Earth with the same side!). These two will stick together forever. With characteristic humor and charm, Stacy McAnulty channels the voice of Moon in this next celestial "autobiography" in the Our Universe series. Rich with kid-friendly facts…


Book cover of A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon

Kristy Dempsey Why did I love this book?

Books about unknown or unsung heroes draw me in like no other, so I especially enjoyed this picture book about black mathematician Katherine Johnson, who calculated the trajectory of the early space flights of the 1960s. Johnson not only broke civil rights barriers, but also broke through gender expectations to work and excel in a job traditionally held by men.  Her determination and excellence will inspire young readers to consider equality, justice, and the discipline required for achievement, especially in math.

By Suzanne Slade, Veronica Miller Jamison (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Computer Called Katherine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

The inspiring story of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson (the subject of the hit movie Hidden Figures).

Katherine Johnson grew up during a time when women were not encouraged to excel in the fields of math and science, and when African-Americans were heavily discriminated against. But she was so good at math that she zoomed ahead of her elementary school classmates, attended a high school far away from home, and started college at age fourteen, taking difficult geometry classes taught just for her. She went on to become one of NASA's "computers who wore skirts," women who did calculations that helped…


Book cover of A Kite for Moon

Kristy Dempsey Why did I love this book?

I expected to have a bit of a hard time suspending my disbelief in this sweet exploration of a boy’s friendship with the moon. But happily, it wasn’t difficult to identify with the boy’s dream of becoming an astronaut and his commitment to fulfilling their friendship with an in-person visit. For the child who looks up at the moon and dreams of being an astronaut, or the child who must face a struggle to reach a different kind of finish line, this book will be a poetic handbook for the journey.

By Jane Yolen (, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Matt Phelan (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Kite for Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Dedicated to astronaut Neil Armstrong, A Kite for Moon is the perfect children's book to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first United States moon landing. Written by New York Times bestselling author of How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi Stemple, this book is a heartfelt story about a young boy's fascination and unlikely friendship with the moon.

What would it be like if the moon was your friend? Find out as you walk alongside a little boy who journeys through life to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut. And then blast off…


Book cover of You Are the First Kid on Mars

Kristy Dempsey Why did I love this book?

This book was first published in 2009, so you might think it would feel a bit out of date, but it still feels relevant, especially for kids who might be dreaming of space travel and a trip to the Red Planet. The digital images give a photorealistic feel for what it might actually look and feel like to stand on Mars, even as the more technical aspects of the journey are detailed. Given that travel to Mars seems to be a future possibility, this book gives children the chance to experience the journey now with every read.

By Patrick O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Are the First Kid on Mars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

As we look back to the beginnings of the space race, 2009 is also the year for looking forward to humankind?s next step toward the stars.

In the spirit of books that once imagined colonies on the moon, Patrick O?Brien has created a unique look at your first trip to Mars. Using the most upto- date designs and theories of what it will take to establish a base on Mars, you are off on an incredible journey, over 35 million miles to the red planet. Filled with details, and vividly brought to life, this is an adventure that you are…


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The City Sings Green & Other Poems About Welcoming Wildlife

By Erica Silverman, Ginnie Hsu (illustrator),

Book cover of The City Sings Green & Other Poems About Welcoming Wildlife

Erica Silverman Author Of Wake Up, City!

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning author of picture books and early readers. I have set my stories in many kinds of locations, including a haunted house, an Eastern European shtetl, an English Renaissance village, and a working cattle ranch. For Wake Up, City, I turned to the setting I know best, the city. I drew on memories of walking to kindergarten in early morning Brooklyn. This book is my love song to cities everywhere. As a lifelong city dweller, I worry about the impact of urban spread on the planet, but I feel hopeful, too, because many cities are becoming more nature and wildlife-friendly. The books I'm excited to share celebrate city wildlife. 

Erica's book list on celebrating cities

What is my book about?

A unique and artful blend of poetry, science, and activism, this picture book shows how city dwellers can intervene so that nature can work her magic.

In Oslo, Norway: citizens create a honeybee highway that stretches from one side of the city to the other, offering flowerpots, resting spots, bee boxes, and beehives—even water fountains—every eight hundred feet.

In the Bronx, New York: a community rallies to clean their river and cheers at the return of the long-lost beaver population.

In Busselton, Australia: people make a rope bridge that swings high above speeding cars, creating a safe path for tree-hopping possums and squirrels alike.

Through a mix of lyrical poems, real-life success stories, and bouquet-bright artwork, The City Sings Green explores the environmental impact of humans and showcases the many ways that we can rewild cities across the globe. Together, we can welcome nature back!

The City Sings Green & Other Poems About Welcoming Wildlife

By Erica Silverman, Ginnie Hsu (illustrator),

What is this book about?

A unique and artful blend of poetry, science, and activism, this picture book shows how city dwellers can intervene so that nature can work her magic. Perfect for fans of The Curious Garden and Harlem Grown.

In Oslo, Norway: citizens create a honey-bee highway that stretches from one side of the city to the other, offering flowerpots, resting spots, bee boxes and beehives-even water fountains-every 800 feet.

In the Bronx, New York: a community rallies to clean their river and cheers at the return of the long-lost beaver population.

In Busselton, Australia: people make a rope bridge that swings high…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the moon, geology, and NASA?

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