The best picture books on space exploration

The Books I Picked & Why

Pluto Gets the Call

By Adam Rex, Laurie Keller

Book cover of Pluto Gets the Call

Why this book?

Poor Pluto! Earthlings are wretched, despicable creatures. How dare they ask Pluto if they can call him Plutoid!

In this hilarious, fact-filled book, Pluto gets the call from us dreadful, “Earth’s meanest jerks” – humans, giving him the ‘news.’ All of us on Earth heard the news, but Pluto was informed of his downgrade a wee bit later. Follow newly-demoted Pluto and the rest of the planets on a fun journey of acceptance. The author has done a fabulous job of interleaving (mostly) facts and fiction. The story is told with speech bubbles, many of which will leave you chuckling. There are also some great puns. Don’t miss this one!

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Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil Degrasse Tyson

By Kathleen Krull, Paul Brewer, Frank Morrison

Book cover of Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil Degrasse Tyson

Why this book?

Did you know Neil deGrasse Tyson was one of the scientists who decided Pluto would not be called a planet anymore? (I bet he was the human who gave Pluto the call in the book above!)

Starstruck is an inspirational non-fiction picture book portraying Neil deGrasse Tyson from his early years as a nine-year-old boy from the Bronx, fascinated with the jeweled sky he observed at Hayden Planetarium in NY, to the famous astrophysicist he now is. Neil didn’t let anything (or anyone) come in the way of his dreams to learn about the cosmos. He even won the hearts of cops who thought he was up to mischief, by giving them a view from the expensive telescope he bought from walking dogs. At 14, he travelled to northwest Africa to view a total solar eclipse with 2000 other scientists. At 15, he went to the Mojave Desert for astronomy camp and hung out with tarantulas and coyotes! In high school, he used his knowledge of physics to win wrestling matches. He graduated from Harvard and went to work for Hayden Planetarium, where his story all began! He truly is unstoppable.

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Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover

By Markus Motum

Book cover of Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover

Why this book?

Robots! They are taking over the world, and eventually Mars. This non-fiction book tells the ‘story’ from the first-person point-of-view of the rover named Curiosity, and how and why Curiosity was born. The book describes Curiosity’s journey from JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab) in California to Florida and then to Mars! You’ll learn all sorts of cool stuff about this car-sized rover that has an in-built lab, including its launch from earth, the “Seven Minutes of Terror” while landing on Mars, and all the fun Curiosity had exploring Mars. Lucky rover – you’ll wish you were one!

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Garcia & Colette Go Exploring

By Hannah Barnaby, Andrew Joyner

Book cover of Garcia & Colette Go Exploring

Why this book?

Garcia the bunny craves to shoot up to space while Colette the fox dreams of exploring the deep seas. Garcia builds a rocket and Colette, a submarine. Off they go on their separate adventures with their peanut butter sandwiches, of course! In this cleverly worded book, the author compares the two journeys – their similarities and differences, and how the two friends miss each other’s company. Garcia and Colette finally find a way to enjoy their interests together. The illustrations complement the words perfectly. A great read for little humans.

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Planet Kindergarten

By Sue Ganz-Schmitt, Shane Prigmore

Book cover of Planet Kindergarten

Why this book?

In this brilliant book, the author draws parallels between the first day of kindergarten and a space mission – it turns out the two are not that different, after all. There are gravity issues in kindergarten as well, with kids trying hard to stay in their seats, and hands flying up. There’s the equivalent commander in the teacher, mission control in the principal, crewmates, experiments, and a flight plan! Peppered with space lingo, this charming book is double the reading pleasure, with its combined introduction to space and kindergarten. I am all set for kindergarten now. Can’t wait! Again, a great read for little humans.

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