The most recommended books about Apollo 11

Who picked these books? Meet our 14 experts.

14 authors created a book list connected to Apollo 11, and here are their favorite Apollo 11 books.
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What type of Apollo 11 book?


Carrying the Fire

By Michael Collins,

Book cover of Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys

Patrick Chiles Author Of Frozen Orbit

From the list on space history that read like novels.

Who am I?

I’ve been obsessed with space exploration since watching the Apollo missions as a child. As an adult, I devoured every book I could find on the subject while nursing my own desire to create “what if” stories that were not too far removed from present day. A career in managing flight operations gave me some appreciation of the technical challenges and personality types, experiences which I’ve extrapolated into my fiction. Some of my novels have been described as “Airport for the 21st century” and “Apollo 13 meets The Hunt for Red October.” The books on this list were the foundation of my early research and remain favorites to this day.

Patrick's book list on space history that read like novels

Why did Patrick love this book?

Written by the command module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, this book appeals to me if only for the author’s lament that “the space program needed more English majors.” Terrific, where do I sign up?

Of the many astronaut memoirs, this is by far the most eloquently written. The late Mr. Collins’ command of the language and narrative skill provides a deeply personal glimpse into experiences few humans have had, in particular being left alone to orbit the moon while his Apollo 11 crewmates landed on its surface. Narratives of hair-raising spacewalks on the Gemini 10 mission and the comparatively mundane aspects of navigating his way through a complex government program are all equally engrossing.

By Michael Collins,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Carrying the Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reissued with a new preface by the author on the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 journey to the moon

The years that have passed since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins piloted the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon in July 1969 have done nothing to alter the fundamental wonder of the event: man reaching the moon remains one of the great events―technical and spiritual―of our lifetime.

In Carrying the Fire, Collins conveys, in a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humor of that adventure. He also traces his development from his first flight experiences in the…

Rebel Moon

By Bruce Bethke,

Book cover of Rebel Moon

Justin Oldham Author Of Showdown at the Kodiak Starport

From the list on science fiction showcasing future war scenarios.

Who am I?

As intense as the Cold War was, I have always found myself looking toward the future. Nuclear annihilation was a real possibility in my youth. Even so, I have always been curious about the next threat beyond our current crisis would be. Beyond nuclear, biological, and chemical threats, I see that we now face possible dangers from rogue AI and climate change. If that’s not enough, let’s remember that conventional weapons are getting more powerful with the passing of each decade. That’s why the storyteller in me loves this stuff so much.

Justin's book list on science fiction showcasing future war scenarios

Why did Justin love this book?

I am old enough to remember the first lunar landing. I watched it as it happened, on a black-and-white TV screen. I was intrigued by the notion that we, here on Earth, would someday be in conflict with people who were born and raised on the Moon. It’s almost inevitable that you will eventually argue with your neighbors. This novel marks the first occasion that I can recall reading about how such a conflict might start. Even if I do live long enough to see humans walk on the moon again, I will still be thinking about this book.

By Bruce Bethke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rebel Moon [Mass Market Paperback] [Jan 01, 2004] Bethke, Bruce


By Christopher Wanjek,

Book cover of Spacefarers: How Humans Will Settle the Moon, Mars, and Beyond

Stephen P. Maran Author Of Astronomy for Dummies

From the list on space from someone with 35 years at NASA.

Who am I?

I’ve studied space for 60+ years, including spotting Sputnik from atop 30 Rock for Operation Moonwatch; monitoring an exploding star for a PhD at University of Michigan, leading the Remotely Controlled Telescope project at Kitt Peak National Observatory, hunting pulsars from Arizona and Chile, and helping develop scientific instruments for the Hubble Space Telescope. I worked for 5 years at Kitt Peak and 35 years for NASA. As Press Officer (now retired) of the American Astronomical Society, I organized press conferences on many notable cosmic discoveries. Minor Planet 9768 was named Stephenmaran for me, but I haven’t seen it yet. What I have spotted are five exceptional books on space.  Enjoy!

Stephen's book list on space from someone with 35 years at NASA

Why did Stephen love this book?

I don’t know who will reach Mars first, Elon Musk, NASA astronauts, or Chinese Taikonauts. Whoever does must deal with serious problems of long-duration space flight, including lethal radiation and life support, plus issues of living, breathing, and raising food on Mars or other objects, such as Callisto, Jupiter’s second-largest moon. No natural object in the solar system other than Earth is inhabitable. Chris Wanjek, a science writer with NASA experience and solid knowledge of medical matters and nutrition, writes with humor; he was a contributing joke writer to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Wanjek advocates terraforming Mars to support human colonists. That means engineering changes in the planet to enable people to live there without resources from Earth. If you’re thinking of relocating from Earth, read Spacefarers first.

By Christopher Wanjek,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Telegraph Best Book of the Year

A wry and compelling take on the who, how, and why of near-future colonies in space. From bone-whittling microgravity to eye-popping profits, the risks and rewards of space settlement have never been so close at hand.

More than fifty years after the Apollo 11 moon landing, why is there so little human presence in space? Will we ever reach Mars? What will it take to become a multiplanet species, colonizing the solar system and traveling to other stars?

Spacefarers meets these questions head on. While many books have speculated on the possibility of…

Enterprise Stardust

By Karl-Herbert Scheer, Walter Ernsting,

Book cover of Enterprise Stardust

Oliver Strong Author Of The School of Hard Knocks

From the list on first contact science fiction.

Who am I?

I like this topic/theme because I’ve always enjoyed alien contact (in the future) in all forms of entertainment, also it is what I first took to when I began writing and I find this subject comes to me most readily. I guess it’s always on my mind since I’ve written every day for the past 13 years, mostly sci-fi novels/novellas of a similar theme, all these books influence my writing, even the comedy.

Oliver's book list on first contact science fiction

Why did Oliver love this book?

So some of you are sitting there thinking “Perry who?” well imagine him as the West German (it was first published in 1961) alternative to our Flash Gordon.

In book number one, Rhodan and his crew take off and make the first moon landing, their mission is disrupted by a crashed spacecraft. This is where they meet the Arkons, a sort of tall, large-headed alien with silver eyes, or hair, or both… it’s been a long time so don’t hold me to any of the details!

So these aliens from a super-intelligent species (Rhodan later in the series uses a device similar to the one in Battlefield Earth to increase his intelligence and psionic powers above even that of the Arkons) assist Rohdan in ending the cold war on Earth and uniting the planet.

The series runs for 126 books, mostly novellas, it’s typical Flash Gordon when it’s action time,…

By Karl-Herbert Scheer, Walter Ernsting,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The fate of Earth depended on one man deep in space.

The Full Cicada Moon

By Marilyn Hilton,

Book cover of The Full Cicada Moon

Ann E. Burg Author Of Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown

From the list on historical verse for middle schoolers.

Who am I?

Technology advances, scenery changes, but the human heart remains the same. As a writer, I hope to honor lives unnoticed or forgotten and have found that writing in verse affords me the truest, most uncorrupted pathway into the human heart. Each of the verse novels I’ve written or recommended here is spun from the strongest threads of time, place, and character. My hope is that the spare words within each book will build bridges across time and culture, and that those of us willing to open our hearts and cross these bridges will help create a more tolerant and peaceful world. 

Ann's book list on historical verse for middle schoolers

Why did Ann love this book?

This book is set in 1969, before the onslaught of cell phones and social media, when all eyes gazed upward toward the moon. Apollo 11 was preparing for its launch to the heavens, and the main character, Mimi Oliver dreams of becoming an astronaut. But first, as the daughter of a Japanese mother and Black father, Mimi needs to discover her own identity here on earth. The Full Cicada Moon illustrates my core belief that books build bridges between time and culture— just as Mimi does. 

By Marilyn Hilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Full Cicada Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inside Out and Back Again meets One Crazy Summer and Brown Girl Dreaming in this novel-in-verse about fitting in and standing up for what’s right

It's 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi's appearance is all anyone notices. She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining Shop Class instead of Home Ec. And even though teachers…

The Darkest Dark

By Chris Hadfield, The Fan Brothers (illustrator),

Book cover of The Darkest Dark

Timothy Knapman Author Of The Book of Blast Off!: 15 Real-Life Space Missions

From the list on making space exploration a blast for kids.

Who am I?

As a kid I loved space, and devoured science fiction (Doctor Who was my favorite). Now I’m a grown-up, I write books for kids - 70 so far and counting. (My latest picture book is called Sometimes I Am Furious, illustrated by Joe Berger.) The Book of Blast Off! is my second book about space (the first one was just called Space – not the most imaginative title, it’s true). I love writing non-fiction for kids because, unlike grown-ups, you can’t blind them with science. You have to know what you’re talking about so you can explain things clearly. They’re the best audience and you want to be worthy of them.

Timothy's book list on making space exploration a blast for kids

Why did Timothy love this book?

Chris is another astronaut – and another great communicator.

In this book, he connects with younger readers by going back to his own childhood, in which he loved pretending to be a space hero fighting aliens (trust me, I can relate). But he was also afraid of the dark… until he watched the Apollo 11 moon landing on TV.

I’m a bit younger than him, but I also remember seeing that swooshy black and white footage being beamed back from the moon. Beyond the astronauts and the dusty moon surface was the darkest dark – the dark of space – and that’s when Chris learned that it can be fascinating: a place of mystery that is an amazing adventure to explore.

By Chris Hadfield, The Fan Brothers (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This updated picture book of The Darkest Dark by astronaut Chris Hadfield, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

"While I was growing up, the Moon helped light the path to my dreams. But it was on a hot July night that my dreamy thoughts became real. The brave astronauts of Apollo 11 travelled to that distant place and stepped out onto its surface, their boots blazing a new trail in the ancient grey dust. Those footprints showed me that impossible things can happen." Chris Hadfield.

Young Chris is a very important astronaut. When Dad says it's time…

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

Diana Mayo Author Of Molly on the Moon

From the list on 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!

Diana's book list on for children who love space and science fiction

Why did Diana 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!

Moon's First Friends

By Susanna Leonard Hill, Elisa Paganelli (illustrator),

Book cover of Moon's First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship

Katie Munday Williams Author Of Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America's First Published Poet

From the list on astronomy stories for children.

Who am I?

I am a nurse, mother, and writer, and as such, consider myself a life-learner. When my children come to me with questions, I love being able to grab a beautiful picture book to begin exploring whatever topic is on their minds. I can’t answer all their questions perfectly, but I enjoy searching for the answers with them and hope to impart that love of learning as they grow. Astronomy has always fascinated me, and the books I’ve picked do a fantastic job of discussing everything from gravity to aliens to the first African-American female in space. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have!

Katie's book list on astronomy stories for children

Why did Katie love this book?

I absolutely adore this book for a few key reasons. I fell in love with the premise of a lonely Moon on the lookout for new friends--who hasn’t felt that way before? The author does an incredible job of weaving in facts about the first modes of transportation while keeping the book fun and relatable to children. The illustrations are beautiful and by the end of the book you’ll definitely be rooting for Moon to get her first visitors.

By Susanna Leonard Hill, Elisa Paganelli (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moon's First Friends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller!
A heartwarming story of a friendship-seeking moon that also celebrates the extraordinary 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing!
From high up in the sky, the Moon has spent her whole life watching Earth and hoping for someone to visit. Dinosaurs roam, pyramids are built, and boats are made, but still no one comes. Will friends ever come visit her?
One day a spaceship soars from Earth...and so does her heart.
Includes bonus educational pages about the moon mission!

Team Moon

By Catherine Thimmesh,

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

Kristy Dempsey Author Of Papa Put a Man on the Moon

From the list on for kids who love space.

Who am I?

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. 

Kristy's book list on for kids who love space

Why did Kristy 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?

1 author 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…

Moon Lander

By Thomas J. Kelly,

Book cover of Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module

Don Eyles Author Of Sunburst and Luminary: An Apollo Memoir

From the list on by Apollo insiders.

Who am I?

I have read most of the books written about Apollo, especially those ostensibly written by my fellow participants. I have read these books for pleasure, to find out about parts of the moon effort that I did not see first-hand, and to learn what I could from the authors’ mistakes and successes — with a view to the writing of my own book. The books I have come to value the most are the books that seem to have been created for some other reason than commercial gain, the books unmarred by ghostwriting or heavy-handed editing, the books where the author’s authentic voice speaks from the page.

Don's book list on by Apollo insiders

Why did Don love this book?

I visited Grumman in Bethpage, New York after Apollo 14 and had the rare privilege of entering the cavernous cleanroom where the final moon landers were being assembled. Grumman loved me because my software fix had kept their defective switch from ruining the mission. I believe Tom Kelly was at the table in the executive dining room that day. His book is a gritty account of how, finally, after many failures, many frustrations, NASA pressure, managerial chest-thumping, test and retest, the lunar modules were finally delivered. Even the book’s flaws are interesting, such as how he spins certain inflight events, of which I believe my own account is more balanced.

By Thomas J. Kelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chief engineer Thomas J. Kelly gives a firsthand account of designing, building, testing, and flying the Apollo lunar module. It was, he writes, “an aerospace engineer’s dream job of the century.” Kelly’s account begins with the imaginative process of sketching solutions to a host of technical challenges with an emphasis on safety, reliability, and maintainability. He catalogs numerous test failures, including propulsion-system leaks, ascent-engine instability, stress corrosion of the aluminum alloy parts, and battery problems, as well as their fixes under the ever-present constraints of budget and schedule. He also recaptures the exhilaration of hearing Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong report…