Recently the news has been abuzz with the first photos ever taken of Pluto, the former ninth planet of our solar system. If you have kids who overhear the news, or if this is something that you’ve talked about at dinner, then you may also have kids with questions and a growing interest in space. These awesome discoveries may spark new conversations in school this year too. The limitlessness of space is a lot for anyone, of any age, to wrap their mind around, but these books are a great start.
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National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space, by Catherine D. Hughes and David A. Aguilar
Fostering a love of research is such a great thing to start in early childhood. Once you are no longer worried about your kids ripping up books, or coloring on every single page, then try adding a few encyclopedias to your home collection. Allowing kids to have access to books like this will teach them that they can learn anything they want, and it may cut off a few of those “Why is the sky blue?” questions before you go crazy. There is also an expanded version, Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond, for older readers.
Me and My Place in Space, by Joan Sweeney and Annette Cable
For a more simplified introduction to space for younger readers, this book brings space down to a level little ones can grasp. Little readers can be a bit egocentric, so letting them think about space in relation to themselves is a fun and relatable away to peak their interest. It is also important to note that the main character is a girl, which helps remind readers that girls go into space too!
Pluto’s Secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery, by Margaret Weitekamp, David DeVorkin, Diane Kidd and the National Air and Space Museum
Written in part by the National Air and Space Museum, this is a fun read that capitalizes on a lot of the recent news about Pluto. It is amazing to think that until recently we had never seen photos of Pluto! Kids will enjoy sharing that excitement with you.
I Wonder Why Stars Twinkle and Other Questions about Space, by Carole Stott
Schools now are focusing heavily on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) so kids may be coming home with more and more science-related questions. Here, many questions kids ask have direct answers and illustrations. There may also be a few questions you can send your kid to school with, to keep those teachers on their toes!
Space Boy, by Leo Landry
Space Boy is a sweet, quiet bedtime read. There is a time for education and a time for imagination, and part of what makes space so magical is all the imaginative possibilities. Leave little ones with a fun, gentle, relaxing story before tucking them in.
Max Goes to the Space Station: A Science Adventure with Max the Dog, by Jeffrey Bennett and Michael Carroll
Max Goes to the Space Station and Max Goes to the Moon both provide wonderfully unique reading opportunities. If you want to show kids what life in space is really like, then read these with astronauts in the International Space Station. Yes, you read that right. If you visit the Story Time From Space website you can read along to videos of actual astronauts in the ISS. Their library currently has two videos, but promises to add more in the future, including books in other languages.
The Space Book: From the Beginning to the End of Time, 250 Milestones in the History of Space & Astronomy, by Jim Bell
For parents of very curious kids, you know, the ones who ask “Why?” a few thousands times a day, this book will help equip you with space facts and photos. Your kids will be impressed that you can pull some space knowledge out of thin air and having the book handy might save you the time of running back and forth to the computer to Google yet another moon name (Pluto has five moons, by the way).
What kinds of questions have your little space enthusiasts asked you lately?