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As some of you may know, I have a 5-month-old and educational children’s books have been on my mind. We all want the best for our children and are always looking for ways to introduce them to and get them excited about science.
Last year, my husband and I watched Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory’s “Great Conjunction” livestream on YouTube. We then found ourselves on a bunch of different YouTube channels about observatories – specifically the Big Island of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and Maui’s Haleakala.
With that, it got me thinking what astronomy books should I get my child? I didn’t really find any good lists, so I just bought a bunch to see what we liked best. Even though some are listed for older children, I truly believe all are good for infants and younger children, but you might not want to age down if your child is older.
Anyway, this list is the best space and astronomy children books I have found in 2021. They are perfect for new parents, existing parents, and baby showers! Btw – I chose nine books, because in my mind, Pluto is still a planet!
Hello, World! Solar System by Jill McDonald
I adore the Hello, World series and their Solar System addition does not disappoint. Every time I read this to my 5-month-old, he is always fully engaged with every turn of a page. The book is also very educational as well (I try to read both an educational and a literary book every night). Here’s the synopsis:
Every young child loves to look up at the moon in the night sky. Here’s a Hello, World! board book that can teach toddlers all about the sun, moon, stars, and planets—with colors, shapes, sizes, and super-simple facts.
Hello, World! is a series designed to introduce first nonfiction concepts to babies and toddlers. Told in clear and easy terms and featuring bright, cheerful illustrations, Hello, World! makes learning fun for young children. And each sturdy page offers helpful prompts for engaging with your child. (“Can you point to the red planet? That’s Mars!”) It’s a perfect way to bring science and nature into the busy world of a toddler, where learning never stops.
To buy this book from Amazon, click here.
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space by Catherine D. Hughes and David A. Aguilar
National Geographic’s Little Kids First Big Book of Space seems to be the perfect introduction to our solar system for our little ones ages 3+. It’s full of colorful photos and organized graphics. Each planet has four dedicated pages, which includes information such as size, temperature, and orbiting moons. Many parents recommend this book as the first one beyond a picture book. Here’s the synopsis:
Make sure kids’ first experience of the wonders of science is a thrilling eye-opener with this fun reference book. Fun activities, games, and simple experiments encourage interactive learning, showing kids that anyone can use scientific observation and experimentation to be a scientist and discover new things. With bright images and age-appropriate text, this book inspires kids to be curious, ask questions, and explore the world around them and maybe even grow up to be a scientist one day, too! Topics include astronomy, botany, paleontology, malacology (that’s the science of clams, snails, and other animals with shells!), zoology, and more.
To check it out on Amazon, click here.
There’s No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System by Tish Rabe and Aristides Ruiz
Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat? We’ve all grown up loving these stories as kids ourselves. I was pleasantly surprised when I found this one that was released in 1999 (past my Dr. Seuss years :)). Here’s the synopsis:
Learn about the solar system, planets, the constellations, and astronauts, and explore the wonders of space with the help of everyone’ favorite Cat in the Hat! Perfect for aspiring astraunauts, or any kid who loves learning and science.
The universe is a mysterious place. We are only just learning what happens in space.
Featuring beloved characters from Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat, the Learning Library are unjacketed hardcover picture books that explore a range of nonfiction topics about the world we live in and include an index, glossary, and suggestions for further reading.
To order this book from Amazon, click here.
Hello, World! Moon Landing by Jill McDonald
Hello, Word! Moon Landing is also a great pick for this list. Not only is this one good for our little ones, but it’s also a nice refresher for us, adults, too! I will say that this one isn’t as brightly colored as most of the Hello, World! series, but it’s still a good pick for this space (pun intended)! Here’s the synopsis:
Discover all about the first moon landing with the hit nonfiction board book series Hello, World!
All young children love to look up at the moon. Now here’s a board book that teaches them all about the first moon landing, with easy-to-understand details about the Apollo 11 astronauts, the NASA team, spacesuits, the rocket modules, and the world’s celebration after the successful mission.
Hello, World! is a series designed to introduce first nonfiction concepts to babies and toddlers. Told in clear and easy terms (“An astronaut’s job is to travel into space”) and featuring bright, cheerful illustrations, Hello, World! is a perfect way to bring science, nature, and culture into the busy world of a toddler, where learning never stops.
To pick up this book from Amazon, click here.
My First Book of Planets: All About the Solar System for Kids by Bruce Betts PhD
My First Book of Planets: All about the Solar System for Kids is another good book about our solar system. The pictures are engaging and the text is informative. If I had any gripe, it’s that the book only comes in paperback (I prefer the board books). Here’s the synopsis:
Get even the smallest astronomer excited for the big universe of space, from the bright and burning sun to our own blue Earth to ice-capped Pluto and every planet in between. With this book, kids will explore the entire solar system through incredible photos and fascinating facts on what makes each planet so special―like their size, distance from the sun, what the surface is like, how many moons they have, and more!
This planets for kids book includes:
- Big, beautiful images―Vibrant photos will take kids deep into space and onto each planet―no telescope required.
- Astronomy for kids―Learn all about the eight planets in our solar system, plus dwarf planets Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake.
- Fun space facts―Did you know the bubbles in soda are the same gas that’s on Venus? Out of this world facts will keep kids glued to the page and excited to explore the sky.
Show kids the amazing universe that surrounds them with this fun and engaging astronomy book.
To buy from Amazon, click here.
Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup
Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book is more of a literary picture book. I know this list is composed mainly science educational books but I had to throw this one in here. It’s so cute and the illustrations are very well presented. The colors are a bit dark, so it might not immediately catch your little one’s eyes like a brightly colored one will. Regardless, I still think it deserves to be here. Here’s the synopsis:
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 over a sleepy town hunkered down for bed.
To buy from Amazon, click here.
Roaring Rockets by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker
Roaring Rockets is a very cute read about rockets. The illustrations are bright and engaging. Whether your child just wants to look at the pages or follow along with the story, I think it’s a great pick. Here’s the synopsis:
Get ready for blast-off to learn all about rockets! Roaring Rockets follows the animal crew as they become astronauts heading to the Moon. Each page is filled with details that machine-mad kids will love: spacesuits, oxygen helmets, the lunar lander, and much more!
From airplanes to fire engines, the internationally bestselling Amazing Machines series is the perfect way for children to learn about all sorts of vehicles! Each book introduces a new vehicle and the many jobs it can do. Bright, engaging artwork and simple, rhyming text combine to make these fantastic books for young children. Kids will love getting to know the friendly, animal characters who feature throughout the series and reading about their fast-paced adventures!
To order from Amazon, click here.
8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie and Lizzy Doyle
At first I was hesitant about this one because, in my mind, Pluto is still a Planet! However, that didn’t stop me from checking it out and the next pick is why I’m glad I did. This one leans more on the younger side as my child adores the colorful pages. The story is super cute too! Here’s the synopsis:
Travel around the solar system and celebrate what makes each planet unique! From Neptune to Mercury and all the planets in between, each one is different and each one is happy to be what they are.
Old slow Neptune looks a bit behind.
Orbiting the Sun takes an awful long time.
But the 8th little planet doesn’t need to worry.
It spins on its axis in a really big hurry!
Vibrant, joyful art, playful verse, and a fun die-cut shape are sure to have astronomers of all ages celebrating their own uniqueness while they party with the planets.
To buy from Amazon, click here.
I Heart Pluto by Chris Ferrie, Helen Maynard-Casely, and Lizzy Doyle
I absolutely love this sequel to 8 Little Planets! It really outlines why Pluto is more considered to be our 9th friend in the solar system, yet also gives engaging illustrations and facts. This one rhymes a bit better than it’s predecessor and is probably my second favorite on this list (my first the the Hello, World! Solar System). Here’s the synopsis:
Pluto the planet was really quite proud. But at the party of planets, it wasn’t allowed… OH NO!
There are three rules a planet must follow, and Pluto breaks them all. It just doesn’t fit in! Pluto is sad to no longer be an official planet. But with the help of some friends, Pluto might find its place in space again!
With vibrant, joyful art, playful verse, and a fun die-cut shape, astronomers of all ages will love this celebration of our solar system’s first minor planet in this delightfully fun, fact-filled planetary tale!
To order from Amazon, click here.
And there you have it! These are my top 9 favorite children books about astronomy and space in 2021. As the year goes on, I’ll probably pick up some more to add to future lists. Anyway, I hope you are able to grab a few of these picks for your little one or for a baby shower, because reading is a wonderful way to connect with a child at any age!