Forty-four years ago–well, on July 20th, 1969–we landed on the moon. Well, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. We’re all for living vicariously , though. Most of us are perfectly content with two feet planted firmly on the ground, but for others, what lies beyond in the farthest recesses of our solar system is just too intriguing to ignore. And, for the most part, your kids fall under the latter category. That’s why we’ve decided to celebrate the anniversary of our first visit to moon with a list of some of our favorite space- and astronaut-related books. They’re perfect for the youngsters who dream of one day blasting off into space and provide a glimpse into what already know — and what may be to come.
We already talked a little bit about living vicariously through others, and now your little one has the chance to join us. In Astronaut Handbook, McCarthy cleverly discusses the process of becoming an astronaut: The reader watches as four new recruits go about the training tasks, like riding the “Vomit Comet,” which is the plane ride that allows them to experience weightlessness. The illustrations are colorful and simple; the text is easy to read. And, although it’s recommended for a younger audience, this fun and light read will probably appeal to a wider age range. [Rated for ages 3 to 7]
We want to get something off our chest: This is an award-winning book. Phew — we couldn’t keep it in any longer. If You Decide to Go to the Moon is, simply put, the kid-version of a “how-to” guide on shooting off into space. What is your young astronaut going to need to pack? What can he do when he’s in space? McNulty answers these questions and more, guiding your kids through the process of space travel — and the process of coming home again. Young readers follow the main character, discovering facts about outer space and developing an even deeper interest in its mystery. [Rated for ages 4 to 8.]
This pick marks a shift from guide-style writing to fantasy: After answering a newspaper ad, two young boys find themselves not only building a spaceship, but also piloting it to a small, out-of-the-way planet that no else can even find. But, hey, the book was originally published in the 1950s, so space exploration was far less developed than it is now. Anyway, this is the first book in the Mushroom Planet series, so don’t be surprised if your kid asks to read the rest — they’re that good. [Rated for ages 8 and up.]
The first thing to keep in mind with The Astronaut Training Book for Kids is that it’s rather dated. Just look at that cover. But there’s also no denying that this book is as informative as it gets. What does being an astronaut entail? Just exactly what does it take to become one? Your kid will find answers to all of their astronaut-related questions here. Keep in mind that it’s slightly it’s more serious — and more mature, for that matter — than the other books: It has a history of space travel and suggestions for preparations for a career as an astronaut, including the schoolwork and the physical fitness required for joining national space and computer clubs. [Rated for ages 10 and up.]