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Space Topic (KS2)

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Recommended space books for children

The topic of space is always a big hit with primary school children, who love to learn facts about the solar system and imagine the infinite possibilities of what lies beyond our galaxy. In KS2 Science, children learn about the Earth, Sun and Moon and how their movement affects our days, nights and seasons. Many children learn about the planets, space exploration and famous astronauts too. Blast off into the topic with our list of the best books for children about space.

This list is aimed at children aged 7-11. For recommended space books for younger children, try our KS1 Space Booklist.

Chapter books about space

Christopher Edge
Chapter book
This is a wonderfully compelling sci-fi story about a boy called Jamie whose father is an astronaut. While his father is completing important work aboard the International Space Station, Jamie is left figuring out life at home and one day he stumbles across clues to alien lifeforms for himself. This story is packed with real space science in a way that is accessible to children and set in the familiar world of the modern child.
Frank Cottrell Boyce
 & Steven Lenton
Chapter book
A popular choice for upper kS2 from the award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce. This novel tells the story of Liam, an incredibly tall twelve-year-old who attempts to pass as an adult in order to accompany his friend Florida on a trip to space that she won in a competition. It has been likened to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in a space setting, and contains discussion questions and bonus material for use in class.
Ross Welford
Chapter book
A small village in the wilds of Northumberland is rocked by the disappearance of twelve-year-old Tammy. Only her twin brother, Ethan, knows she is safe – and the extraordinary truth of where she is. It is a secret he must keep, or risk never seeing her again. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to give up. Together with his friend Iggy and the mysterious (and very hairy) Hellyann, Ethan teams up with a spaceship called Philip, and Suzy the trained chicken, for a nail-biting chase to get his sister back… that will take him further than anyone has ever been before.
SF Said
 & Dave McKean
Chapter book
Lucky thinks he's an ordinary Human boy. But one night, he dreams that the stars are singing to him, and wakes to find an uncontrollable power rising inside him. Now he's on the run, racing through space, searching for answers. In a galaxy at war, where Humans and Aliens are deadly enemies, the only people who can help him are an Alien starship crew – and an Alien warrior girl, with neon needles in her hair...

Shorter chapter books about space

Mark Powers
 & Dapo Adeola
Chapter book
Dog lost in space? Grown an extra head and don't know why? Pocket money stolen by a green blob? You need the Space Detectives! Connor and Ethan are spending their summer holidays aboard the world's first orbiting city, Starville (basically Beverley Hills in space!). The amazing space station is bursting with celebrities and the mega-rich. But Connor and Ethan are too busy selling ice cream to see the sights. However, neither of our heroes can resist a mystery and when they discover the space station is hurtling on a collision course with the moon (eep!) they know they need to step in. This is a case for the SPACE DETECTIVES! Can Connor and Ethan find the culprit and save Starville from its impending doom?
Neil Gaiman
 & Chris Riddell
Chapter book
This laugh-out-loud adventure from award-winning children's author Neil Gaiman is a popular choice with lower KS2. When Dad is left in charge of the very important job of remembering to get milk, he forgets and ends up on a fantastic adventure involving space ships, aliens, time-travelling dinosaurs and saving the universe as he attempts to fetch some milk and get it home on time.
David Long
 & Stefano Tambellini
April 1970: Apollo 13 was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It should have been the third manned Apollo mission to land on the moon. But when an explosion on board damaged the spacecraft, it became a perilous and near-impossible fight for survival. The crew on board travelled further into space than any other humans before them ... In this gripping retelling of the astonishing Apollo 13 mission, David Long shows how courage, determination and teamwork succeeded in beating all odds to bring the spacecraft home. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+.
Katie & Kevin Tsang
 & Amy Nguyen

The story of gadget-loving Suzie Wen, who finds herself on a laugh-out-loud adventure exploring space and who is ultimately tasked with saving the universe.

Full of illustrations and reader-friendly, short chapters, this book would be a great addition to a lower key stage 2 classroom as part of a class library. Easy to read and set in space, it is bound to be a popular book with children.

It is lovely to see the representation of a friendship that is not formed quickly or easily, with the characters overcoming jealousy and insecurity to work together. It provides great opportunities for discussion around this topic and the challenges friendships can pose or face.

It is also great to see the inclusion of scientific enquiry approaches – something that isn’t found very often in books for this age level. The book could support discussions in the classroom about fair testing and how to complete a scientific enquiry.


Recommended picturebooks, poetry and graphic novels about space

Helaine Becker
 & Dow Phumiruk
Picturebook
Meet Katherine Johnson, the mathematical genius who helped make the historic Apollo 11 moon landings possible and made sure that Apollo 13 returned home safely when the mission was in critical danger. Counting on Katherine is a beautiful biography, sure to inspire young readers. Winner of the information book category of the UKLA Book Awards 2020. As a child, Katherine loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about maths, about the universe . . . Helaine Becker interviewed Katherine and her family for this authorized biography. From Katherine's early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, this is the true story of a groundbreaking African-American woman who went above and beyond what was expected of her in the 1960s, saving lives and making enormous contributions to history. Featuring Dow Phumiruk's gorgeous full-colour illustrations throughout.
James Carter, Brian Moses & Various Poets
Poetry
Blast off into galaxies unknown with this illustrated collection of poems about space by a variety of children's poets. With a diversity of poetic forms covering topics from planets and asteroids to black holes and shooting stars, this cosmic collection is likely to be enjoyed again and again by children in KS2 classroom.
Dom Conlon & Vivian Schwarz
Poetry
To celebrate 50 years since the first moon landing by Apollo 11 in 1969, here is an original collection of 50 poems. In his poems Dom tells us of two important things - the Moon is incredible: it controls our tides, to give us 24-hour days and it keeps our planet stable enough to have seasons. Dom reminds us that poetry too is incredible because it is the most flexible form of expressing ourselves and has been always how we used to tell stories, particularly about our ways of seeing this incredible Moon. The Moon is an inspiring rock of possibilities. Dom uses lots of poetry forms, short poems and long ones, silly ones and serious ones. There are haiku and sonnets, acrostics and shapes. He uses metaphors and kennings and slang. Dom says read the poems and fly to the moon!
Neil Armstrong
 & Grahame Baker Smith
Picturebook
First man on the Moon Neil Armstrong reveals the adventure of the first Moon landing, and how the Earth and the Moon came to be, in this unique non-fiction picture book. A young boy sits up in bed and gazes at the distant Moon through his window. He wonders if, one day, a human will stand on its surface and look back at the Earth. But Earth is already being studied from the Moon. An all-seeing Moon rock of almost impossible age, called Bok, has been looking down at our blue and green planet for millennia. Geologists - people who study rocks - have a saying: 'Rocks remember'. During his time, Bok has witnessed some truly wondrous things. Created in the Earth-shattering collision 4.5 billion years ago that led to the formation of the Moon, he has seen stars burst into being and meteors streak through the solar system. He has seen his own Moon surface be transformed with craters, and he has watched a fiery, volcanic planet transform into the haven we know today - as mountain ranges rose up, oceans appeared and dinosaurs roamed the Earth. And he found himself rudely awoken one early lunar morning by a strange creature picking him up and throwing him into a box. That is how Bok and Neil Armstrong first met, and this is their (true) story.
Torben Kuhlmann
Picturebook
A long time ago a mouse learned to fly... and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next? Torben Kuhlmann's stunning new book transports readers to the moon and beyond! On the heels of Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse comes Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon where dreams are determined only by the size of your imagination and the biggest innovators are the smallest of all. The book ends with a brief non-fiction history of human space travel from Galileo s observations concerning the nature of the universe to man's first steps on the moon.

Mike Barfield
 & Jess Bradley
Non-fiction
Take a colourful and comical tour through our galaxy and beyond with this fun new comic collection from Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley. Discover the poisonous clouds of Venus, the rings of Saturn and the raging storm on Jupiter. Venture inside nebulae, black holes, supernovas and far-flung galaxies. Find out about the historic figures who pioneered space travel, the animals who ventured to the stars so humans could follow and the ground-breaking technology that took them there. With over 90 fun-packed entries, children will laugh as they learn about the wonders of the universe. Each entry uses a colourful comic-strip style to delight and inform young readers in equal measure. We love this graphic-novel-style non-fiction series and we were over the moon to discover the new space-themed edition.
Rob Lloyd Jones
 & Laurent Kling
Graphic Novel
Join an astronaut for a day as she goes on her first ever spacewalk, and new crew members arrive. Find out how she trained for her mission and what it's like living and working in space. How do you eat and drink at zero gravity? How do space toilets work? What are space suits designed for?

Children's books about space exploration and space science

Libby Jackson
Non-fiction Short story collection
From small steps to giant leaps , A Galaxy of Her Own tells fifty stories of inspirational women who have been fundamental to the story of humans in space, from scientists to astronauts to some surprising roles in between. From Ada Lovelace in the nineteenth century, to the women behind the Apollo missions, from the astronauts breaking records on the International Space Station to those blazing the way in the race to get to Mars, A Galaxy of Her Own reveals extraordinary stories, champions unsung heroes and celebrates remarkable achievements from around the world. Written by Libby Jackson, a leading UK expert in human space flight, and illustrated with bold and beautiful artwork from the students of London College of Communication, this is a book to delight and inspire trailblazers of all ages. Packed full of both amazing female role models and mind-blowing secrets of space travel, A Galaxy of Her Own is guaranteed to make any reader reach for the stars.
Clive Gifford
 & Dan Schlitzkus
Non-fiction
What is the space station and how did it get into space? How do astronauts get there and what do they do once they're there? How do astronauts eat, sleep, or even breathe, in space? What effect does living in space have on the human body, from making you taller to losing your muscles because of zero gravity. If everything floats, then how can you go to the toilet and where does your wee and poo go? Uncover all of the answers and more in this beautifully illustrated and fun book for children. Find out what it takes to become an astronaut and about the essential science experiments that are being carried out there. Written to inspire a new generation of astronauts, Clive's detailed and fact-filled text will make you think you've visited the space station yourself. Fully illustrated by self-confessed space geek illustrator, Dan Schlitzkus, the illustrations are technically accurate and provide true representations of the mechanics, modules and equipment on board the ISS.
Margot Shetterly
 & Laura Freeman
Picturebook
Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award-nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrator Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers! Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math...really good. They participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world. In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as "colored computers," and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career.
Jacob Kramer & Stephanie Scholz
Non-fiction

Looking Up from Flying Eye Books is a highly visual non-fiction book exploring the history and science of telescopes. Unique among the myriad of non-fiction titles covering the topic of space, this book has a real STEM focus as it explores the ins and outs of how telescopes have enabled people to learn to magnify objects from a great distance and given insights into human understanding of the universe.

Spanning back through history, Looking Up zooms in on significant people who have contributed to the evolution of telescopes as we know them. Galileo developed ‘a tube with lenses’ that enabled viewers to see the craters of our Moon and the moons of other planets. From there, a series of thinkers and innovators have taken up the baton to develop the technology in incredible ways. International collaboration in scientific discovery is emphasised in the book, as an array of prominent telescopes around the world are celebrated – including the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the VISTA telescope in Chile, and the James Webb Space Telescope (a collaboration developed by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency).

With a vivid and bold design style, this book is perfect for curious minds, science-lovers and those with an emerging interest in all things STEM.

Libby Jackson
 & Leonard Dupond
Non-fiction Short story collection
A collection of amazing real-life stories about space exploration and adventure. Do you know the true story of ... *The first astronauts to land on the moon and were nearly stranded there for ever, if it hadn't been for a felt tip pen that saved them? *The 'human computers' that launched NASA's first rockets into space? *The astronaut that trained to go to space by living in underground caves and completing underwater missions? Humans have always been fascinated by the universe, but only a few have been daring enough to travel beyond the Earth. From venturing into space for the first time to building the International Space Station in orbit, the history of space exploration is filled with peril, bravery and strokes of genius. In this beautifully illustrated anthology, spaceflight expert, Libby Jackson, reveals the very best true stories of humankind's thrilling journey to the stars. Grab your space suit and jump aboard - it's time for an astronomical adventure!

Children's books about stars, planets and the solar system

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock & Chelen Ecija
Non-fiction
This mind-blowing book invites readers to join BBC presenter and renowned space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock (MBE) on an epic journey through the Solar System - visiting planets, moons, asteroids and satellites, and travelling to places where no human has been before. Along the way, kids can discover how we could live on Mars, learn about the hunt for a mysterious super-Earth, have a snowball fight on Mercury, climb the tallest mountain in the Solar System and much, much more. From spotting solar flares on the Sun to exploring objects at the edge of the icy Oort Cloud, this fun, action-packed title leaves no question unanswered and no meteorite unturned.
Dominic Walliman
 & Ben Newman
Non-fiction
Professor Astro Cat is much loved in schools for non-fiction guides relating to space, atoms, human bodies and deep-sea voyages. Frontiers of Space was first published in 2013 as the starting book in the series and is now back with a new edition featuring eight new spreads and updated details about how rockets work, recent missions to Mars, space junk, black holes, and many more new insights into the ever-developing science of space and the outer reaches of the universe. There's something new to learn about on every page. Fictional guide Professor Astro Cat walks his readers through some of the key questions that children might have about the universe, and many more that they've probably never even thought about before. Where does our sun go at night? What are stars made of? If the Earth was a cherry tomato, what size would the other planets be (hint: Mars would be a pea and Jupiter a watermelon). This is a beautifully designed non-fiction book with illustrations by an artist whose use of bold shapes and retro colours draws readers right in to enjoy soaking up the information. Each page has plenty of varied and interesting information to read and - coupled with the quality, durable feel of the book - the purchase of this text is a good investment as readers are likely to get a lot out of each sitting and still be left with plenty to come back and discover. If you have yet to fall in love with the Astro Cat series, this is a great place to start.
Lara Albanese
 & Tommaso Vidus Rosin
Non-fiction

Space Maps is a super-sized visual treat. It will appeal to those already interested in the topic of space and will attract those who are new to the subject. The reader is invited to take a tour of all things space in the company of a diverse crew of space guides. During our space tour, a wealth of facts are covered -each double page focuses on a different aspect and so information is given in speedy, bite-sized fact boxes making this an ideal book for dipping into.

There is a good balance of facts and exciting nuggets from history, science and folklore. The legends behind the science add charm and warmth. Large and detailed illustrations guide the reader through their journey, each page devoted to a thorough, labelled map or diagram. For readers who struggle to visualise the images behind the arrangements of the constellations, this book certainly helps! I was able to ‘see’ Orion in the night sky having studied the beautiful constellation map.

This full-sized feast for the eyes would happily sit amongst a collection of Space books and interesting non-fiction books for readers who love to dive into the detail of a topic.

Dr. Sanlyn Buxner, Dr. Pamela Gay & Dr. Georgiana Kramer
Non-fiction
This incredible guide to the Moon takes 7 to 9 year olds through its past, present, and future through stunning illustrations, photographs, and fascinating information. The perfect introduction to the Earth's closest neighbour for young readers, The Book of the Moon covers the entire subject in thrilling detail. It explains the Moon's geography, its phases, NASA's Apollo missions, the Moon's effect on Earth, recent scientific discoveries, and much more. Packed with eye-popping facts, this is the perfect book for space lovers. Beautiful illustrations by artist Dawn Cooper combine with up-to-date images from space agencies to help demystify and explain the wonder of the Moon to young readers.
Raman Prinja
 & Chris Wormell
Non-fiction
Welcome to Planetarium. This museum is open all hours. It will take you on an incredible journey through the Solar System and beyond, towards the most distant objects in space. So how big is the Universe? How did it start and when will it end? What exactly is a black hole? And are we really alone in the Universe? With specially written text for younger readers, step inside to explore the marvellous wonders of the Universe.

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