Space (KS1/EYFS)

Man on the Moon

Simon Bartram

This excellent picture book has enough depth to captivate pupils across the whole primary range and is a good choice for KS1. It follows the story of Bob, an ordinary man with the extra-ordinary job of keeping the moon clean and entertaining moon tourists. Highly recommended.

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover

Markus Motum

This striking picture book explores the story of Curiosity, the robotic space rover sent by NASA to find out about life on Mars. The story is told from the point of view of the rover herself and is packed with information and stylised illustrations. Engaging and interesting, this picture book is a big hit in the classroom and offers a new perspective into the collection of narratives for children about space exploration. 

Field Trip to the Moon

Jeanne Willis & John Hare

Field Trip to the Moon is a stunning picture book exploring what happens when one child on a school trip to the moon accidentally gets left behind after the school space ship departs. Depicted in atmospheric shades of grey, with soothing rhyming text, we see the aliens creep up to investigate the lost child who is drawing a picture of Earth. For the moon aliens, the crayon colours open up a whole new world and lead to ‘the best day of our lives’.

The Darkest Dark

Chris Hadfield & The Fan Brothers

This is the story of astronaut Chris Hadfield's memories of being a young boy and being inspired by watching the Apollo 11 moon landing on television. To follow his dreams of becoming a real astronaut, Chris had to overcome his long-standing fear of the dark that plagued his bedtimes as a young child. 



The Skies Above My Eyes

Charlotte Guillain & Yuval Zommer

Some books are made for sharing and 'The Skies Above My Eyes' is a wonderful example of one. The book folds out into a beautifully-illustrated 2.5m long double-sided journey up through the layers of the atmosphere, with small chunks of informative text along the way. Starting on ground level with a girl standing on a busy street, readers can follow her gaze upwards to pass towering skyscrapers, various aircraft and space vehicles and finally to planets and stars. On the reverse, the girl lays on the grass at the foot of a mountain, looking up towards birds, paragliders, through weather systems, meteoroids and comets. Reading the information from the bottom to the top on one side and then the opposite way round on the reverse feels like a jumping in a space craft and blasting off on a trip to the ends of the solar system and then descending back to the Earth's surface.



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The Marvellous Moon Map

Teresa Heapy & David Litchfield

What would you need to get you all the way to the moon? Mouse thinks that his moon map is everything he needs and he sets off on a big adventure to get all the way to the moon. But as he travels through the woods and things begin to get a bit dark and scary, Mouse soon realises that he may need more than just a map to find his way. 

Jasper: Space Dog

Hilary Robinson & Lewis James

For those just past the Early Readers stage, Jasper: Space Dog is a fun and easy to read first chapter book. The book is written in the form of letters from Jasper (and his human owner, Charlie) to Dr Isabella Starr, Rocket Scientist. The letters from Charlie and Jasper are silly and light; they ask questions such as ‘Is the moon made of cheese?’, ‘Do astronauts eat hotdogs?’, and ‘Did the astronauts see a man in the moon?’. Dr Starr’s replies are fun and also provide interesting facts.

A Journey Through: Space

Steve Parker & John Haslam

This is a visually appealing information book with accessible text, making it a great choice of non-fiction for young readers learning about space. 

Toys in Space

Mini Grey

This is another wonderful story from popular picture book author Mini Grey (author of Traction Man). When a child's toys are left out in the garden over night,  they get unexpectedly beamed into space. The toys use their best storytelling skills to cope with their new surroundings and problem-solve their way back home. There are some great ideas for activities to go with this book on the Teachwire website. 



Professor Astro Cat's Solar System

Ben Newman and Dominic Walliman

The newest addition to the Professor Astro Cat series but this time aimed at younger readers aged 3-7 and it takes young explorers on a journey through our solar system. I love the bold contemporary illustrations and the way that scientific ideas are introduced in a very child-friendly way. The perfect gift for budding astronauts. (Recommended by: Jo Cummins (@BookSuperhero2), English Manager and Year 3 Teacher).

Also featured on: favourite non-fiction books

Laika: Astronaut Dog

Owen Davey

This strikingly illustrated picture book tells the story of Laika, a Russian stray dog who was one of the first animals to be launched into space. Author Owen Davey whimsically reimagines what might have happened to Laika after her rocket disappeared in orbit. This book also offers a gateway into interesting discussions about the role of animals in the Space Race. 



You Can't Eat a Princess!

Gillian Rogerson & Sarah McIntyre

This is a humorous story featuring a brave and feisty princess character, very popular with younger children. When King Cupcake is kidnapped by aliens, Princess Spaghetti won’t take no for an answer when the aliens refuse to give him back! 

A Cat's Guide to the Night Sky

Stuart Atkinson & Brendan Kearney

A Cat’s Guide to the Night Sky is an illustrated guide to explain the different elements of the night sky to children, as described by Felicity the cat. Discover how to discern which night time lights are planets, why winter is the best time for stargazing and what the fuzzy patches that astronomers call ‘deep sky objects’ are actually made of. There is also lots of practical advice for would-be astronomers, such as which kinds of locations are best for stargazing and which constellations to look for at different times of year.


Also features on: Reading for Pleasure Blog


Homework on Pluto

Lou Treleaven

A fun and original early chapter book on the theme of space, that suitably fills the chasm between this topic’s many great picture books and those middle grade novels pitched at older readers. This book charts the inter-planetary correspondence between space traveller Jon and his primary school class back on Earth. As well as letters, his adventures on Pluto are documented in a scrapbook-style collection of leaflets, newspaper articles, homework reports and other paraphernalia collected along the way. Readers will delight in the way in which the story unfolds with skilful humour and creativity, as the imagined space settlement on Pluto is steadily brought to life through the sequence of letters.  


Also featured on: Reading for Pleasure Blog

The International Space Station

Clive Gifford and Dan Schlitzkus

Did you know that astronauts can grow up to 5-6cm taller in space because of the lack of gravity compressing their spines? Or that astronauts on the International Space Station often add chilli sauce to their space meals because their sense of taste is altered in space? Or that sometimes space-walking astronauts wear an adult nappy underneath their spacesuit? Nor did we, until we read this absorbing information text about the International Space Station! We highly recommend this book, which is packed with fascinating fact boxes, diagrams, engaging illustrations and a comprehensive glossary, and we can see it becoming a key information text for primary classrooms covering the topic of Earth & Space.



Alexis Deacon

This story about a lost alien is a lovely story with important themes about accepting difference. When Beegu accidentally ends up on Planet Earth, she is lost and alone. At first Beegu finds that grown up Earth People are not very welcoming at all, but she soon discovers that the younger ones are much quicker to empathise. 

A Place for Pluto

Stef Wade & Melanie Demm

Pluto is not amused when he is suddenly demoted from planet status. Determined to find where he belongs, he embarks upon an identity quest, seeking help from comets, asteroids, meteoroids and planets. Can Pluto finally find a new status that reflects his true identity?  This feel-good picture book is brightly illustrated and covers themes of acceptance and belonging. 

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Margot Lee Shetterly & Laura Freeman

The story of four figures who contributed to some major milestones in the American Space Race: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden. Each woman overcame huge obstacles during a time when being black and female imposed major limitations on what people were allowed to do. This is a beautifully illustrated account of inspiring real life stories. 

Look Inside: Space

Rob Lloyd Jones and Benedetta Giaufret

This information text is full of exciting facts about the universe and stunning illustrations. Topics include galaxies, space stations, astronauts and comets.

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