Space (KS2)


Frank Cottrell Boyce and Steven Lenton

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.

The Jamie Drake Equation

Christopher Edge

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.

Fortunately, the Milk...

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

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. 

Dr Maggie's Grand Tour of the Solar System

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Real-life BBC presenter and renowned space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is an inspirational figure and in this non-fiction text she positions herself as tour guide. After initial orientation, the rest of the book blasts off into sections that provide vast amounts of information about the planets and stars in the solar system, communicated in a very accessible way. Some of the ideas explored are quite complex -why seasons are different on Mars; belts of gas on Jupiter; a six-sided jet stream at Saturn’s north pole and oxygen in the exosphere of Callisto (one of Jupiter’s moons) - but the text remains accessible and child-friendly throughout. 

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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George's Secret Key to the Universe

Lucy Hawking & Stephen Hawking

Part of a series written by Professor Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy, this fast-paced adventure follows a boy called George as he discovers a portal to outer space inside his neighbour's super-intelligent computer called Cosmos. As you might expect in a book by Stephen Hawking, the narrative is filled with scientifically accurate facts and figures about space. 

Where Once We Stood

Christopher Riley & v Martin Impey

Where Once We Stood is a stunning book - large, weighty and dense with information, vocabulary, ideas and meaning. Capturing first-hand accounts from the 12 people who have stood on the moon, in their own words, each chapter covers a particular Apollo mission and begins with dates, crew logs and maps to set the scene. The language throughout is a glorious blend of the poetic and the scientific, the prosaic and the profound. The illustrations by Martin Impey are breath-taking and alone make the book worth purchasing. Where Once We Stood rewards detailed and repeated study and would be an excellent key text around which to build a Space Scheme of Work for Year 5/6.

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. 

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.  


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A Galaxy of Her Own: Amazing Stories of Women in Space

Libby Jackson

Informative, interesting and most of all, inspirational. If you want to show children excellent examples of how people - in this instance, women in space - can aspire to achieve and succeed (often against the odds) then I could not think of a better non-fiction book out this year that could demonstrate this so well! (Recommended by Scott Evans (@MrEPrimary), Primary Teacher and owner of


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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.


Professor Astro Cat's Solar System

Ben Newman and Dominic Walliman

The newest addition to the Professor Astro Cat series aimed at less confident readers, 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).


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The War of the Worlds

H. G. Wells, Russell Punter & David Miles

This is a classic sci-fi novel guaranteed to have its readers on the edge of their seats. It follows the eyewitness' view of a Martian invasion of earth and his attempts to save his family in the face of a global catastrophe. Usborne's accessible adaptation of the original story makes it a suitable read for KS2.

Cakes in Space

Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

A humorous adventure suitable for lower KS2, this story is full of eccentric characters, absurd plot twists and evil human-eating cakes. A great story to read out loud. 

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 and lower KS2. 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.

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

Simon Bartram

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. 

A Maths Journey Through Space

Anne Rooney

Part of the Maths in the Real World series, this book shows how maths is applied to real life space missions. The book includes charts, infographics, diagrams and other ways to visualise the figures involved, as well as quizzes and mathematical challenges.

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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