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Start with a Book

Ricky Rocket

Books, activities and ideas for summer reading and summer learning from Reading Rockets

Start With a Book

Children's books and activities

Stars, Planets and the Night Sky

Do you know any kids who are fascinated by the constellations, the phases of the Moon, or what it's like to be an astronaut? We've gathered up a great collection of books, activities, apps, and websites for learning all about stars, constellations, planets, and the night sky.

Try pairing fiction with nonfiction books and exploring different genres (like poetry and biographies) and formats (like graphic novels and audio books). You'll be creating your own "text sets" — collections of texts focused on a specific topic. Reading widely in this way helps children build background knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Stars, Planets and the Night Sky

Great Fiction & Nonfiction Books

Age Level: 3-6 years old

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A is for Astronaut: Exploring Space from A to Z

By: Traci N. Todd

Age Level: 3-6 years old

The alphabet is the device used to pique curiosity about astronomy, space travel and things...

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A Long Way Away: A Two-Way Story

By: Frank Viva

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Starting in space, an alien family bids adieu to their offspring (they look a lot like octopuses)...

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Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

By: Oliver Jeffers

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Oliver Jeffers offers a rare personal look inside his own hopes and wishes for his child--and in...

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I Want to Be an Astronaut

By: Byron Barton

Age Level: 3-6 years old

A young girl declares her longing to 'fly on the shuttle into outer space.' The familiar acts of...

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Look Inside Space

By: Rob Lloyd Jones

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Blast off into space with this fascinating flip book. Find out how the moon was made, why stars...

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Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing

By: Dean Robbins

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Margaret loved to solve all kinds of problems coming up with original ideas. She wondered why...

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Mousetronaut

By: Mark Kelly

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Mice are trained alongside human astronauts to accompany the 2001 space shuttle Endeavor mission....

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National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space

By: Catherine D. Hughes

Age Level: 3-6 years old

These colorful pages will introduce young children to the wonders of space. The book will...

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Oh No, Astro!

By: Matt Roeser

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Astro is a cranky asteroid who just wants everyone to respect his personal boundaries. But when...

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Our Stars

By: Anne Rockwell

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Scientists use telescopes and satellites to study the stars. But even though they're far away,...

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Rocket to the Moon

By: Lerryn Korda

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Lester explains the basics about the moon and space travel to Little Nye before they take off on...

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Stars

By: Mary Lyn Ray

Age Level: 3-6 years old

From tiny white strawberry blossoms in the spring to snowflakes in the winter, from the tip of a...

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Thanking the Moon

By: Grace Lin

Age Level: 3-6 years old

As they did for the Lunar New Year, each family member contributes to the preparations for the mid-...

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The Planet Hunter: The Story Behind What Happened to Pluto

By: Elizabeth Rusch

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Why the once-planet Pluto was demoted to a lesser planetary status is explained in readable text...

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What's Out There? A Book About Space

By: Lynn Wilson

Age Level: 3-6 years old

What is the sun made of? What causes night and day? Why does the moon change shape? Colorful...

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Zathura

By: Chris Van Allsburg

Age Level: 3-6 years old

On the last page of the Caldecott-winning book Jumanji, young Danny Budwing is seen...

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Zelda's Big Adventure

By: Marie Alafaci

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Zelda has big plans—she wants to be the first chicken in space. She leaves nothing to chance as...

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Age Level: 6-9 years old

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100 Things to Know About Spac

By: Howard Hughes

Age Level: 6-9 years old

This is a fun and informative book packed with 100 fascinating things to know about space, from...

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A Full Moon Is Rising

By: Marilyn Singer

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Come along on a whirlwind tour of the world to discover an amazing collection of full moon...

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A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars

By: Seth Fishman

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Earth is surrounded by stars of which the sun is only one. Earth is blue “because it is covered...

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A Moon of My Own

By: Jennifer Rustigi

Age Level: 6-9 years old

An imaginative young girl travels the world with her faithful companion, the moon, in an...

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Astronaut Academy

By: Steve Martin

Age Level: 6-9 years old

This is a spaceflight activity book like no other! Through a series of fun and challenging tasks...

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Astronaut Handbook

By: Meghan McCarthy

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Do you have what it takes to be an astronaut? Take a ride on the “Vomit Comet” and learn how it...

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Bright Sky, Starry City

By: Uma Krishnaswami

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Phoebe helps her dad set up telescopes on the sidewalk outside his store. It’s a special night...

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Caroline’s Comets: A True Story

By: Emily Arnold McCully

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Caroline Herchel, born in 1750, enjoyed looking at the night sky with her father. She would...

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CatStronauts: Mission Moon

By: Drew Brockington

Age Level: 6-9 years old

When the world is thrust into darkness due to a global energy shortage, the Worlds Best...

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Faces of the Moon

By: Bob Crelin

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A rhyming text in an intriguing format introduces the moon's cyclical nature — its phases. An...

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Her Seven Brothers

By: Paul Goble

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A retelling of the Cheyenne legend about the creation of the Big Dipper. A young Indian girl who...

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

By: Margot Lee Shetterly, Winifred Conklin

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The true story of four African American women whose talent and tenacity led to careers at NASA...

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How the Stars Fell into the Sky

By: Jerrie Oughton

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Richly hued illustrations are used to show how First Woman tried to guide humans by providing...

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I, Galileo

By: Bonnie Christensen

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The voice of an old, blind Galileo Galilei is used to look back on a life that started in Pisa...

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Look Up! Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer

By: Robert Burleigh

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Meet Henrietta Leavitt, a 19th century pioneer for women in science. From careful observations,...

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Looking Up!: The Science of Stargazing

By: Joe Rao

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Become an expert on the stars in the sky with this fact-tastic nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read...

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Mae Jemison

By: Luke Collins

Age Level: 6-9 years old

An early biography of the first African-American female astronaut. This nonfiction book explores...

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Max Goes to Jupiter: A Science Adventure with Max the Dog

By: Jeffrey Bennett

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Set in the future, Max the Dog’s friend Tori is all grown up and is the chief scientist of the...

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Max Goes to the Space Station: A Science Adventure with Max the Dog

By: Jeffery Bennett

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Follow Max on his trip to the International Space Station where he shares in the adventures of...

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Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

By: Brian Floca

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Relive the journey of the Apollo 11 where the first people stepped on the moon's surface...

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On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

By: Jennifer Berne

Age Level: 6-9 years old

As a child, he was a late talker but as he grew up, Albert Einstein never stopped asking questions...

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Out of This World: Poems and Facts About Space

By: Amy Sklansky

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Poems combine with information and evocative illustrations to create a sense of wonder about space...

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Pluto Is Peeved: An Ex-Planet Searches for Answers

By: Jacqueline Jules

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A comic-book-style picture book, takes you on a scientific journey side-by-side with Pluto, who...

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Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery

By: Margaret Weitekamp

Age Level: 6-9 years old

People, children especially, have been baffled, bewildered, and even outraged by the fact that...

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Stargazers

By: Gail Gibbons

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A series of star-spattered night skies done in rich blues and purples gives this introduction to...

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Starry Sky

By: Kate Hayden , Deborah Lock

Age Level: 6-9 years old

From DK Readers allow beginning readers, learn about constellations, galleries, stars, the Sun, and...

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Stars

By: Seymour Simon

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Do aliens come from the stars? What is that twinkling out there? How long does it take for a...

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The Darkest Dark

By: Chris Hadfiled

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he's a brave astronaut, exploring the universe....

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The Milky Way: A Cherokee Tale

By: Joseph Bruchac, Gayle Ross

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Have you ever wondered how the Milky Way came to be? According to a Cherokee legend, it started...

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The Moon Book

By: Gail Gibbons

Age Level: 6-9 years old

This introductory book offers young children information about the moon: its orbit and phases, its...

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The Sky Is Full of Stars

By: Franklyn Branley

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Young stargazers learn about different star colors and brightness, how to locate major...

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The Stunning Science of Everything: Science with the Squishy Bits Left In

By: Nick Arnold, Tony De Saulles

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Sophisticated young scientists will enjoy dipping in and out of this funny but edifying...

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Zoo in the Sky

By: Jacqueline Mitton

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Take an illuminating ride through the starry night sky with this book from National Geographic....

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Age Level: 9-12 years old

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Our Moon: New Discoveries About Earth’s Closest Companion

By: Elaine Scott

Age Level: 9-12 years old

People have always been fascinated by the moon. Since Galileo, humans have walked on the moon,...

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A User's Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty

By: Dave Goldberg

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Answers to science's most enduring questions from "Can I break the light-speed barrier like on...

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Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream

By: Tanya Lee Stone

Age Level: 9-12 years old

They had the right stuff. They defied the prejudices of the time. And they blazed a trail for...

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Chasing Space

By: Leland Melvin

Age Level: 9-12 years old

In this inspiring memoir, adapted from the simultaneous version for adults, young readers will...

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Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon

By: Suzanne Slade

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Powerful free verse and vivid mixed-media illustrations tell the true story of the American...

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Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover

By: Markus Motum

Age Level: 9-12 years old

On August 6, 2012, the rover Curiosity touched down on the rocky surface of Mars — and now she’s...

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Find the Constellations

By: H.A. Rey

Age Level: 9-12 years old

This classic book includes star charts, a guide to the constellations, and details about seasons...

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Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition

By: Margot Lee Shetterly

Age Level: 9-12 years old

This edition of Margot Lee Shetterly’s acclaimed book is perfect for young readers. It is the...

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How to be a Space Explorer: Your Out-of-this-World Adventure

By: Lonely Planet

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Everything young explorers need to know to travel in space, covering what life in zero gravity...

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Laika

By: Nick Abadzis

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Laika was the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth's first space traveler. This is her...

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Older Than Dirt: A Wild but True History of Earth

By: Don Brown, Michael Perfit

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Almost 14.5 billion years ago, it all started with a BIG BANG and what began as a cloud of gas,...

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Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist

By: Sylvia Acevedo

Age Level: 9-12 years old

The inspiring memoir for young readers about a Latina rocket scientist whose early life was...

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Punk Science: Intergalactic Supermassive Space Book

By: Punk Science

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Default blurb text. Just the good ol' boys, never meanin' no harm. Beats all you've ever saw,...

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Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America's Pioneering Woman in Space

By: Tammy O'Shaughnessy

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Years before millions of Americans tuned in to watch her historic space flight aboard the...

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Space a Children's Encyclopedia

By: DK Publishing

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Everything you ever wanted to know about space. Take your child on a journey to space and beyond...

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The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

By: Kathryn Lasky

Age Level: 9-12 years old

An illustrated biography of the Greek philosopher and scientist Eratosthenes, who compiled the...

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The Mighty Mars Rovers

By: Elizabeth Rusch

Age Level: 9-12 years old

This book tells the greatest space robot adventure of all time through the eyes — and heart — of...

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The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet

By: Eleanor Cameron

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Don't miss the adventures of Chuck and David, two boys who travel to the alien planet Basidium...

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Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet

By: Buzz Aldrin

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Space is still the final frontier and Mars continues to make news and attract generations of...

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

By: Grace Lin

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Join Minli as she journeys to save her village and her family from a dreary fate by seeking out the...

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Who Was Neil Armstrong?

By: Roberta Edwards

Age Level: 9-12 years old

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon and, to an audience of over 450 million...

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