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Start with a Book

Ricky Rocket

Books and activities for summer reading and learning from Reading Rockets

Start With a Book: Books and activities for summer reading and summer learning

Children's books and activities

Flight

Do you know any kids who are fascinated by airplanes, spaceships, hot air balloons, and other fantastic flying machines? We've gathered up a great collection of books, activities, apps, and websites for learning all about flight.

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, such as flight. Reading widely in this way helps children build background knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

You might also want to explore our Space Rangers summer science program, with a free toolkit ready to print and use! 

Flight

Great Fiction & Nonfiction Books

Age Level: 3-6 years old

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Abuela

By: Arthur Dorros

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Rosalba imagines flying over New York City with her much loved abuela. The young girl uses...

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Astronauts Today

By: Rosanna Hansen

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Astronauts Today is a journey into space exploration. With fun facts like what astronauts eat...

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illustrated cover of "Kite Flying" showing child running with a dragon kite

Kite Flying

By: Grace Lin

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Fiction

The young narrator describes how she and her family each contribute to a handsome kite which...

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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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The Airport Book

By: Lisa Brown

Age Level: 3-6 years old

To visit grandparents, a family travels to the airport, boards the plane, and flies to their...

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The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot July 25, 1909

By: Alice Provensen, Martin Provensen

Age Level: 3-6 years old

By 1909, Louis Bleriot's persistence had paid off: this Frenchman became the first aviator...

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Zephyr Takes Flight

By: Steve Light

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Zephyr's imagination takes off when her family is too busy to play or watch her fly her model...

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Age Level: 6-9 years old

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cover of "Air Show" showing a plane flying and other planes on the ground below

Air Show

By: Treat Williams

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Ellie and her brother accompany their pilot father in his airplane to an air show where they see...

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Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride

By: Pam Muñoz Ryan

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Two well known women sneak away from the White House for an aerial adventure in this handsomely...

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Circle

By: Jeannie Baker

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

Each year, bar-tailed godwits undertake the longest unbroken migration of any bird, flying from...

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Daring Dozen: The Twelve Who Walked on the Moon

By: Suzanne Slade

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

Spare, poetic text and luminous, realistic illustrations chronicle the Apollo missions....

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cover of "Flight: A Pop-up Book of Aircraft" showing different kinds of planes

Flight: A Pop-Up Book of Aircraft

By: Robert Crowther

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Loaded with flaps, pull-tabs, and pop-ups to manipulate, this fact-filled exploration of flying...

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Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh

By: Robert Burleigh

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Charles Lindbergh was only 25 years old when he made his historic non-stop flight across the...

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Floating in Space

By: Franklyn Branley, True Kelley

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Have you ever dreamed of being an astronaut? Wondered what it might be like to see the sun set...

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cover of "Fly High" showing a pilot in a prop plane

Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman

By: Louise Borden, Mary Kay Kroeger

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Bessie Coleman grew up picking cotton in Texas, but she aimed high -- soaring into history as...

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Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman's Dreams Took Flight

By: Karyn Parsons

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

...

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cover of "Flying Machines" showing different kinds of planes

Flying Machine (Eyewitness)

By: Andrew Nahum

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Detailed, full-color photographs and illustrations to explain man's fascination with flight and...

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cover of "Give Me Wings" showing a boy with his arms out and transparent wings

Give Me Wings

By: Lee Bennett Hopkins

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Take flight with a bit of imagination and a varied collection of poems. Handsome illustrations...

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Go for the Moon: A Rocket, a Boy, and the First Moon Landing

By: Chris Gall

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

A boy looking out his bedroom window into the night sky begins, “The moon is out tonight. In the...

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How Do Birds Find Their Way?

By: Roma Gans

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

Birds don't need maps! Many birds make long journeys twice each year as they migrate between...

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Into the Air: An Illustrated Timeline of Flight

By: Ryan Ann Hunter

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

This picture book traces flight from the era of prehistoric flying creatures to the future of...

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cover of "Kids Paper Air Plane" showing two airplanes flying

Kids' Paper Airplane Book

By: Ken Blackburn, Jeff Lammers

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Sophisticated children (or children with an adult) will appreciate the variety of aircraft...

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Lighter than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot

By: Matthew Clark Smith

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Sophie admired Jean-Pierre Blanchard, the first man to cross the English Channel in a hot air...

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cover of "Look to the Stars" showing man in space suit with edge of Earth behind him

Look to the Stars

By: Buzz Aldrin

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin takes the reader on a journey through centuries of air and space...

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illustrated cover of Mae Among the Stars showing girl in space helmet with night sky behind her

Mae Among the Stars

By: Roda Ahmed

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

A beautiful picture book for sharing, inspired by the life of the first African American woman...

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Mae Jemison

By: Luke Collins

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

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

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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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Owly: Flying Lessons

By: Andy Runton

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Though nearly wordless, the expressive black and white illustrations effectively convey Owly's...

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Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee

By: Marissa Moss

Age Level: 6-9 years old

The true story of one of only two Chinese-American women to fly for the U.S. Air Force during...

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Soar, Elinor!

By: Tami Lewis Brown

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Elinor Smith was a girl whose dream of flying was realized in the 1920s, a time when girls and...

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Tar Beach

By: Faith Ringgold

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Cassie doesn't have to actually go to the beach; she's got her very own "tar...

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cover of "The Adventures of Sparrowboy" showing young boy with his hands on his hips

The Adventures of Sparrowboy

By: Brian Pinkney

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Fiction

Mild-mannered paperboy Henry collides with a sparrow and turns into Sparrowboy just like his...

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cover of "The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont" showing a crowd and planes in front of the eiffel tower

The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont

By: Victoria Griffith

Age Level: 6-9 years old

While the Wright Brothers were gliding over Kitty Hawk, the charming Brazilian Alberto Santos-...

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The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee

By: Julie Leung

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to fly for the US military, was born fearless...

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The Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes

By: Doug Stillinger

Age Level: 6-9 years old

From very easy to more challenging, paper airplane folding is a craft that soars! Clear...

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Tiny Bird: A Hummingbird's Amazing Journey

By: Robert Burleigh

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Nonfiction

Follow a hummingbird’s amazing migration south for the winter, traveling as fast as 30 miles an...

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cover of "wind flyers" showing boy and dog on the wing of a prop plane

Wind Flyers

By: Angela Johnson

Age Level: 6-9 years old

A young African American boy tells the story of his great-great-uncle, who realized his dream of...

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cover of "Wings" showing boy flying with white wings

Wings

By: Christopher Myers

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Stunning, bold collage illustrations carry the action in this reworking of the traditional Greek...

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Wings

By: Sneed Collard

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Many creatures have wings: birds, bats, insects. How these amazing appendages work and how they...

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Age Level: 9-12 years old

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Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer

By: Traci Sorell

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Nonfiction

Mary Golda Ross designed classified airplanes and spacecraft as Lockheed Aircraft Corporation's...

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cover of "Flying Machines" showing a child in front of a prop plane

Flying Machines

By: Nick Arnold

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Do you know how flight forces such as gravity, drag, thrust, and lift work? Kids who are raring...

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illustrated cover of Skywriting: Poems to Fly showing a hot air balloon with sails.

Skywriting: Poems to Fly

By: J. Patrick Lewis

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Poetry

In this picture-book anthology of 13 poems, celebrate the dramatic adventure of flight, from the...

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Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman

By: Nikki Grimes

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Nonfiction

After aviator Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman is lost in a plane crash, those who knew her celebrate...

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cover  of "The Wright Brothers" showing photo of Wright brothers' plane

The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane

By: Russell Freedman

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Using excerpts from Wilbur's and Orville's journals and letters, young readers will find a...

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