Combining literacy and STEM: 6 books to get your future astronaut revved up for reading

Discovery Place Kids Rockingham

Ever wonder if astronauts read in space? Well, the answer is 100-percent yes! In fact, astronauts not only read books they personally enjoy, but they also read aloud STEM-related children’s books – and you can listen to the space stories via streaming footage from the International Space Station.

Part of the Global Space Education Foundation, Story Time from Space aims to combine two very important educational areas – STEM learning and literacy – by featuring astronauts in space reading books to the children on Earth. How fun!

As our Museum continues its exploration of space this month, we’re checking out some space-themed books, some of which you can listen to at Story Time for Space, for some great options to pick up on your next trip to the library with the future astronauts in your life:


Mousetronaut, by Astronaut Mark Kelly

This (partially true) picture book by Astronaut Mark Kelly is based on the space shuttle Endeavor and features Meteor, a small but hardworking mouse who is determined to travel to outer space. While the story is centered in space, its lessons are perfectly suited to Earth – those of bravery, perseverance and more. If you love this one, you’ll want to read the follow-up, Mousetronaut Goes to Mars.

[Recommended ages: 4-7]


Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing, by Dean Robbins

A true story, this book chronicles the life of Margaret Hamilton, whose love of numbers as a child led to a role in putting a man on the moon. Hamilton wrote code that allowed the spacecraft’s computer to solve problems along the journey. Kids will love learning about this pioneer in her field who never stopped reaching for the stars.

[Recommended ages: 4-8]


Little Kids First Big Book of Space, National Geographic Kids

Introduce your young ones to space with colorful illustrations and simple text that explains the basic concepts of space. Kids can explore what they see from their vantage point on Earth, learn about the solar system and more.

[Recommended ages: 4-8]



Max Goes to the Moon: A Science Adventure with Max the Dog, by Jeffrey Bennett

Max the Dog and a young girl named Tori take a trip to the moon that ultimately leads people to realize the precious and small nature of our own planet. A part of a larger Max the Dog series, this book includes “Big Kid Box” sidebars that dive deeper into science topics in a way that allows children and adults to learn together. Fall in love with Max after reading this one? Check out Max Goes to Mars and Max Goes to the Space Station for more out-of-this-world reading.

[Recommended ages: 7-9]


Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition, by Margot Lee Shetterly

Adapted for young readers, this edition of the New York Times bestseller shares the uplifting, amazing true story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program.

[Recommended ages: 8-12]




I Love You, Michael Collins, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

It’s 1969 and the nation is readying for man landing on the moon. In one elementary school class, children are assigned to write letters to the astronauts aboard the rocket. All the girls choose to write to Neil Armstrong while all the boys write to Buzz Aldrin. Just one child opts to write to the third astronaut on board, Michael Collins. As the astronaut required to stay in the spaceship, Collins never got to walk on the moon despite taking the journey. Although focused on space, the story is really about family and being true to yourself.

[Recommended ages: 8-12]

When you are finished reading about space, be sure to stop by the Museum all month long to celebrate with us as we spend September blasting off into the amazing innovations that exist related to space exploration.

Visit here to see all the fun scheduled for this month.

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