The 20th July 2019 marks fifty years since the American Apollo 11 lunar module help humans achieve their goal of setting foot on the moon in 1969. To celebrate this huge scientific achievement, there is a huge wealth of amazing books being published to help deepen our our knowledge and inspire a real sense of awe and wonder.
Below is a selection of some of the wonderful information books I’ve received in the theme of space and the fantastic people who helped humans get there.
‘Odd Science: Spectacular Space’ by James Olstein (Pavilion)
I love this quirky series of books packed full of little known and fascinating facts. Spectacular Space is the third in the series and is on the Summer Reading Challenge 2019 recommended reading list.
Proof that good things come in small packages, there all sorts of factual tidbits guaranteed to delight. Did you know that NASA have managed to create a WiFi hotspot on the Moon?! Or that there are an estimated 500,000 pieces of space junk orbiting the Earth?
Olstein’s retro illustrations add plenty of humour if not scientific accuracy to the text – great for children and adults of all ages.
‘Counting On Katherine’ by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk (Macmillan Children’s Books)
This wonderful publication is an authorised biography of legendary African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson, who’s astonishing work for NASA in the 1960s Saved lives and made an enormous contribution towards calculating the flightpaths for NASA’s first Apollo moon landing.
Learn the story of the little girl who loved counting, the gifted student who almost didn’t go to high school because of America’s segregation laws, and the amazing woman who’s brain was trusted above computers by the astronauts she plotted courses for.
A fascinating read with lots of brilliant illustrations by Phumiruk. Inspirational and awe-inspiring! 8+
‘Rocket to the Moon!’ By Don Brown (Amulet)
This title is part of the genius ‘Big Ideas’ graphic novel series which celebrates the ideas which helped change and shape the world. The journey from ancient Chinese rockets to the first human steps on the moon is certainly one of those!
‘Rocket to the Moon’ has a rather tongue-in-cheek narrator in the form of daredevil, Rodman Law. He expertly guides readers through the develop of rockets for entertainment, war, and space exploration with plenty of witty asides and nuggets of information. Well-researched, engaging and original, this books is sure to delight any space fans aged 8+
‘The Big Beyond’ by James Carter, illustrated by Aaron Cushley (Caterpillar Books)
This very clever book is a seamless blend of the poetry James Carter is known for, and non-fiction and is aimed at readers aged 5+. Aaron Cushley’s bold illustrations fill the pages with wonderment and are sure to help engage any reader.
The narrative poem takes you on a journey through the history of space exploration across the star-filled skies. Learn about constellations, animal astronauts and a rocket known as Saturn 5. Brilliant to read aloud and introduce little ones to some of humankind’s greatest achievements.
‘Planetarium: Junior Edition’ by Chris Wormell and Raman Prinja (Big Picture Press)
This junior edition of the stunning ‘Planetarium’ (published in 2018) has been specially re-written with simplified and abridged text speculation for younger readers aged 7+ and is published in association with the Science Museum. There is also an absolutely brilliant companion activity book packed with puzzles, facts and challenges designed to test your brainpower and your imagination.
As soon as you enter its pages, you’ll be whisked off on a mind-blowing journey through the galaxy, past the planets of our solar system and to the very edges of the Milky Way. Find out how stars are born, how observatories work and how scientists believe black holes could turn humans into spaghetti!
Reading this book is like embarking on your very own magical mission through space.
‘When the Stars Come Out’ by Nicola Edwards, illustrated by Lucy Cartwright (360 Degrees)
This is an absolutely fascinating book about the wonders of the night-time world. Full-page, dusky illustrations by Lucy Cartwright seem to radiate moonlight and help transport readers into a nocturnal world.
This would be an excellent choice for people wanting read more widely around the subject of space. Although space exploration and the 1969 moon landing feature in the book, it also looks more broadly at superstitions and traditions from around the world linked to nighttime and its creatures in their various habitats. You’ll also learn about moonbows, the science behind human sleep and the importance of good sleep hygiene.
I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone aged 7+ who enjoys a highly-illustrated and fact-packed book to dip in and out of. Beautiful!
So that’s my round up of some of the newest non-fiction books available to help enhance any topics based on the 50th anniversary on the moon landing or for general space enthusiasts. Reviews of other titles can be found HERE. Keep a look out for my fiction recommendations, coming soon!
*Thank you to all the publishers mentioned in this blog post who sent me these copies to review*