My lifelong love for astronomy began as a young child. I had gone to the library with my sisters and chosen a purple-covered book titled Did You Know the Sun is a Star? – or something like that. It was a long time ago! I can’t remember if I did actually know the Sun is a star, but I was hooked nevertheless.
Books are an amazing way to expand a child’s ingrained enthusiasm for science, and what better place to start than with the bright and magical Moon? These top 10 children’s books about the moon are all wonderfully illustrated, informative but easy to read for their varying age groups, and all make beautiful gifts.
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
Moonshot shares a very personal side of the lunar landings; the story of adventure and overcoming all odds. All three of the Apollo heroes’ true stories are documented, exploring their feelings, failures and successes. It is exceptionally well written and surprisingly meaningful for a book directed at a 4 – 8 age group, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself tearing up a little as you read to the kids (you have been warned)! The poetic rhymes, large size and beautiful double-page illustrations make this the perfect book for reading out loud to a group of children.
The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons
Gibbons has written and illustrated more than 50 books and was the winner of the 2010 Regina Award. Her Moon book was first published in 1997, and the 20+ years since have turned her work into a classical favourite with the kids. Let’s not forget that she is also highly rated by parents and teachers alike. This is a good choice for somewhat older children, as it goes into more detail explaining tides, why the same side of the Moon always faces the Earth, both solar and lunar eclipses, and the phases of the Moon. Gibbons doesn’t stop there though: she even includes a list of lunar legends and facts. The vocabulary is rich but she always writes with the perspective of a 6 – 9 year old in mind. Her wonderful illustrations are drawn with vivid detail, and the book is nice and big – perfect for reading aloud to a classroom.
The Moon Seems to Change by Franklyn M. Branley
The late Franklyn M. Branley was a former Chairman of the American Museum Hayden Planetarium, retired astronomer, seasoned children’s book author (over 150 books to his name), and the originator of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. This fantastic book shares basic facts about the Moon’s phases, covering each of the Moon’s 28 days in its cycle. Branley reveals what we call each phase, explains the concept of the Moon waxing and waning, and uses accurate diagrams and great illustrations from Barbara and Ed Emberley to bring the point across to youngsters. He also introduces an intensive but age appropriate vocabulary. Best for kids aged 5 – 8 years old.
The Moon by Carmen Bredson
The Moon is a simple to read book from the Rookie Read About Science series. Bredson’s book is ideal for elementary readers. She uses easy words along with real life photographs to take kids on a journey to the Moon. There are only about three short, basic sentences per page making it very digestible. A wide range of facts is covered despite the book’s simplicity, from the surface of the Moon and how the craters were formed to covering lunar phases. The book is just over 30 pages, and best suited to children ages 4 – 6 years.
Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup
Aimed at children 2 – 5, this pretty peek-through book uses die cut-outs to engage young children and help them learn about the phases of the Moon. Teckentrup uses short and simple rhymes and beautiful bold illustrations to add to the experience. The book doesn’t focus solely on lunar facts, but makes the Moon far more personal by showing kids how it affects life on Earth, like migrating birds and sea turtles laying eggs. The pages are thick and large, so no matter how much overuse this lovely little book gets, it can endure as a favourite for a long time to come.
Eight Days Gone by Linda McReynolds
Let your kids go on a journey with the Apollo 11 mission! There isn’t that much text in the book, and it is definitely aimed at youngsters around 4 – 6 years old. The book uses small and easy words to share facts on astronauts, spacesuits, the equipment used on Apollo 11, and even a tad bit of history. The bonus is that the text is written in a catchy rhyme which is fun to read out loud, even to toddlers. Pair this with the beautifully oil painted, bright illustrations and the children are sure to be hooked.
Team Moon: How 400 000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh
Do you have a 10 – 12 year old? Great – the older children have not been forgotten! Thimmesh has put together an excellent, 80 page resource for children curious about what really goes into sending a manned spacecraft to the Moon. She takes a detailed and historical look into the manpower behind the Apollo 11 Mission. Did you know that astronauts are trained in skills like photography and facing the media? Who makes spacesuits and how are they designed and tested? Team Moon explores all these lesser known aspects of the Moon landings, delving into the hard work, excitement and danger of the mission. The book draws from NASA photographs, archives and quotes from the actual staff and crew of Apollo 11. Thimmesh is a recipient of the IRA Children’s Book Award and Minnesota Book Award, and her books make beautiful gifts for young bookworms.
The Moon (A True Book) by Elaine Landau
Landau included a lot of text in this 50 page story; very appealing if you have slightly older children with higher reading skills and a longer concentration span. In fact, I would go as far as to say that The Moon (A True Book) works well as a mini reference guide for astronomy enthusiasts aged 7 – 10. Landau has included everything from statistics and timelines to website references. Her wealth of information covers the distance between Earth and the Moon, how the natural satellite was formed, facts on astronauts and spacesuits, and trivia on the Moon’s phases and surface. Bold graphics and photographs are included, making it as comprehensive as can be.
What the Moon is Like by Franklyn M. Branley
Another treat from Branley, this book engages children straightaway, detailing our fun myths about rabbits and men on the Moon. After subtly clearing up this conjuring of our imaginations, he delves right into the facts about what the Moon is really like. There is lots of fun trivia on what we know about the Moon thanks to awesome astronauts, including facts on its meteors, craters and temperature. Branley even compares the static, unchanging surface of the Moon to the lively surface of the Earth. The book has lovely illustrations and a fun activity or two that children can try at home. What the Moon is Like is an easy but engaging read for a 6 year old.
So That’s How the Moon Changes Shape by Allan Fowler
Fowler’s book will be a firm favourite if you have any kids who are fascinated and thrilled by the Moon’s changing phases. So That’s How the Moon Changes Shape is also part of the Rookie Read About Science Series, but is better for slightly older children, about ages 5 – 7 years old. The book has simple facts and explanations about what causes the Moon’s phases, even including a lovely timeline chart of the lunar cycle. Fowler also takes on misconceptions about the Moon emitting its own light or actually changing shape. The text is easy to read and is accompanied by real photographs.
- Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
- The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons
- The Moon Seems to Change by Franklyn M. Branley
- The Moon by Carmen Bredson
- Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup
- Eight Days Gone by Linda McReynolds
- Team Moon: How 400 000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh
- The Moon (A True Book) by Elaine Landau
- What the Moon is Like by Franklyn M. Branley
- So That’s How the Moon Changes Shape by Allan Fowler
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