Growing up I had a dear friend who was fascinated by space exploration. Her passion was contagious and inspiring. As a teacher and now as a parent, I think of her often when we are learning about outer space, and I hope to encourage that same enthusiasm when I see it in kids–no matter what the subject. Over the years we’ve discovered quite a few books about rockets, and I’m excited to share some of our favorite rocket books for little learners. Read them with aspiring astronauts or as part of your preschool space theme.
FIND EVEN MORE SPACE THEME ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE SPACE LESSON PLANS.
Roaring Rockets tells the story of three animals as they blast off into space. The rhyming couplets and bright illustrations make it a fun read. My oldest enjoys looking at the details about the rocket parts at the back of the book.
In On the Launch Pad kids can count back from twelve to one and see what happens as a rocket prepares for liftoff.
Rocket Town is a board book. Toddlers love to see the different “rockets” in the book as an astronaut and his dog drive through Rocket Town, and they love the surprise blastoff at the end. My oldest also liked the illustrations. The mix of old and new gave us a good opportunity to talk about past and future.
Zoom, Rocket, Zoom! is from the author of Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp. Astronauts zoom through space and take care of few tasks once they are there. The rhyme and rhythm in this story make it very fun to read.
Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering! is a simple yet factual story that follows a bird and a girl as it teaches about how things fly.
Mousteronaut is a partially true story with a lot of wonderful lessons woven in along the way. “Astronaut Mark Kelly flew with “mice-tronauts” on his first spaceflight aboard space shuttle Endeavour in 2001. Mousetronaut tells the story of a small mouse that wants nothing more than to travel to outer space. The little mouse works as hard as the bigger mice to show readiness for the mission.”
Counting on Katherine is a picture book biography that inspires kids to pursue their passions. “From Katherine’s early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, Counting on Katherine is the story of a groundbreaking African-American woman who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives and made enormous contributions to history. “
Elon Musk: This Book is About Rockets is a fun and inspiring book about entrepreneurship and of course…rockets! Kids LOVE shouting rockets as prompted throughout the text. Use it as an engaging book to prompt discussions about persevering and creative thinking.
Rocket to the Moon is one of the Playtime with Little Nye books. In the book Little Nye is trying to figure out how you get to the moon. It’s a great story to encourage inquiry, creative thinking, and a little imagination.
If You Decide To Go To The Moon is a story I loved reading in the classroom. In the book a boy tells us how to prepare for a trip to the moon, what to do when we get there, and of course how to get home.
Space Boy is a charming picture book. Nicholas decides his house is too noisy, so he heads to the moon for a picnic and some peace and quiet.
The Best Book of Spaceships is a great nonfiction text to introduce kids to spaceships. The text is clear and simple enough for preschoolers to understand, and we loved looking at the photographs.
Rockets and Spaceships is another great book for little astronauts hoping to learn more about space travel. The vocabulary terms and descriptions are straightforward and easy to understand.
How to Build a Fizzy Rocket is a simplefan project tutorial. It’s great for kids learning to sequence and follow directions. They can follow along in the text while making the rocket.
This Is Rocket Science is an activity guide with 70 fun andeasy experiments for kids to learn more about our solar system. We absolutely love this book as an introduction to the solar system for preschool and early elementary age kids. The projects use everyday materials and creative activities that really help kids understand some of the underlying science concepts.
The Flying Machine Book: Build and Launch 35 Rockets, Gliders, Helicopters, Boomerangs, and More is full of fun projects to try and let kids experiment with force, motion, and gravity.
Get Even More Outer Space Ideas
Continue learning with outer space inspired activities in our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
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More Resources for Little Book Lovers
The best way to encourage a love of reading is to provide kids with many opportunities to engage with a wide variety of books that are of interest to them. That’s why we share so many books lists on Fantastic Fun and Learning. We want to make it easy for you to find great books your kids will love. Over the years we’ve also discovered some helpful tools for connecting kids and books.
Digital libraries are one very handy way to do this. Epic! is one of our favorite online libraries. It’s full of over 25,000 books, learning videos, quizzes and more for kids 12 and under…and it’s free for educators. Click here to learn more and sign up.
Book Boxes are another fun way to get kids excited about reading. What kid doesn’t love to get a special delivery in the mail?! The crew over at Bookroo finds the best little known books that you won’t already have in your library, and they send them to you each month. Take a peak inside a Bookroo Box here.
Book-Based Activities are also a lot of fun for kids. Jodie over at Growing Book by Book has saved us all a ton of time and created a full year of Book-Based Activity Calendars so that you can extend the fun with a special book each week.
Originally published June 2013. Last updated April 2019.