Cosmic Space and Universal Milestones | Space Series Nonfiction

It’s an exciting time in space exploration! A lot has happened recently and many of this season’s astronomy books make sure to mention the most up-to-date information.


It’s an exciting time in space exploration! A lot has happened recently and many of this season’s astronomy books make sure to mention the most up-to-date information. Space aficionados will be excited to read about the newest Mars rover Perseverance and first ever Mars helicopter Ingenuity; the new Orion spacecraft, with upcoming Artemis missions returning humans to the moon; and the next big milestone: sending humans to Mars. Other hot topics are the International Space Station and living in Earth’s orbit, space tools and technology, and there’s a informative new planet set for collections that need updating. As usual, the back matter of the series for upper elementary and middle school is especially strong, often including ideas for activities, craft projects, or science experiments.



Armentrout, David & Patricia Armentrout. Moon. ISBN 9781039644694.
––––. Space Tools. ISBN 9781039644724.
––––. Stars. ISBN 9781039644717.
––––. A Visit to Mars. ISBN 9781039644670.
––––. What Are Planets? ISBN 9781039644755.
Spencer, Francis. Earth. ISBN 9781039644687.
––––. Solar System Mission. ISBN 9781039644700.
––––. Sun. ISBN 9781039644731.
––––. Visiting Pluto: The New Horizons Mission. ISBN 9781039644748.
ea vol: 24p. (Destination Space). Crabtree/Seedlings. Jan. 2022. Tr $25.27.
Gr 1-3 –A large set covering a variety of topics. There are five books on individual topics (Sun, Moon, Earth, A Visit to Mars, and Visiting Pluto) and four that generally cover a group of subjects (Stars,What are Planets?, Solar System Mission, and Space Tools). The 23-page books have no specific structure, with some titles containing three or four longer chapters and others five or six short ones. Most titles rely more heavily on diagrams and artists’ renditions than photographs, but all the visuals are high quality. VERDICT The wide-range of subjects make this a good choice for elementary classroom and library collections.

Burns, Jason M. Beneath the Surface: A Race Against Time. ISBN 9781534199781.
––––. The Brain Terrain: When Lightning Strikes. ISBN 9781534199774.
––––. Lost on Mars: Getting Back to Basecamp. ISBN 9781534199743.
––––. The Meteor Shower: Seeking Shelter. ISBN 9781534199750.
––––. The Rising Tide of Lava: Chaos on Mars. ISBN 9781534199798.
––––. The Sand Seas of Mars: Repairing the Rover. ISBN 9781534199736.
––––. Stuck in the Mud: Search and Rescue. ISBN 9781534199767.
––––. Terror-Forming Mars: The Journey Back Home. ISBN 9781534199804.
ea vol: illus. by Dustin Evans. 32p. (Malcolm’s Martians: Exploring Mars). Cherry Lake/Torch Graphic Pr. Jan. 2022. Tr $29.93.
Gr 2-5 –An appealing graphic novel series with nonfiction elements and a Martian hook. Set in 2055, the books star Malcolm, his dad, and his friend Daniela who are spending their summer on Mars. In each book, Malcolm visits a different ­ecosystem on the planet, imagines what sort of adaptations would be needed for animals to live there, and then draws his ideas. Each page of the story contains Mars facts or science facts, and bolded words in the narrative are defined farther down on the page. Also found throughout the narrative are four full pages of facts and trivia titled “The Case for Space,” “The Science of Science Fiction,” “The Fundamentals of Art,” and “Mars Survival Tips.” VERDICT With ­elements of art, animal adaptations, Mars, and space travel, this series could be useful for many different classroom lessons, but may need some hand-selling for general library circulation.

Devera, Czeena. Asteroid. ISBN 9781534198999.
––––. Black Hole. ISBN 9781534199057.
––––. Comet. ISBN 9781534199002.
––––. Meteor. ISBN 9781534199019.
––––. Moon. ISBN 9781534199040.
––––. Nebula. ISBN 9781534199064.
––––. Star. ISBN 9781534199026.
––––. Sun. ISBN 9781534199033.
ea vol: illus. by Jeff Bane. 24p. (My Guide to the Solar System). Cherry Lake. Jan. 2022. Tr $28.50.
K-Gr 2 –A simple series introducing astronomy topics to emerging readers. Each spread has text on a white background on the verso and a full-color photograph on the recto. The titles have a whimsical cover that adds a cartoon face on the title’s topic, and that anthropomorphized figure is occasionally included on the text pages, with a dialogue bubble asking readers questions about themselves. The simple sentences present very basic information, but use an engaging first person point of view. Every book ends by stating, “Scientists are still studying me. There’s so much more to learn!” VERDICT Recommended for early reader collections in need of nonfiction titles.

Finan, Catherine C. The International Space Station. ISBN 9781636915074.
––––. Life in Space. ISBN 9781636915081.
––––. Planets and Moons. ISBN 9781636915098.
––––. Space Jobs. ISBN 9781636915104.
––––. Space Machines. ISBN 9781636915111.
––––. Stars and Galaxies. ISBN 9781636915128.
ea vol: 32p. (X-treme Facts: Space). Bearport. Jan. 2022. Tr $28.50.
Gr 3-5 –An irreverent series that uses humor to engage readers. Each spread has an interesting chapter title, a paragraph of informational text, colorful boxes with facts, photographs, and comic-book style speech bubbles. There are many pictures of children or stereotypical aliens layered over NASA images interacting with or commenting on the subject of the chapter. This comedic device is most effective in the books focused on people and technology (Life in Space, The International Space Station, Space Jobs, and Space Machines), but all the titles present unique and current information in an enjoyable format. VERDICT Fun and browsable, recommended for additional purchase.

Grack, Rachel. Curious about Jupiter. ISBN 9781681519722.
––––. Curious about Mars. ISBN 9781681519739.
––––. Curious about Mercury. ISBN 9781681519746.
––––. Curious about Neptune. ISBN 9781681519753.
––––. Curious about the Moon. ISBN 9781681519715.
––––. Curious about Uranus. ISBN 9781681519777.
––––. Curious about Venus. ISBN 9781681519784.
Olson, Gillia M. Curious about Saturn. ISBN 9781681519760.
ea vol: 24p. (Curious about Outer Space). Amicus. Jan. 2022. Tr $31.35.
Gr 2-4 –An engaging planet set that offers up more than just the standard facts. Each title has three chapters. Chapter one covers why the planet looks like it does, chapter two is about how we know what we do, and chapter three varies in subject to cover specific information about that planet. A strength of this series is that The Moon takes the place of Earth in the set, keeping the structure consistent and focused on space rather than our own planet. The back matter is another highlight, with the “Stay Curious! Learn More” section doubling as an information literacy lesson by asking questions, giving hints for keyword searches, and recommending resources with reasons those sources are trustworthy. VERDICT An exceptional series on our solar system’s planets. Highly recommended for libraries, schools, and homeschooling collections.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Bolte, Mari. Earth vs. Mars. ISBN 9781534199866.
––––. Exploring Mars. ISBN 9781534199811.
––––. Journey to Mars. ISBN 9781534199842.
––––. Preparing for Mars. ISBN 9781534199835.
––––. Roving the Red Planet. ISBN 9781534199828.
––––. Space Discoveries. ISBN 9781534199859.
ea vol: 32p. (Mission: Mars). Cherry Lake. Jan. 2022. Tr $29.93.
Gr 4-7 –An in-depth look at risks, challenges, and science of the next big milestone of space travel, getting humans to Mars. Each book has five chapters with the same titles; “Destination: Mars,” “Traveling Through Space,” “X Marks the Spot,” “Exploring the Planet,” and “The Future.” Each title covers a different aspect of Mars missions, and occasionally repeats facts or reuses NASA photographs, but the series remains interesting despite those rare repetitions. There is a realistic emphasis on the dangers of long-term space travel on physical and mental health and hardships facing astronauts who may live on an inhospitable planet. VERDICT An essential purchase for astronomy collections.

Calkhoven, Laurie. Human Missions to Outer Space. ISBN 9781338825916.
Cohn, Jessica. Mars Rovers. ISBN 9781338825886.
Mason, Jennifer. UFOs. ISBN 9781338825947.
Rector, Rebecca. International Space Station. ISBN 9781338825220.
ea vol: 48p. (A True Book: Exploring Space). Scholastic/Children’s Pr. Mar. 2022. Tr $31.
Gr 3-7 –A high-quality series that expertly conveys information about four high-interest topics. Each book starts with two statements challenging readers to figure out which is true and which is false. Then there is an introduction, four chapters, and a “Big Truth” featurette between two chapters. All titles contain up-to-date information, with the fourth chapters looking toward the future. “The Future of Space Exploration” ( Human Missions to Outer Space) goes into great detail about the upcoming Artemis missions. VERDICT Highly recommended, a first purchase for middle school and public libraries.

The titles this season continue to offer exciting new things about astronomy for your readers. “Curious About Outer Space” (Amicus) is an excellent planet set with nice visuals and a great structure for elementary readers. “A True Book: Exploring Space” (Scholastic) and “Mission Mars” (Cherry Lake) are highlights for middle school ­collections. “A True Book: Exploring Space” is broad, covering four high-interest space topics, while “Mission Mars” is focused on the realities of space travel to and habitation of Mars.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing