'Wish' Read-Alikes and Nonfiction Tie-Ins for Young Stargazers

Fiction and nonfiction booklists for kids who are enthralled with the Disney movie, astronomy, or both. 

Still from Disney's Wish paired with Readalikes logo



PG. Theaters. Nov. 22.
In the latest Disney animated feature, Asha’s wish on a star becomes more than she bargained for when the star leaves the sky to join her on earth. The movie stars multiracial (Puerto Rican and white) actor Ariana DeBose and white actors Alan Tyduck and Chris Pine.


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Twinkle, Twinkle Little Kid by Drew Daywalt, illus. by Molly Idle. Penguin. 2021.
PrS-Gr 2–When Clyde, who is white, wishes on a star, he’s not expecting the star to visit his room and make a wish on him. This picture book combines luminous artwork with a fanciful storyline that imagines what an anthropomorphic wishing star would want.

Starcrossed by Julia Denos. Harcourt. 2020.
Gr K-3–Human girl Eridani, whose race is not specified, loves to look to the night sky to talk to her astral friend, Acamar, a constellation in the night sky. Each wonders about the life the other leads until one night they both make a wish and swap places. Readers fascinated by astronomy will enjoy this gorgeous friendship story.

Best Wishes by Sarah Mlynowski. Scholastic. 2022.
Gr 3-6–Jewish tween Becca makes a wish on a magic bracelet to have more friends, but things quickly spiral out of control, and she must figure out how to take the wish back. This series starter is a funny story that exemplifies the expression “be careful what you wish for.”

Opportunity Knocks by Sara Farizan. Scholastic. 2023.
Gr 3-6–When Persian American 11-year-old Lila unlocks the mysterious box she found, she summons Felise, the personification of Lady Luck who will stay with Lila for one week. As Lila protects the box from the wealthy man who lost it, she realizes that she has much to be grateful for in her life. This heartfelt friendship story will appeal to readers who enjoy amusing fantasy.


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Nonfiction tie-ins: astronomy
When you wish upon a star… you might want to learn more about the actual stars in the sky. Here are some books that will help!

The Night Sky by Marion Dane Bauer. Simon. 2023.
PreS-Gr 1–This book begins with the question, “Do you know that stars shine day and night?” Packed with wonder and delight, it introduces readers to a substantial amount of information on topics, including stars, constellations, planets, the northern lights, falling stars, the moon’s changing face, and meteors. 

Under the Milky Way: Traditions and Celebrations Beneath the Stars by Frane Lessac. Candlewick. 2019.
K-Gr 3–This picture book portrays various nighttime celebrations and traditions from around North America.  The final pages share information about the Milky Way and how to identify a couple of stars and constellations. Bright and cheerful illustrations convey a festive atmosphere. As a bonus, the author has painted her dog on each page; students will have fun trying to find him.

Sky Gazing: A Guide to the Moon, Sun, Planets, Stars, Eclipses, and Constellations by by Meg Thacher, illus. by Hannah Bailey Storey. 2020.
 Gr 4-8–How can you observe the sky effectively from your own neighborhood? What is the composition, density, and temperature of our sun? This book provides answers to those questions and many more.  Thacher, who teaches astronomy at Smith College in Northhampton, MA, and runs a summer science and engineering program for high school girls, offers a clear, highly engaging narrative voice throughout. 

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I Know Exactly What You Are by Julia Kregenow, illus. by Carmen Saldaña. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky. 2018.
A scientifically accurate rewrite of the classic lullaby. Rather than stick with the continual wondering present in the original version, the author has crafted a text that fits the familiar melody and states known facts, such as a description of a star as an "opaque ball of hot dense gas, million times our planet's mass." This book is a fun tool to ignite children's curiosity in astronomy.


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