Space Non-Fiction Pairs

Non-Fiction Pairs: Books and Websites for the Classroom—Space, NASA, and the Man on the Moon

By Lynn Warner

Apollo 11/Moon Landing

In recognition of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the first man on the moon, there has been a wave of books on the subject. In Mission Control, This is Apollo: The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon by Andrew Chaikin, space history is recounted from the early Mercury missions through Apollo 17. The beautiful illustrations are done by astronaut Alan Bean, who walked on the moon during the Apollo 12 mission and has devoted his post-NASA life to creating art. Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca has won an amazing array of awards, including being named a Robert F. Siebert Honor book. This book tells the story of the Apollo 11 mission in full detail, from launch to return to earth. Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh uses direct quotes, NASA transcripts, national archives and photos to illustrate a complete story of the Apollo 11 mission. For younger readers, turn to Robert Burleigh's One Giant Leap. The story of the first man on the moon is told through accessible, informative text. Mission to the Moon by Alan Dyer also celebrates the 40th anniversary through facts and colorful illustrations of the incredible mission.

Pair all of these books with several outstanding websites. At We Choose the Moon, follow the Apollo 11 mission through this interactive recreation. The site is broken into 11 stages, from launch to walking on the moon. At each stage, hear actual audio from the mission, see photos and videos. Also, see a photo and video gallery of President John F. Kennedy during his push to put a man on the moon. Apollo 11: One Small Step has an animated comic of the historic event, as well as video footage, photos, and an interactive lunar panorama of the landing. For all things Apollo 11, visit the Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Journal. This incredibly comprehensive site has not only photos and audio, but digitized documents from the mission, including press kits, training schedules, and much much more. For younger children, go to StarChild: Apollo 11. Here you can see short video clips from the landing and the first steps on the moon, as well as pictures. A brief history and general information is also included.

Space Race/NASA History

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone tells the story of the thirteen women connected with NASA's Mercury 13 space mission, who opened the door for females in the space program. Read NASA's history of the Women in Space Program. A site devoted to these amazing 13 women is Mercury 13 – The Women of the Mercury Era. See pictures and read biographies of the women, and read a history of the Women in Space Program.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin's Look to the Stars is an informative overview of the space program, the space race, the Apollo missions, and more, all written for younger children. For older children, read Space Race: the mission, the men, the moon by Tom McGowen. This book discusses the United States' role in the space race, including the beginning of NASA, early space exploration, and the first moon landing by American astronauts. To see the Space Race exhibit from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, visit This interactive, web-based view of the exhibit lets you visit without leaving your computer! For an informative time line of the space race and the moon race, covering the years 1959 – 1970, visit Finally, read a scanned letter from Wernher von Braun, a rocket scientist credited with popularizing the idea of human spaceflight to then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. In this letter, von Braun tells Johnson the United States has an "excellent chance" of beating the Russians to a lunar landing. See it at


Some recent books about outer space in general include Stuart Atkinson's Space Tourist: A traveler's guide to the solar system, in which the science of space exploration and the future of space travel is explored; Tim Clifford's Space, which introduces facts about the solar system and outer space; and Michael Benson's Beyond: A Solar System Voyage, which presents the solar system from the perspective of the space probes. For interactive learning about space, visit NASA’s Space Place. Here you can read online storybooks, get project ideas, play games and see animations of space. Another great site is National Geographic's Space, where you can see pictures of the planets, learn more about outer space, see video, and take a solar system quiz.

All Titles:

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. By Tanya Lee Stone. 2009. 144p. Candlewick, $24.99 (978-0763636111). Gr. 5-7/Ages 10 & up.
Y TL789.85.A1 S79 2008

Beyond: A Solar System Voyage. By Michael Benson. 2009. 128p. Abrams Books for Young Readers, $19.95 (978-0810983229). Gr. 4-12/Ages 9-12.

Look to the Stars. By Buzz Aldrin. Illus. by Wendall Minor. 2009. 40p. Putnam Juvenile, $17.99 (0399247211). Gr. 2-4/Ages 4-8.
Y TL793 .A435 2009

Mission Control, This is Apollo: The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon. By Andrew Chaikin. Illus. by Alan Bean. 2009. 114p. Viking Juvenile, $23.99 (0670011568). Gr. 4-12/Ages 9-12.
Y TL789.8.U6 A5244 2009

Mission to the Moon. By Alan Dyer. 2009. 80p. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $19.99 (978-1416979357). Gr. 2-7/Ages 9-12.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11. By Brian Floca. 2008. 48p. Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, $17.99 (978-1416950462). Gr. 2-5/Ages 4-8.
Y TL789.8.U6 F56 2009

One Giant Leap. By Robert Burleigh. Illus. by Mike Wimmer. 2008. 40p. Philomel, $16.99 (0399238832). Gr. 1-3/Ages 4-8.
Y TL7893.8.U6 A52423 2009

Space. By Tim Clifford. 2008. 48p. Rourke Publishing, $9.95 (978-1606949894). Gr. 3-6/Ages 9-12.

Space Race: the mission, the men, the moon. By Tom McGowen. 2009. 128p. Enslow Publishers, $31.93 (978-0766029101). Gr. 4-8/Ages 9-12.

Space Tourist: A traveler's guide to the solar system. By Stuart Atkinson. 2009. 32p. Fact Finders, $7.95 (978-1429631471). Ages 9-12.

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