Amy Wung Tsao
A Note from Amy
I’m having so much fun putting together this series on outer space! My oldest child is named after a constellation. My middle child is named after a starship captain on a TV show. I’m finishing up a picture book manuscript about the James Webb Space Telescope. I like space!
But I do not dream of space travel. My husband would love to go to the Moon. Not me! I told him I’d be happy to wave at him on the Moon from here on Earth.
“If offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.”
― Astronaut Christa McAuliffe
“Anyone who sits on top of the largest hydrogen-oxygen fueled system in the world, knowing they’re going to light the bottom, and doesn’t get a little worried, does not fully understand the situation.”
― Astronaut John Young
Here are all my favorite resources on rocket launches, floating in zero gravity, and robots in space! (Just a reminder - I am never paid to mention any of these resources; there are no affiliate links.)
A Storybots Space Adventure
Storybots (YouTube or Netflix)
In 12 minutes, the Storybots meet a talking rocket, watch astronauts train, and ask real astronauts how they eat, drink, sleep, and poop💩 in space. The whole Storybots series is educational while being ridiculously fun, although the animation may be a little too frenetic for younger kids. This full episode is available for free on YouTube, if you don’t have a Netflix subscription.
from SciShow Kids (YouTube)
Watch some mesmerizing clips of globs of water floating on the International Space Station!
How close could an astronaut get to the sun?
from Mystery Doug (YouTube)
I love how Mystery Doug’s video titles just pull kids (and adults!) right in. This 4 minute video is all about the sun, and the Parker Solar probe that NASA launched in 2018 to study the Sun.
from NASA, JPL (YouTube)
This playlist is made up of 1-minute long videos about Mars, and the Curiosity Rover. Even though it’s a bit outdated, now that there’s a new rover on Mars, it’s still got a lot of great content in bite-size pieces.
By Clayton Anderson, illustrated by Susan Batori
This was actually written by an astronaut who spent 152 days on the International Space Station! And it’s full of fun little gems like: “Dear Mission Control: Just wanted to let you know I’m on day three of my third pair of underwear. I know I’m supposed to wear them for four days before I throw them into the trash.”
Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story
By Mark Kelly, illustrated by C.F. Payne
Here’s another book written by an astronaut, Mark Kelly. It’s inspired by his time flying with mice on the space shuttle Endeavor. While in space, disaster strikes and only Meteor the mouse, the smallest member of the crew can save the day! While the story of the mouse saving the day is fiction, the real details of space travel come alive in this picture book.
By Richard Ho, illustrated by Katherine Roy
Space travel isn’t just for humans. Robots can go places that humans can’t go (yet)!. This is a gorgeously illustrated book of the Curiosity rover roaming…observing…measuring…collecting on Mars. Even though NASA has an even newer rover on Mars, Curiosity is still going strong! You can also keep up with Curiosity’s latest discoveries on its Twitter feed.
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
By Margot Lee Shetterly, illustrated by Laura Freeman
Did you know there’s a picture book version of the best selling novel and film? It’s actually more historically accurate than the film, to boot. This book is a wonderful tie-in to Black History month, and a reminder that space travel requires lots of people working on Earth, not just the astronauts!
Color along with NASA roboticist Teddy Tzanetos as he talks about how they designed the Mars Helicopter. If that wasn’t enough for you, NASA has even more Mars Rover and Helicopter coloring pages here.
How do astronauts eat in space?
from Gift of Curiosity
A memorable snack time, paired with science learning! This pretend play idea asks kids to think critically about the difficulties of eating in space, and how to solve them! This family used real Velcro, but you could easily use a strip of paper as pretend Velcro.
This was so fun, but now it’s time for me to blast off!
But wait, why haven’t I shared any books or videos about the Moon yet? You’ll have to wait for next month for those!
Until then, have fun lighting sparks of curiosity!
Amy Wung Tsao
P.S. Do you love space too? If you have a favorite space-themed book or video that I haven’t shared yet, please let me know about it!