Book Lists Book Reviews Picture Books

Summer Unplugged: Stargazing

When I was maybe ten or eleven, we did a unit on astronomy in homeschool. Part of it was to track the moon for a month and I remember my mom waking us up each morning around 5 a.m. before she left on her run so we could come outside and see the moon. It was so magical standing out in the dark street in our pajamas, looking for the moon, and then drawing it on our charts.

And then dashing upstairs to snuggle back in our warm beds for another hour or two before it was time to get up for real.

I don’t know what it is about the stars and the moon that are so intriguing, but there’s almost nothing better.

Picture Books:

  • Zoo In The Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton. This beautiful book from National Geographic describes the myths and stories that go along with each constellation.  
  • The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes. This Caldecott winner is only loosely related to astronomy, but it’s so beautiful and sweet, I couldn’t leave it off. 
  • Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle. I’d never heard of this until we got a little boxed set of Eric Carle books when Ella was born, and it’s been a favorite for four years. 
  • The Big Dipper by Franklyn M. Branley and Molly Coxe. This is the perfect introduction to constellations for the very littlest child. 
  • To Space and Back by Sally Ride and Susan Okie. What’s it really like to go into space? Who better to tell than someone who has actually been there? 
  • If You Decide To Go To The Moon by Faith McNulty and Steven Kellogg. If you’re dreaming of a trip to the moon, don’t leave without reading this book. 
Chapter Books:
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. This classic Newbery winner is the biography of Nat Bowditch, who spends his life aboard ships learning to navigate by the stars and math. 
  • The Stars: A New Way to See Them by H. A. Rey. He likes things besides mischievous monkeys and yellow outfits – this book is a really great guide to stargazing, constellations, and all things celestial. 
A Few Crafts, Activities, and Recipes:

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  • Reply Amy August 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    We also like "Eight Days Gone" about the first trip to the moon and also "Kitten's First Full Moon."

  • Reply Elaine August 11, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Don't forget Star fruit! If you want to go online and learn more about the moon, stars and space, see my links here and here

  • Reply Karen August 12, 2014 at 4:02 am

    I love this post. Growing up, I loved looking at the stars and identifying the constellations, especially during the summer when we would often sleep out at night. But I had never heard of many of these books, and there are several I would like to add to my collection. Thanks for the wonderful ideas.

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