We are HUGE science fiction fans, so we’re always on the lookout for kids’ books about aliens, outer space, and any other topic that would thrill our geeky hearts. Here’s a set of children’s science fiction books that the grownups in our house enjoyed as much as our kiddo did. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment!
Earth to Clunk by Pam Smallcomb, with pictures by Joe Berger. What a horrible project! An alien pen pal? The only possible solution is to send him as much horrible stuff as possible, including your horrible big sister! I could not stop laughing at the escalation of hostile packages from Earth and the enthusiastic and friendly notes back from outer space.
June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner. Young Holly Evans, a budding scientist, launches balloons with vegetable seeds into the earth’s atmosphere. She never expected giant vegetables to mysteriously appear on Earth weeks later. Especially the vegetables she didn’t include in her experiment! Wiesner has such a good grasp on how to present a fantastical story.
Superhero by Marc Tauss. This book is just gorgeous. Tauss’s black and white photography could almost tell the whole story, even without the light narration. Maleek and his robot assistant spring into action when the city’s parks start to disappear. The story focuses on invention and science to save the day, rather than fights with bad guys. I love books that ask the reader to slow down and pay attention, and this is one of the best.
Mouse and Kat and the Evil One by Stuart Sharpe. Anyone with an interest in graphic design should snap this one up. Sharpe uses bold fonts, icons, and colors to tell the story about Mouse and Kat’s struggle against a bad guy who wants nothing more than to suppress their positive energy so he can take over the planet. The terminology describing their battles makes almost no sense, but it doesn’t matter, the book is fun.
How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers: A Simple but Brilliant Plan in 24 Easy Steps by Mordicai Gerstein. The art style doesn’t thrill me, but the story and the humor are so enjoyable that I have to recommend this. Obviously we’ve all stayed awake at night wondering how to get sunflowers on the moon, right? The level of detail in the 24 step plan is impressive, and I cannot imagine how much time Gerstein spent putting this together. I read it aloud to Boy Detective, and had to stop a couple of times because he and C-Man were laughing so much. Inventors, tinkerers, builders, engineers, and scientists will especially get a kick out of this one.
Toys in Space by Mini Grey. Grey is one of our favorite children’s book authors. This adventure story within a story is quieter than the Traction Man romps, but plays on the same themes of the magic surrounding children’s toys and the lives we imagine for them. What happens when toys get left outside at night? What happens to toys that get lost? Any kiddo who loves their toys and/or science fiction themes needs to read this one.
Yep, it’s a second book by David Wiesner! Mr. Wuffles is a cat. A cat who seems uninterested in all the toys bought for him. But when he discovers a new toy that’s seemingly shown up on its own, he’s *very* interested in that. And the tiny alien creatures inside the “toy” are not happy about it. Will they be able to escape? This is a nearly wordless picture book, which I sometimes struggle with “reading” to my kiddo, but there’s so much going on here and the panels flow really well from one to the next. We had a great time with it.
Space Dog by Mini Grey
Mini Grey is one of our favorite kids’ authors and artists, and she nails it with this very British scifi picture book. The style is vintage radio drama, the protagonists are cute animals, and the message is inter-species harmony. What more could you need? Once you’ve read the story, double back and look closely at the newspaper backgrounds in the introduction to our characters – and don’t miss the end papers, of course. If you haven’t read her other books Toys in Space and the Traction Man series, you should read them as well!
Pigaroons by Arthur Geisert
I have never read a children’s book like this. Pigaroons tells the story of a theft. A clan of pigs descended from Spanish pirates (?!) steal a block of ice so their rivals, the River Patroller pigs, can’t win the annual ice sculpting competition. It sounds like a ridiculous comedy, but instead it’s this quiet tale of honest intelligent payback in a small town where the most advanced technology is apparently this steampunk-y dirigible? It’s like an alternate history period piece from some very cold part of rural Canada or the U.S. Midwest, where pigs became sentient, walk upright, and use tools. Reading about Geisert gave me context for where this intriguing book came from. Really, check this out if you have a chance.
And that’s the list of our favorite children’s science fiction books! Thanks for reading!