Posted by: montclairlibrary | July 20, 2019

The Race to the Moon

As you may have heard approximately everywhere, today is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, on July 20, 1969. We did a feature on moon books back in 2014 for the 45th anniversary, but there have been so many great new books, especially about all the people who worked behind the scenes to make the moon landings possible, that it was time for an update.

Here are 15 books for kids in grades K-3 (ages 4-8) about the astronauts, the mathematicians, the mission, the moon itself and more. (For the most part, book summaries are from the library website, sometimes edited for length or clarity.)

15 Children's Books About Going to the Moon, a list by the Friends of Montclair Library

A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put American on the Moon by Suzanne Slade (J BIO JOHNSON) – The story of the pioneering African American NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson (made famous by the movie “Hidden Figures“), who helped calculate America’s first manned flight into space, its first manned orbit of Earth and the world’s first trip to the moon. (See also Counting on Katherine)

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly with Winifred Conkling (J 509 SHETTERLY) (not at Montclair) – This children’s book based on Shetterly’s wildly popular adult book of the same name explores the previously uncelebrated but pivotal contributions of NASA’s African American women mathematicians to America’s space program, describing how Jim Crow laws segregated them despite their groundbreaking successes.

Margaret and the Moon: The Computer Scientist Who Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins (J BIO HAMILTON) (not at Montclair) – The story of Margaret Hamilton, who turned her childhood love of numbers into a job at NASA, handwriting code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter.

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh (J 629.454 THIMMESH) – Culled from direct quotes from the people behind the scenes, NASA transcripts, national archives and NASA photos, the whole story of Apollo 11 and the first moon landing emerges.

My Little Golden Book About the First Moon Landing by Chip Lovitt (J 629.454 LOVITT) (not at Montclair) – Recounts the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, describing who the astronauts were, how they were chosen for the mission and why it was an important event in history.

Eight Days Gone by Linda McReynolds (J 629.454 McREYNOLD) – Depicts the 1969 Apollo 11 mission when man first walked on the moon.

I Am Neil Armstrong by Brad Meltzer (J BIO ARMSTRONG) (not at Montclair) – A biography of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca (J 629.454 FLOCA) – The story of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon — a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969 and a story of home, seen whole, from far away by steady astronauts in their great machines.

The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons (J 523.3 GIBBONS) – Describes the moon’s movement and phases, and discusses how we have observed and explored it over the years. (An updated 2019 version is available at some libraries.)

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The Story of Alan Bean by Dean Robbins (J BIO BEAN) (not at Montclair) – “In 1969, Alan Bean became the fourth man and first artist on the moon (Apollo 12). He took dozens of pictures, but none compared to what he saw through his artistic eyes. When he returned to Earth, he began to paint what he saw. Alan’s paintings allowed humanity to experience what it truly felt like to walk on the moon.” (Publisher)

Man on the Moon by Anastasia Suen (J 629.454 SUEN) (not at Montclair) – Describes in illustrations and simple text the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, culminating in man’s first lunar landing.

Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin (J 629.45 ALDRIN) – Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin tells the story of the hard work and determination it took to achieve his dream of walking on the moon.

Daring Dozen: The Twelve Who Walked on the Moon by Suzanne Slade (J 629.454 SLADE) (not at Montclair) – “From Neil Armstrong’s first small step to Gene Cernan’s last footprint, award-winning author Suzanne Slade captures the experiences of the twelve astronauts who walked on the moon. The book reveals how the Apollo moon missions (1969-1972) built upon one another and unveiled important new discoveries about our nearest neighbor in space.” (Publisher)

To the Moon! by Jodie Shepherd (J 629.454 SHEPHERD) (not at Montclair)
Neil’s imagination takes him on a trip to the moon. Join him as he explores mountains and hills, spots a famous astronaut’s footprints, and collects space rocks for his science project. Find out more about that big round object in the night sky.

If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty (J 629.454 McNULTY) (not at Montclair) – “In language that is elegant, yet fun, this adventure invites the reader on an emotionally charged trip to the moon–from reminders of what one should pack on a trip to the moon, to the exciting countdown and lift-off.”


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