Moon and Space Books

I’ve long been fascinated with space; staring up at the twinkling lights above imagining being one of the first people to see them and thinking up stories to explain how they got there, or pondering if there’s anything else alive out there. If I weren’t so darn claustrophobic, I’d be saving up my pennies for one of those tourist trips on a rocket ship so I could voyage into the great unknown and see the stars and planets and swirling, multi-colored universes.

Earlier this year I read a book that shaped much of the rest of my reading for the year, a book I gushed about, foisted on both of my book clubs, and mulled over during many empty moments. And it was all about space!

Fifty years ago the world was in turmoil (sound familiar?) The president saw a need for something to bring the country together, to put a temporary halt to the violence and chaos that were dividing the country, to give us something to work on and root for together. (Yeah, that part doesn’t sound too familiar right now, darnit.) So, he made a bold proclamation that America would be the first to reach the moon. And we were off.

Enter Rocket Men, by Robert Kurson. He starts with a brief re-cap of the tumultuous events around the country and world in 1968, Kennedy’s announcement and the ensuing space race. And then he takes time to introduce us to each of the three men who would make history by venturing to the moon. We get a great glimpse into the lives of the three key players of the Apollo 8 mission (Frank Borman, James Lovell, and Bill Anders), their backgrounds, training, and everything that brought them to be in the right place at the right time. We also get to watch the fledgling organization known as NASA navigate wholly uncharted waters. We cheer along with the rest of humanity (in retrospect) as the men loop around to the dark side of the moon and emerge safely on the other side. And we feel just a little more hopeful about the world and humanity as we view the famous earthrise photo, our first glimpse of the sphere of green and blue that supports life as we know it.

This is the ultimate mix of history, biography, adventure, exploration, and the celebration of the human spirit. I was wowed and amazed at nearly every page. The hubs and I read this one out loud to each other and constantly paused to exclaim over the gall of the people involved. We were amazed over and over again at passages that talked about engineers and mathematicians who had a strictly pen and paper proof of something convince the astronauts to climb into overgrown tin cans and launch themselves into the final frontier where literally no man had gone before, with only mathematical equations to guarantee that they would survive and return safely. And the astronauts’ courage to risk their lives to do it.

If you need a little bit more hope in your lives, I cannot recommend this book enough. And if you love this one as much as I do here are a few others to keep you reading!

Moon and Space Booklist

Fiction Picture Books

Moon by Britta Teckentrup

Mousetronaut by Mark Kelly

The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer

Astronaut Annie by Suzanne Slade (see my review here)

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom I’m Off to the Moon by Dan Yaccarino

Mars Needs Moms by Berkeley Breathed

Non-Fiction Books for Kids

The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield

Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin

A is for Astronaut by Clayton Anderson

A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman (see my review here)

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by  Laurie Wallmark

Margaret and the Moon by Dean Robbins

Moonshot by Brian Floca

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum

I Am Neil Armstrong by Brad Meltzer

Earthrise by James Gladstone

One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh

The Moon by Seymour Simon

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty

Non-Fiction Books for Teens and Adults

First Man by James R. Hansen

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (MG and Picture book versions also available)

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Death by Black Hole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Women in Space by Karen Bush Gibson

Fiction Books for Teens and Adults

The Martian by Andy Wier

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Spooky Tales for All Ages

Spooky Books for All Ages

When I was ten or eleven years old I came across an entire shelf of Agatha Christie books in my grandpa’s basement. He graciously allowed me to borrow one and I devoured it, eventually moving through the whole collection over the course of the next few months. And I’ve been a sucker for a good mystery ever since.  This past month I re-read Murder on the Orient Express in one of my book clubs and was reminded of why she’s a master.

With colder weather and Halloween right around the corner it’s the perfect time to curl up with a spooky story or mystery and forget everything else happening in the world outside. So I wanted to share a few of my favorites for all ages. My tastes now run the gamut from the cozy mysteries to thrillers (but I have to take the stronger stuff in smaller doses–I can only take so much of the blood, guts, and truly twisted characters) so there should be something for everyone!  Have a favorite I missed or you think I would like? Let me know in the comments below!

(Most of these authors have written multiple books that could fit on this list. Be sure to check out their complete works for more options.)

Adult–

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

In the Woods by Tana French

Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart

Rebecca by Daphne Du Marier

Love Talker by Elizabeth Peters

 

Young Adult–

House of Furies by Madeleine Roux

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton

Jackaby by William Ritter

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Scary Stories by Barry Moser

Chime by Franny Billingsley

 

Middle Grade–

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

Ghoulia by Barbara Cantini

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox

Doll Bones by Holly Black

The Book of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West

Juniper Berry by MP Kozlowsky

Bunnicula by James Howe

The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia McKissack

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

 

Beginning Reader–

The Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain

In a Dark, Dark Room by Alvin Schwartz

 

Picture Book–

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds

Inside a House That Is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

Skeleton Cat by Kristyn Crow

Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

Nightlights by Lorena Alverez Gomez

Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara

Wolves by Emily Gravett

The Scariest Book Ever by Bob Shea

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

 

And check back to these posts for a few other ideas.

Psychological Thrillers

Truly Devious 

The Devil in the White City

50 Books for Back-to-School

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.  

In addition to all the books I’ve already shared this week, I’m excited to share with you  50 more of my favorite back-to-school reads for all ages. This is by no means a comprehensive list, just some of the standouts over the last few years.  Some are dealing directly with first days of school (whether it be in a pre-school or kindergarten setting for the very first time or a new school or grade for older students) while some are focusing on the ins and outs of a classroom setting, friendships and social skills, and the unique dynamics of social hierarchies withing a school. And all are simply great books! 🙂

50 Back to School Books

Kindergarten Specific

Countdown to Kindergarten

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten

Kindergarten Rocks

On the First Day of Kindergarten

Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten

Kindergarten Diary

Jake Starts School

First Day Jitters

The Kissing Hand

Wemberly Worried

Llama Llama Misses Mama

 

Picture Books

I Walk With Vanessa

Sumi’s First Day of School Ever

My Teacher is a Monster

The Name Jar

My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil

The Art Lesson

Thank You, Mr. Falker

Rain School

The Teacher From the Black Lagoon

Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan

This Is the Way We Go To School

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade

Miss Nelson is Missing

The Invisible Boy

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To School

 

Chapter Books/Middle Grade

Lola Levine is Not Mean

Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters

Frindle

Gooney Bird Greene

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

The One and Only Stuey Lewis

Wonder

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

Stuart Goes to School

Gertie’s Leap to Greatness

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

Real Friends

Wolf Hollow

 

Young Adult

The Hate U Give

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

Stargirl

Homeroom Diaries

Anna and the French Kiss

Drama

Speak

Extraordinary Means

Words on Bathroom Walls

Challenger Deep

The Fall

 

Have I missed any of your go-to’s? Be sure to share them in the comments below! Happy Reading!

 

Young Adult Book Review ~ They Both Die at the End

They Both Die at the End Book Review

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

They Both Die at the End

Written by: Adam Silvera

Number of Pages: 384

Age Range: 14 and up

Rating: 4/5

In a not-too-distant future, Death-Cast, a group that is somehow able to forecast the exact date of a person’s death, calls each person just after midnight on their End Day. This gives people the chance to take advantage of many organizations and companies that create once-in-a-lifetime experiences, offer discounts and help provide for the end of life.

Two very different teens in New York both receive their calls and set out to try and reconcile a few things before they die. Mateo’s a bit of a recluse who needs to say his goodbyes to his best friend and her daughter and his comatose father but his anxieties continue to plague him even in the face of death and he ends up back in his apartment, alone.  Rufus is in the midst of beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend (with the help of a few of his gang) when he gets his call and then dashes from his fake funeral leaving his friends to deal with the cops that show up. They both sign onto the app, Last Friend, which connects them with each other and their differences balance each other out leading to a day filled with sky diving, karaoke, soaking in the sites and food of the city, making amends, saying goodbye and falling in love.

Yes, they really both die but there’s a lot of living, philosophical discussions and food for thought crammed into their last day.  And as the two guys face their mortality, their life choices and what it means to live and love the reader can’t help but face those same questions about their own lives.  It’s definitely eye opening and would make for some fabulous discussions among reading groups.