Books To Celebrate This Week’s Perseid Meteor Shower!

The Perseid meteor shower is active this week. This annual summer sky show brings hundreds of shooting stars overhead. With a clear night sky, dozens of bright meteors will be visible each hour.

Meteor showers happen as our planet moves through a debris field left in the wake of a comet or asteroid. Earth intercepts this field during its annual orbit. In the case of the Perseids, those tiny stones come from a long-ago passage of the comet.

Here are some books for families to share to understand comets, asteroids, and meteors. Go out together at night and take in the sight! Reserve the print copies today for Curbside Pickup! If you’re new to Curbside Pickup, please carefully read these instructions

*book descriptions are from the publishers

Rocket Says Look Up! written by Nathan Bryon ; illustrated by Dapo Adeola

Aspiring astronaut Rocket draws her community together to see a rare appearance of the Phoenix Meteor Showers, hoping especially that her big brother, Jamal, will look up from his phone.

Meteor Showers by J. A. Kelley

An illustrated introduction to meteor showers that explains the differences between a meteor and a shooting star, how meteors travel through the Earth’s atmosphere, and related topics.

Comets, Asteroids, and Meteorites by Roy A. Gallant

An introduction to the celestial phenomena of asteroids, meteoroids and meteorites, and comets.

Call me Ahnighito by Pam Conrad and pictures by Richard Egielski

A huge meteorite describes how it lay half-buried in Greenland for centuries until it is finally excavated by members of a Peary expedition and begins a new journey.

Meteors by Melissa Stewart

Part of the National Geographic Kids Series

Blast off on a trip to discover the fascinating world of meteors. In this image-packed book, kids will learn all about these objects hurtling through space and into our atmosphere. Written in an easy-to-grasp style to encourage the scientists and explorers of tomorrow!

Comets and Meteors: Shooting Through Space by Chana Stiefel, Part of the Inside Outer Space Series

What has a head, two tails, and shoots across the sky? A comet. Coming from the far edges of the solar system, most comets travel around the Sun, while meteors appear as flashing streaks of light in the night sky. Explore these amazing celestial wonders as they zip through space! This book looks at the difference between comets and meteors and their effects on Earth. The physical characteristics of each are identified in detail. This book won’t come crashing down! It’s filled with fun facts that give additional information on this exciting science topic. This book allows students to use observations of the Sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.

Read more about space in our past Shoot for the Stars blog post.

3…2…1… BLAST OFF! Bedtime Moon Stories for Kids

In the early evening, kids and parents can look for moonrise and see what phase the moon is in and what color it appears. But imaginary stories about the moon are wonderful also, and perfect for bedtime. Learn about the moon in both stories and nonfiction for young readers. No special equipment needed, but binoculars can help! 

*all descriptions are publisher’s material

Moon written by Julie Lundgren

In Moon: Earth’s Satellite, readers will learn about Earth’s moon, other moons in our solar system, and the patterns and phenomena that they cause. Filled with fun facts, young learners will love exploring the scientific information and drawing conclusions about life now and in the future. The Inside Outer Space series takes readers on an intergalactic journey that unravels the mysteries of the universe. Each 24-page book informs readers in grades K–3 on the Sun, Earth, planets, and stars, while also igniting imaginations about the unknown. Stunning photographs and diagrams engage readers, while text-based questions aid in reading comprehension. 

A Kite for Moon written by Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, and Matt Phelan

Dedicated to astronaut Neil Armstrong, A Kite for Moon is the perfect children’s book to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first United States moon landing.

What would it be like if the moon was your friend? Find out as you walk alongside a little boy who journeys through life to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut. And then blast off with your little one as you zoom to the moon together!

The story begins when a little boy, who is flying his kite, notices a sad Moon. He sends up kites to her, writing notes promising he will come see her someday. This promise propels him through years of studying, learning, and training to become an astronaut. Until… he finally goes up, up, up in a big rocket ship with a fiery tail!

A Kite for Moon, written by New York Times bestselling author of How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi Stemple, is a heartfelt story about a young boy’s fascination and unlikely friendship with the moon.

Available on hoopla as an ebook, audiobook, movie, and Read Along.

Earth’s Moon written by Christina Hill, part of the Science Readers: Content and Literacy Series

While only 12 people have actually had contact with it, many songs and movies have featured this shining object. But it’s not a superstar, or even a star at all. It’s our moon. From tides and tracking time to gravitational pull on orbits, the moon affects life here on Earth. Take a trip to the moon through the fact-filled pages of this book! Third-grade students will enjoy learning about the physical features and phases of the moon, tides, lunar calendars, and more through this high-interest informational text filled with vibrant photographs. Aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards, a hands-on “Think Like a Scientist” lab activity is included at the end of the book, providing students with an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the text. Helpful diagrams, including the eight phases of the moon, and text features, such as a glossary and index, are also included to improve content-area literacy and support STEM instruction.

Sing to the Moon written by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl, and Sandra van Doorn

For one little Ugandan boy, no wish is too big. First he dreams of reaching the stars and then of riding a supernova straight to Mars. But on a rainy day at his grandfather’s house, he is brought down to earth with a bump. Do adventures only happen in galaxies far away or can he find magic a little closer to home? A touching story of a grandfather’s love for his grandson and the quiet pleasures of a rainy day.

Moon Phases written by “Baby Professor”, part of the Introduction to the Night Sky Series 

Take a look at the night sky, what do you see? You see the moon wax and wane; and you probably want to know why. So this book will help you understand that. Here, your child will be introduced to why the moon changes, and what these changes are called. 

Also from Baby Professor, try The Faces, or Phases, of the Moon, part of the Children’s Astronomy Books series.

If I Were the Moon written by Sheree Fitch, art by Leslie Watts

A timeless bedtime book that “beautifully captures that perfect moment when a child is tucked up in bed, spellbound by the voice of an older sibling or an adult sharing a special book” (Books in Canada).

With lyrical text, lit up by soft and gentle illustrations, If I Were the Moon makes its triumphant return to print in a beautiful hardcover just in time for its twentieth anniversary.

Breakthroughs in Moon Exploration written by Elsie Olson 

Did you know that twelve Americans have set foot on the moon? Or that the moon has mountains, one of them taller than any found on Earth? Striking photos and fast-paced, newspaper-like text explore everything readers could ever want to learn about the moon. Read all about ancient and odd moon theories, human exploration of the lunar surface, and plans for future missions. Examine the moon through the eyes of studious scientists and daring lunar explorers!

To the Moon written by Jodie Sheperd, illustrated by Mike Byrne

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. Find out more about that big round object in the night sky!

Explore more space-themed ebooks for kids on Overdrive/Libby as well as more children’s ebooks, audiobooks, and even some music and movies (both fiction and nonfiction) on hoopla. To learn more facts about space, check out hoopla’s Aeronautics, Astronautics & Space Science collection or the Space and Astronomy section of the Gale Elementary Database. 

Shoot for the Stars: Resources for Stargazing and Learning About Outer Space

A Boston Globe article from May 6 highlighted a family-friendly quarantine activity that is out of this world: stargazing! The current lockdown has led to a reduction in light and air pollution, resulting in better conditions for observing the night sky. Caity Sullivan, education associate at the Charles Hayden Planetarium of the Museum of Science, outlines some tips and tricks in the article for at-home stargazing with your family, including free star-viewing apps and what to look for in the night sky.

Though you can’t visit the Hayden Planetarium in person, Sullivan and the folks at the Museum of Science have made it possible for the Planetarium to come to you! Check out their Facebook page for Virtual Planetarium events — you can view past presentations and stay informed about upcoming events, including livestreams of what to view in the night sky. If you miss the presentations, take a look at the Museum’s handy May Sky Chart & Viewing Guide — May is a great month to start backyard stargazing as there will be a rare Mercury sighting the week of May 19th!

For even more space-related fun, listen to Pulsar: A Podcast from the Museum of Science. Their episode on Living in Space, featuring Sullivan, is a must listen, as well as their namesake inaugural episode, All About Pulsars. And for young astronomers, learn about our universe through hands-on activities, such as the Museum’s Our Place in Space family STEM activity and Boston Children’s Museum’s treasure trove of Beyond the Chalkboard NASA-inspired activities, including inventing your own constellations, building paper rockets, and keeping a sky observation journal.

Want more galactic goodness? Check out these fiction and nonfiction titles for all ages — some of many available on Overdrive/Libby with your library card number — to keep your whole family shooting for the stars:

8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie
Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty (audio) 
Stars! Stars! Stars! by Bob Barner
Fly Guy Presents: Space by Tedd Arnold
Ada Twist’s Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists by Andrea Beaty
Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House #8) and its companion Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Space by Mary Pope Osborne

Junior Genius Guides: Outer Space by Ken Jennings
How to Be A Space Explorer by Lonely Planet Kids
Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly (audio)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown

And for some further space exploration, check out encyclopedic text about the solar system in Salem Press, or take a peek at our selection of Great Courses videos about astronomy and the mysteries of the universe:

Our Night Sky
Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe
The Search for Exoplanets: What Astronomers Know
The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries
The Remarkable Science of Ancient Astronomy

Happy stargazing!