A Universe of Stories for Kids at the Library

by Alyssa Yenzer

A Universe of Stories for Kids at the Library

By Jennifer Bergen, Program & Children’s Services Manager

This summer, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, and our summer reading program is on board with an exciting space theme. Storytimes and clubs kick-off tomorrow, and we have events for all ages related to space, lunar explorations, and even cheese-making (since the moon is made of cheese, of course).

Children’s books are a great place to look if you want to travel the universe. We will be featuring these titles and more during our summer programs:

In the PreK Storytime Stars programs, Miss Gretchen will read Tiny Little Rocket by Richard Collingridge. It’s an exciting, intergalactic adventure that zips the reader through our solar system with beautiful illustrations and poetic text.

Even our littlest storytimers attending Baby Rhyme Time will get a dose of science with the board book Baby Loves Thermo-Dynamics. No, we’re not kidding: it is a real thing. Ruth Spiro’s “Baby Loves” series takes science down to the simplest level with engaging illustrations that even your pre-walker, pre-talker will love. There’s also Baby Loves Quantum Physics, Baby Loves Quarks, and more.

Kids going into kindergarten and 1st grade can join our Sensational Supernovas summer club on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon for some super silly space stories that are sure to leave them giggling all day. Green Wilma: Frog in Space, Aliens Love Underpants and There Was an Old Martian Who Swallowed the Moon are just a few from Miss Chelsea’s LOL list of titles.

Older students will be exposed to fascinating space facts, activities and crafts with Miss Rachel, as well as some really cool books. Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum explains the mission of this robotic spacecraft, which is still out there roaming around the red planet. Earthrise: Apollo 8 and the Photo That Changed the World by James Gladstone conveys the “profound effect” this incredible 1968 photo had on the astronauts who captured the earth in color rising above the darkness, and the impact the photo had when it was published.

For the Nifty Nebulas (2nd-3rd graders) and Quizzical Quasars (4th-6th graders), these books will be interspersed with short videos from Science Crash Course and some high energy activities, like astronaut training in agility and coordination. Facts from The Space Adventurer’s Guide: Your Passport to the Coolest Things to See and Do in the Universe by Peter McMahon and Josh Holinaty, and National Geographic Kids Ultimate Space Atlas, will open their brains to a universe of wonder. Some of the take-homes they will create include a star clock and an orrery, a model of the solar system to show revolution and rotation.

The anniversary of Apollo 11’s mission has sparked the publication of many new space books. Just browse the new science books and you will likely find several. Try Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed Everything by Martin W. Sandler, or the kids’ version of Douglas Brinkley’s American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race, to up your knowledge. These are written as children’s nonfiction but easily cross over as adult reading for those of us too short on time to take up a hefty volume.

A new Space backpack kit has been added to our Discovery Packs collection for young readers. It contains several new books like Daring Dozen: The Twelve Who Walked on the Moon by Suzanne Slade, and Counting on Katherine, a short biography of Katherine Johnson and her accomplishments working for NASA, as well as a space card game and a planisphere to locate objects in the night sky. Discovery Packs can be checked out for 3 weeks, just like books.

Younger kids will love Dogs in Space by Vix Southgate, which illustrates the “amazing true story of Belka and Strelka,” two stray dogs in Moscow who orbited the earth in 1960 and returned healthy and fine. Young scientists will be inspired by Alice B. McGinty’s picture book biography, The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney, and the power of sharing a good idea!

Join us on June 14 for a fascinating program, “Astronomy for Everyone: Size and Scale of the Universe” from 7:00-9:00 p.m., presented by Kevin Manning from Look Up to the Stars. It will be a virtual journey throughout the cosmos. Weather permitting, we will venture outdoors around 8:30 to view celestial objects, such as the ice crystal rings of Saturn and craters on the moon, through a powerful, hand-crafted telescope. Suggested for ages 8 and up. Check the library’s webpage for more details at MHKlibrary.org.