Lunar and Planetary Institute

Beyond Earth - Resources - Books
EXPLORE! Beyond Earth



Carson, M. K. (2008). Extreme planets! Q & A. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
Presents answers to questions such as, what makes a planet? Why is the earth the only known world where life exists and how can a planet's day be longer than its year?

Tuchman, G. (2014). Planets. New York, NY: Scholastic.
Planets guides beginning readers on a journey of exploration through the solar system, showing how planets were formed, their attraction to stars, moons, and satellites, and how we humans explore our space neighborhood — the Milky Way galaxy — and beyond.


Badger, H., Greulich, D., & Spartels, S. (2010). The slime volcano. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Egmont.
When Kip gets trapped on a slimy, gross planet, he thinks it's the worst mission ever. Then he meets the gigantic hairy monsters that are stuck there as well.

Ganz-Schmitt, S., & Prigmore, S. (2014). Planet Kindergarten.
A young child imagines going off to Kindergarten as a journey to another planet.

Herman, G. (2009). Welcome to Planet 51. New York, NY: Harper.
When Chuck, an astronaut from Earth, lands on Planet 51, Lem and his alien-obsessed friends show him around, but then the army hears of Chuck's presence and plans to catch and kill him. (series)

Heos, B. (2015). Be safe on the playground.
A boy teaches an alien from a planet with no gravity how to be safe on a playground.

Milgrim, D. (2007). Another day in the Milky Way. New York: G.P. Putnams Sons.
A young boy wakes up on a strange planet and encounters a variety of odd characters as he tries to find his way home.

Mitton, T., & Parker-Rees, G. (2005). Come to tea on Planet Zum-Zee. London: Orchard.
With floating pizzas, musical biscuits, and a wiggling, giggling cake, all the creatures are bound to have a delicious day on Planet Zum-Zee. (series)

O'Ryan, R., & Jack, C. (2013). Hello, Nebulon!. New York: Little Simon.
Moving from Earth to the futuristic planet Nebulon in 2120, eight-year-old Zack is nervous about starting school and meeting people. (series)

Scieszka, J., & Smith, L. (2001). Baloney, Henry P. New York: Viking.
A transmission received from outer space in a combination of different Earth languages tells of an alien schoolboy's fantastic excuse for being late to school again.

Ages 8-12


Berkowitz, J., Wyatt, V., & Gagnon, C. (2009). Out of this world: The amazing search for an alien earth. Toronto: Kids Can Press.
Are we alone in the universe? Probably not, say most scientists.

Breidahl, H. (2002). Extraterrestrial life: Life beyond Earth?. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House Publishers.
Find out about the possibility of life on other planets, as well as the microscopic organisms that live in weird places, like on your body, in the driest, coldest, and deepest places on earth, and even in sand!

Carson, M. K. (2013). Beyond the solar system: Exploring galaxies, black holes, alien planets, and more : a history with 21 activities.
Children will follow along as the realization that the Earth is not at the center of the universe leads all the way up to recent telescopic proof of planets orbiting stars outside the solar system. In addition to its engaging history, this book contains 21 hands-on projects to further explore the subjects discussed.

Jefferis, D. (1999). Alien lifesearch: Quest for extraterrestrial organisms. New York, NY: Crabtree Pub.
Discusses what other planets may have the right conditions to support life and surveys aliens, unidentified flying objects, and our exploration of space.

Jemison, M., & Rau, D. M. (2013). Discovering new planets. New York: Children's Press.
This book explains how astronomers discover new planets

Hile, L. (2014). Aliens and UFOs.
More than any other strange phenomena, the existence of life on other planets has sparked the most discussion. Could life "out there" exist? Using the scientific method and other information, this book aims to find out!

Kops, D. (2012). Exploring exoplanets. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications.
Looks at the nature of planets that lie beyond our solar system.

Mapua, J., In Killcoyne, H. L., In Kemmerer, J., & Moy, M. (2015). What Is a Planet?.
From our Solar System to beyond, find out just what makes a planet a planet.

Portman, M. (2013). Are there other Earths?.
Readers will find out about the other planets that scientists have discovered through accessible text, fact boxes, and photographs. They will be introduced to scientific tools including the Kepler telescope, which has assisted in locating many planets outside of our solar system.

Saucier, C. A. P. (2015). Explore the cosmos like Neil DeGrasse Tyson: A space science journey.
Catch the thrill of the cosmos and space science through the life of Neil deGrasse Tyson. In language neither too simple nor overly technical, the author interweaves up-to-date information about the universe and the science of astrophysics with a biographical portrait of the famous astrophysicist.

Solway, A. (2011). Why is there life on Earth?. Chicago, Ill: Raintree.
Looks at what characteristics make Earth able to support life and determines that a wider range of conditions are survivable than once thought.

Wittenstein, V. O. (2010). Planet hunter: Geoff Marcy and the search for other Earths. Honesdale, Pa: Boyds Mills Press.
He has discovered more planets than anyone in history. In this inspiring true story, Geoff Marcy's love of space helped him overcome struggles in his studies until finally he became an astronomer. It would not be easy to find a planet outside our solar system. Others had tried and failed. But Marcy never gave up.


Aguilar, D. A. (2013). Alien worlds: Your guide to extraterrestrial life.
Considers the plausibility of alien life and what creatures living on extrasolar planets might be like, drawing on scientific sources to depict alien creatures that have adapted to the unique characteristics of their respective environments.

Brake, M., Jack, C., & Ford, G. (2012). The alien hunter's handbook: How to look for extra-terrestrial life. London: Kingfisher.
Do you think we are alone in the Cosmos, or do you think we have neighbors? This is a step-by-step, practical handbook that shows you how life evolved on planet Earth, and how to go about finding other forms of life in other parts of the Universe.

Halpern, P., & Cook, L. (2004). Faraway worlds: Planets beyond our solar system. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Pub.
A introduction to the search for and discovery of planets ouside our solar system and what life may be like on such distant worlds

Hatke, B. (2011). Zita the spacegirl: Book one. New York: First Second.
When young Zita discovers a device that opens a portal to another place, and her best friend is abducted, she is compelled to set out on a strange journey from star to star in order to get back home.

Krokos, D. (2013). The planet thieves.
On a routine voyage aboard an Academy spaceship, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and his fellow cadets are attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last sixty years.

Mass, W., Brawer, M., & Gravel, E. (2014). Space taxi: Water planet rescue. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
Archie Morningstar's dad drives a taxi through outer space! And with the help of a talking cat named Pockets, Archie and his dad help fight crime across the universe. (Series)

O'Brien, P. (2009). You are the first kid on Mars. New York: Penguin Group.
Follow a young boy as he boards a ship and discovers firsthand what it would be like to travel to and live on the planet Mars.

Steer, D., & Blythe, G. (2010). Alienology. Dorking: Templar.
Apparently written in 1969, 'Alienology' is a tongue-in-cheek training manual for S.P.A.C.E. (the Society for the Promotion of Alien Cantact with Earth). It gives advice on identifying alien species, as well as eye-opening facts about our universe.

Stilton, G. (2015). Spacemice.
Geronimo Stilton meets outer space in this cosmically fun spin-off series! Friends of the spacemice have disappeared on a strange ice planet, Polarix!

Young Adult


Miller, R. (2002). Extrasolar planets. Brookfield, Conn: Twenty-first Century Books.
Chronicles the discoveries of all the planets within our solar system, as well as planets beyond our system.

Nardo, D. (2006). The search for extraterrestrial life. San Diego, Calif: Lucent Books.
Examines space and the search for extraterrestrial life.


Adams, D. (1980). The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. New York: Harmony Books.
After Earth is demolished to make way for a new hyperspatial expressway, Arthur Dent begins to hitchhike through space.

Amano, K. (2008). Aria. Los Angeles, CA: Tokyopop Inc.
On planet Aqua, in the town of Neo-Venezia, that Akari now calls home, she adapts herself to a more primitive lifestyle and works as a gondolier tour guide. Vol. 1.

Herbert, F. (1965). Dune. Philadelphia: Chilton Books.
Future space fantasy concerning a time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation and receives the help of a space-age Messiah and prophet.

Wells, H. G., & McKowen, S. (2014). The war of the worlds.
As life on Mars becomes impossible, Martians and their terrifying machines invade the earth. Includes discussion questions.

Special thanks to Vivian White, Astronomy Educator at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, for these suggestions!


Last updated
June 3, 2015


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