Every kid has a fascination for the night sky, and it’s up to us adults to encourage such an interest. The best way to do that is to get your children learning about the sky through reading books, and there is a great selection to choose from out there.
The very first thing to learn about is the constellations, and why they got their names. A very good starter book for kids aged 4 to 8 years is ‘Zoo in the Sky’ by Jacqueline Mitton, Christina Balit, and Wil Tirion.
This book introduces to children, the constellations named after animals. It does this through delightful illustrations of these constellations, showing both a lovely drawing of the animal, and placing the stars for that constellation onto the drawing. The book also has 2 star charts that cover all the constellations in both the northern and southern hemisphere.
A companion book to the ‘Zoo in the Sky’ is the book ‘Kingdom of the Sun’ by Jacqueline Mitton and Christina Balit. Again, the book is aimed at children of 4 to 8 years of age, and is wonderfully illustrated throughout. The book covers the mythology behind the astronomy. It does a great job of explaining why the planets were called the names we know them as. The good thing is, it backs up these mythological tales with good modern science, encouraging your child to find out more about astronomy.
For the older kid, who may feel that these books are a bit too young for them, then you can’t go wrong with ‘Skywatching’ by David Levy. Although basically a constellation guidebook, it has sky charts to cover every month, and a hundred pages of good astronomy information. It gives how to guides, tables, and information on equipment. It is a good, solid book aimed at the kid who wants to go out there with a telescope and start looking. This book will let him understand what he looking at, and how to get the best out of a nights viewing.
‘The Reader’s Digest Children’s Atlas of the Universe’ by Robert Burnham is an absolute joy to a kid interested in astronomy. Not only does this book cover the solar system, deep space objects, stargazing, planets, and the science of it all, but it is also fully illustrated.
This book will take your child from identifying constellations, to how to view them, and what with. It covers the history of astronomy, and who discovered what. A book your kid will dip into time and time again. It’s a book that a kid of any age will happily grow up with, and hopefully encourage them into a career in astronomy, or at least an enjoyable hobby for years to come.