Person reading a book with dreamy imagery of space on a yellow and purple background - Envato license 5H97QPSAW4

STEAM Around Us: Space Exploration From The Couch

April 20, 2022

by Chelsea Kowalski

With so much unknown about the universe and space itself, students (and teachers too!) find themselves with a myriad of questions: What does life look like in space? What are the origins of the constellations? What lies beyond what we have already explored? What does zero gravity feel like? Books are an incredible way for students to explore some of these questions and inspire them to learn more about space. Below is a diverse selection of titles that shine a light on the incredible phenomena that exist both in our sky and in space. Every book offers an opportunity for readers to delve deeper into space exploration and learn more about the science behind some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.

For younger readers, here are some books that provide both entertainment and education about space and what lies above us and beyond: 

Kids' illustration of space explorers blasting off in a spaceship from Earth, with a starry sky background

The Explorers Club
by the Canadian Space Agency 

With astronaut David Saint-Jacques’s personal experiences of reading stories to his children from space, the Canadian Space Agency developed an e-book about a group of young explorers who set off on a fantastical journey through space, chasing after their dog, Chewie. The book is available online, on video, and in downloadable format.

The Space Adventurer's Guide book cover with people in spacesuits standing in front of spacecraft on the moon

The Space Adventurer’s Guide: Your Passport to the Coolest Things to See and Do in the Universe by science journalist Peter McMahon, with illustrations by Josh Holinaty (Kids Can Press, 2018). Age Recommendation: 8 to 12

Your very own travel guide to creating the perfect space adventure, from learning how to withstand extreme G-force, to packing the right lunch, to choosing the best time for a walk on the moon. With tons of science lessons, fun facts, and photographs, this book is key to a good space vacation.

The Northern Lights book cover, with a dark landscape background and northern lights in the sky

The Northern Lights
by writer Diane Ellis (Inhabit Education, 2018). Age Recommendation: 5 to 7

Part of the Nunavammi Reading Series, this book is all about the northern lights that come into view in Iqaluit, Nunavut, including the stories surrounding them. Available in English, Inuktitut, and Inuinnaqtun. 

Strong Stories Métis: How The Moon Came to Be book cover with illustration of two people dancing around a fire

Strong Stories Métis: How the Moon Came to Be
by Métis artist and lecturer Leah Marie Dorion (Strong Nations, 2018). Age Recommendation: 9 to 12

As part of the Strong Stories: Métis series, this book focuses on the traditional Métis story of the creation of the Moon, including how Mother Earth and Grandmother Moon got their names.

For more experienced readers, here are some books that explore questions about Indigenous star knowledge, the thrill of space travel, and the history of Canadian space exploration.

Kitcikisik (Great Sky): Tellings that Fill the Night Sky book cover with constellation illustration

Kitcikisik (Great Sky): Tellings that Fill the Night Sky
by Ininiw/Cree Knowledge and Dream Keeper Wilfred Buck with illustrations by Mistawasis Buck (Indigenous Education Press, 2021). Age Recommendation: 13+

Wilfred Buck explains the origins of several constellations, including Mista Muskwa (Great Bear), Mistatim (Horse) and Ocik (Fisher). This work is complete with Cree terms and syllabics, as well as maps of the constellations and original artwork.

The Apollo Murders book cover with spacecraft against a dark background

The Apollo Murders by former astronaut and ISS commander Chris Hadfield (Penguin Random House Canada, 2021). Age Recommendation: 13+

Set in 1973, this thriller combines incredible technical details about space exploration with the suspense and excitement of space travel and the fight for survival among hidden dangers.

Canadarm and Collaboration book cover with astronauts floating in space against a starry sky background

Canadarm and Collaboration:
How Canada’s Astronauts and Space Robots Explore New Worlds by space writer Elizabeth Howell (ECW Press, 2020). Age Recommendation: 13+

This book provides a deep dive into Canada’s role in international space exploration and how the development of the Canadarm started our national astronaut program. Inside are interviews with some of the most prominent astronauts, politicians, and key players in space exploration for the past four decades. 

This article originally appeared in the fifth issue of Root & STEM, Pinnguaq’s free print and online STEAM resource supporting educators in teaching digital skills

Chelsea Kowalski

Chelsea Kowalski

About the author

Chelsea is an avid writer, editor, and reader. She studied English at the University of Toronto and Publishing at Ryerson University. She is passionate about Canadian publishing and supporting readers in their search for all types of stories.