Are you a geeky parent who dreams of passing on your passions to your child? You’ll want to start them young. Sure there are plenty of adorable baby clothes and toys, but reading to your child does so much for their developing minds. I tapped guest writer Rachel Bieber, a public librarian and 1/2 of the Rachel & Sam Read a Story Podcast, to find you some excellent science fiction books to share with your younglings.
It is never too early to initiate your children into reading science fiction. Of course, you can just read them books about teddy bears having picnics, frogs jumping on lily pads, and ballerina pigs trying on dresses. Or you can introduce fantastical ideas about how the world could work if you add a bit of imagination that’s only loosely based on reality. Just as for adults, books for kids as young as 2 come in all sorts of genres. Pick up the following and tuck in for some of the best bedtime stories with your little ones!
Space Case | Edward Marshall, illustrated by James Marshall
What happens when a space alien visits earth… on HALLOWEEN?! Your 3-6 year old will giggle at the antics of a tiny robot alien blending right in during trick-or-treating, and will want to take his own beeping visitor home for a slumber party. Everyone the robot interacts with is entirely nonchalant about a flying saucer hanging around. It’s weird to think of something published in 1980 as a classic, but this book fits the bill.
Orion and the Dark | Emma Yarlett
This gorgeous book combines pencil drawings, recycled paper collage, and watercolors to evoke the terror a child feels at the impending dark at bedtime. Orion tries everything from staging a protest against the dark to eating lots of carrots to improve his night vision. When his final stand brings the dark’s sentience to take Orion on an adventure to help him not be afraid, Orion’s manners kick in and he politely accepts, learning some of the darkest places are the most fun!
Earth Space Moon Base | Ben Joel Price
Tentacles. Alien tentacles. Also, bananas on the moon. Did you know that’s how the space explorers on a secret moon base keep monsters from eating us? Yeah, bananas. I was surprised, too. This short, fun little book in a British-English rhyme scheme (“data” apparently rhymes with “crater”) is your toddler’s first introduction to the possibilities of space travel and making nice with aliens (so they don’t eat you).
OH NO! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) | Mac Barnett, illustrated by Dan Santat
OH NO! is cautionary tale for your budding inventor about what can go wrong if you fail to teach your robot Isaac Asimov’s three rules of robotics. Filled with the threat of planetary destruction by kaiju, the cinematic panel illustrations hearken back to the Showa period of Godzilla movies if they were shot from a child-genius’s perspective.
We’re in the Wrong Book! | Richard Byrne
Hear me out on this one. At face value, this does not seem like a sci-fi book. If you consider that each type of book is a universe in and of itself, getting bumped from book-type to book-type is inter-dimensional travel. Bella and Ben jump into counting books, comic books, and even an eBook. Besides the premise, the genius of this title is in Bella and Ben’s interactions with the characters and scenery within the books. None of the in-story characters are alarmed by the appearance of these young interlopers, and all help them along–just like most of the folks The Doctor bumps into on his travels.
Rachel Bieber is a Public Librarian in the city of Torrance, California. You can listen to Rachel and her podcasting partner Sam Gasch read and comment on most of these reviewed books MST3K style on their podcast Rachel & Sam Read a Story.
What kids books do you recommend? Share them with us in the comments!
Featured image credit: Peter Hopper