Books to Prep for Your Exoplanet Visit

February 26th, 2017 by

NASA made a big announcement this week: Forty light-years away (a measly 235 trillion miles) from our planet, there are seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star called Trappist-1. Three of those planets are in the habitable-zone, which is the zone around Trappist-1 that could possibly sustain water.

What does this mean? Well, we’re not quite ready to climb into our space ships, take a nice nap in hyper-sleep, and wake up on a new planet — but it’s possible that human beings will eventually visit these exoplanets. In fact, NASA released some (fake) travel posters showing off the far-future vacation destinations, like this one:

Take a planet-hopping excursion through the TRAPPIST-1 system, where you can see other planets in the red sky. Credit NASA-JPL/Caltech

In honor of this scientific breakthrough, here is a booklist featuring kids just like you (well, occasionally with super powers and hefty responsibilities) growing up in space. (Book descriptions from the publishers.)

Stupendous Science Fiction Standalone Novels

   

The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh
The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh

Pattie and her family are among the last refugees to flee a dying Earth in an old spaceship. And when the group finally lands on the distant planet which is to be their new home, it seems that the four-year journey has been a success. But as they begin to settle this shiny new world, they discover that the colony is in serious jeopardy. Nothing on this planet is edible, and they may not be able to grow food. With supplies dwindling, Pattie and her sister decide to take the one chance that might make life possible on Shine.

Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass
Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass

Joss is the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. This means that his older brothers took the really cool jobs before he was born. All Joss gets to do is deliver pies. That’s right: pies. Of course these pies actually hold the secrets of the universe between their buttery crusts, but they’re still pies.

Joss is happy to let his older brothers shine. He has plenty to keep his hands full: trying to improve his bowling score, listening to his best friend Kal try (and fail) to play the drums, and exploring his ever-changing home: The Realms. But when Earth suddenly disappears, Joss is tasked with the seemingly impossible job of bringing it back. With the help of an outspoken girl from Earth named Annika, he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime and learns that the universe is an even stranger place than he’d imagined.

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Liam has always had trouble keeping his feet on the ground. Being 239,000 miles from earth doesn’t make it any easier.

Liam is too big for his boots. And his football strip. And his school blazer. But being super-sized height-wise has its advantages: He’s the only 11-year-old to ever ride the G-force-defying Cosmic rollercoaster — or to be offered the chance to drive a Porsche. Long-legged Liam makes a giant leap for boy-kind by competing with a group of adults for the chance to go into space. Is Liam the best boy for the job? Sometimes being big isn’t all about being a grown-up.

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson
Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson

For Violet Marlocke, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy. So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can’t just sit around and do nothing. To get him back, Violet throws caution to the stars and sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is vast and dangerous, and she soon discovers that her dad is in big, BIG trouble. With her father’s life on the line, nothing is going to stop Violet from trying to rescue him and keep her family together.

Splendid Series in Space


Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Zita the Spacegirl series

Zita’s life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye. When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest.

Starbounders by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
Starbounders by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
Starbounders series

Zachary Night has been waiting his whole life for this moment. Like his family before him, he’s finally headed to Indigo 8, a top secret training center where future Starbounders learn the skills to protect the galaxy. But being a Starbounder is no walk on the moon. No sooner has Zachary mastered the warp glove basics than a mission into space goes wrong and puts him and his new friends right in the line of fire. And when a plot to destroy Indigo 8 comes to light, Zachary will have to get back to Earth on his own and fast — before there’s no Earth left to go back to.

George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy Hawking and Stephen Hawking
George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking
George series

George’s parents, who have always been wary of technology, warn him about their new neighbors: Eric is a scientist and his daughter, Annie, seems to be following in his footsteps. But when George befriends them and Cosmos, their super-computer, he finds himself on a wildly fun adventure, while learning about physics, time, and the universe. With Cosmos’s help, he can travel to other planets and a black hole. But what would happen if the wrong people got their hands on Cosmos? George, Annie, and Eric aren’t about to find out, and what ensues is a funny adventure that clearly explains the mysteries of science.

Hunt for the Hydra by Jason Fry
Hunt for the Hydra by Jason Fry
The Jupiter Pirates series

The relationship between Tycho Hashoone, his twin sister, Yana, and their older brother, Carlo, isn’t your average sibling rivalry. They might be crew members together aboard the Shadow Comet, but only one of them can be the next ship captain. So when the Hashoones find themselves in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy — one that will pit them against space pirates, Earth diplomats, and even treachery from within the family — each sibling is desperate to prove his or her worth. The only trouble is, if they don’t work together, none of them may make it out alive.

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
Moon Base Alpha series

Like his fellow lunarnauts — otherwise known as Moonies — living on Moon Base Alpha, 12-year-old Dashiell Gibson is famous the world over for being one of the first humans to live on the moon.

And he’s bored out of his mind. Kids aren’t allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they’re trapped inside the tiny moon base with next to nothing to occupy their time — and the only other kid Dash’s age spends all his time hooked into virtual reality games.

Then Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there’s foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Everyone agrees Dr. Holtz went onto the lunar surface without his helmet properly affixed, simple as that. But Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, Dash finds out, and it’s a secret that could change everything for the Moonies — a secret someone just might kill to keep…

The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos
The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos
The Planet Thieves series

Two weeks ago, 13-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded the SS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short, routine voyage to log their required space time for summer quarter.

Routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last 60 years.

With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. They soon find out exactly why the Tremist chose their ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever.

Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.

Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall
Mars Evacuees series

The fact that someone had decided I would be safer on Mars, where you could still only SORT OF breathe the air and SORT OF not get sunburned to death, was a sign that the war with the aliens was not going fantastically well.

I’d been worried I was about to be told that my mother’s spacefighter had been shot down, so when I found out that I was being evacuated to Mars, I was pretty calm.

And despite everything that happened to me and my friends afterwards, I’d do it all again. because until you’ve been shot at, pursued by terrifying aliens, taught maths by a laser-shooting robot goldfish and tried to save the galaxy, I don’t think you can say that you’ve really lived.

The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles
The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles
The Lost Planet series

If the same thing happens to you, this is my advice: ALWAYS CARRY DUCT TAPE.

This is what the boy is told:

– He woke up on planet Trucon, inside of a fence line he shouldn’t have been able to cross.
– He has an annirad blaster wound to the back of his head.
– He has no memory.
– He is now under the protection of a mysterious benefactor.
– His name is Chase Garrety.

This is what Chase Garrety knows:

– He has a message: “Guide the star.”
– Time is running out.

MiNRS by Kevin Sylvester
MiNRS by Kevin Sylvester
MiNRS series

In space. Underground. And out of time.

Christopher Nichols and his family live on a new planet, Perses, as colonists of Melming Mining’s Great Mission to save the earth. Dozens of families like Christopher’s have relocated, too, like his best friend Elena Rosales.

A communications blackout with Earth hits, and all of Perses is on its own for three months. It’s okay, though, because the colonists have prepared, stockpiling food and resources to survive. But they never prepared for an attack.

Landers, as the attackers are called, obliterate the colony to steal the metal and raw ore. Now in a race against time, Christopher, along with a small group of survivors, are forced into the maze of mining tunnels. The kids run. They hide. But can they survive?

Do you have a favorite book set in space or on another planet? Leave a comment below or send in a review!

— Nancy

Nancy would much rather travel into space than the deep ocean, but really, she’s perfectly content right where she is now. On her couch.

Meet Nancy »

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