Book like "The Calculating Stars," but for kids?
February 24, 2021 7:42 PM   Subscribe

My friend's 8 year old daughter is into science and wants to become an astronaut. I would love to find her a book about astronauts, loaded with science that explains how things work, with a female protagonist, appropriate for her age. Alas, "The Calculating Stars" fails on that last item. Any suggestions? (Totally open to other age-appropriate science-y books with heroines as well!)
posted by rednikki to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Mayhaps you'll find something in this thread from last week. I love the collective consciousness! :)
posted by stray at 7:46 PM on February 24, 2021

Best answer: Hidden Figures has a young readers edition!
posted by basalganglia at 10:46 PM on February 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I can't tell you either if it's age appropriate or if it ages well, but I recall reading Nicholas Fisk's Starstormers series a long while ago. My dim recollection says it's a bit creepy, though, so it might be for older kids. If nothing else I'll put it in here to add to the aforementioned collective consciousness, along with a mention of Charles Sheffield's children's work.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 12:00 AM on February 25, 2021

Best answer: A Wrinkle in Time, maybe? It’s more fantastical than sciencey — but as I recall, the protagonist’s parents are both scientists and she has positive view on experimentation and science. And the kids go to other planets, if not via rocket ships etc.

Thing Explainer from xkcd’s Randall Munroe isn’t really fiction, but should scratch that how things work itch.

Trillian in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a great heroine, but doesn’t get a lot of exposure compared to Arthur, Ford, Marvin, and Zaphod. Also the things that are explained are very silly, and not entirely tied to our reality. But it’s exactly the kind of silly that the young and young-at-heart like.
posted by jraenar at 1:39 AM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There might be some good suggestions here: A Mighty Girl.
posted by Coaticass at 2:10 AM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Thing Explainer from xkcd’s Randall Munroe isn’t really fiction, but should scratch that how things work itch.

Along the same lines, The Way Things Work Now (an update of the original The Way Things Work) might be worth a shot. Neither of these books are space-specific, but they do give a lot of information about science & technology in a kid-friendly form.
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:48 AM on February 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is a self-link, full disclosure, but if she’s a strong reader and interested in non-fiction,The Mars Challenge graphic novel might be a good fit? Two women protagonists (a NASA employee and a teen) discuss the challenges of human spaceflight and what advances will be needed before we can send a crew to Mars.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:39 AM on February 25, 2021

Best answer: I wanted to recommend Shooting for the Stars but I see DarlingBri has already recommended it in the thread linked by stray above.
posted by scorbet at 6:50 AM on February 25, 2021

I have not read the books but she may find the American Girl of the year from 2018, Luciana, to be interesting. I only know from the doll that she is into space / goes to space camp. It at least has a female age-appropriate protagonist.
posted by kellygrape at 5:18 PM on February 25, 2021

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