A Tuesday Ten: Across the Universe

It’s Tuesday again!  This week’s list topic is space travel to other worlds.  The rules of the list is that there must be some kind of traveling involved, the character doing the traveling must  be an Earthling. This is actually a pretty popular topic in stories.


The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron (Little, Brown Books, c1954)

The oldest book on this list.  Two boys build a rocketship to help an alien fly back to his planet.  Written before space travel had ever been realized.  It’s very dated in some aspects, but  still a rollicking adventure.


The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos (Starscape, May 2013)

New this year, this is a rare piece of military SF for middle grade readers.  Our young space cadets must save the day when they’re the only ones able to escape an alien attack.  It’s the first in a series.


Starbounders by Adam Jay Epsteain and Andrew Jacobson (HarperCollins, June 2013)

I haven’t read this one yet, but here we have some young space pilots in training for top secrets Starbounders missions.  But when these kids inadvertently wind up on the front lines of a battle, it’s going to take all their new skills and a lot of improvisation to save the day.


Circus Galacticus by Deva Fagan (HMH, 2011)

Lots of kids want to run away and join the circus.  But what if you could run away and join an intergalactic circus?  That’s just what Trix does in this wild adventure tale that’s part science, part fantastical, and all space opera!


Hyperspace High by Zac Harrison (Stone Arch Books, July 2013)

John Riley was supposed to be headed to boarding school on Earth.  So how did he wind up on a shuttle headed to Hyperspace High–the most prestigious galactic school for beings from hundreds of worlds.  John may be “just” a primitive Earthling and his presence at the school might be a mistake, but it’s no surprise that he quickly finds his feet in this school story in space. And easy read for the reluctant reader, with plenty more high school hijinks planned for the future.


High Wizardry by Diane Duane (HMH Books, c1990)

What’s a new wizard to do?  Young Dairine has her brains and her magical laptop when she’s sent on her wizard Ordeal far across the galaxy.  This third book in Diane Duane’s Wizard series is the first with intergalactic travel, but not the last!   Straight-forward fantasy set in space is relatively rare in middle grade.  Most readers and authors tend to interpret Outer Space as the domain of science fiction.


Beatnik Rutabagas from Beyond The Stars by Quentin Dodd (Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2001)

i couldn’t resist.  I mean, how can you create this list and not include a wild title such as this one.  Goofy science fictional adventure where Earth kids find themselves recruited on opposing sides of an alien feud and off on a bizarre adventure in space.  Wild jokes, crazy scenarios and some sneaky Space Mice from Galaxy Four!


Larklight by Philip Reeve, illustrated by David Wyatt (Bloomsbury, 2006)

Steampunk stylin space travel!  Our method of travel in this case is a rambling old house . . . but that’s only the beginning of the strangeness.  This wild Victorian space tale will have our plucky young protagonist battling evil and saving the day in the far reaches of the galaxy!  This is the first of a four book series.


Barbary by Vonda N. McIntyre (Houghton Mifflin, 1986)

A quieter pure science fiction tale from the 1980s.  Barabary is being sent to live on a space station, but when the lonely girl smuggles her cat onto the station, the two of them prove to be the key in smoothing the way for first contact.


A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1962)

I’d be remiss if this wasn’t on my list.  After all, this is travel by tesseract.  By creating a wrinkle in time, Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace are able to travel across galaxies in order to rescue Meg’s father.   This Newbery winner is the first of several that features the Murrays  and their battle against evil.

About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on August 20, 2013, in General Posts, Lists and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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