A Tuesday Ten: A Science Fiction Pathway Part I (0-3yrs)

So, there are always lists out there detailing these or those must-read Science fiction books. Often SF and Fantasy are thrown in together without differentiation.  It’s inspired me to try a different kind of series of Tuesday Ten lists, one that takes readers on a trip from childhood to adult with Science Fiction stories recommended in each age bracket.  A potential pathway so to speak.  I’m going to limit each bracket to ten titles (which is a REAL challenge in some cases), and I’m going to try and put in a range of works, recent and past, that are still available for readers to find.  After all, the point of this list is to give you ideas of titles share with your kids or read yourselves!  There will be many more options in each age range, this is only the jumping off point after all!  Let’s blast off!

This week’s Ten is focusing on that youngest of age groups, babies and toddlers.  Yes, we should be reading to babies and toddlers and exposing them to books.  No, most of them will not sit still or listen for long (that’s perfectly fine).  And every parent will have their own ideas over what to share and read.  But if you’re a parent who would like to add in some science fiction material into the mix, here are ten suggestions to get you started!

Ages 0-3


Zoom Zoom Zoom! I’m Off To the Moon! by Dan Yaccarino (Scholastic, c1997)

This first book is admittedly out of print (which is a shame) but it should still be available used or in most libraries I would hope.  Dan Yaccarino’s adorable rhyming book about a boy off on a rocket ride to the moon manages to be a perfect sing-song story for the very young while still providing a dose of science fiction.  Bright illustrations and jazzy text make this an excellent read-aloud one-on-one or with a group.


I Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton (HarperCollins, c1988)

Despite being over twenty years old this classic picture book by Byron Barton still evokes the dreams of space flight and living in space. Simple text and brightly colored pictures tell the story of a girl who wants to be an astronaut and describes what it would be like to go into space.  Every day activities become something different again in outer space!


Space Walk by Salina Yoon (Sterling Children’s Books, 2012)

This lift-the-flap board book takes a young astronaut on a jaunt to all eight planets (Pluto is left out).  This was one of my family’s favorite reads about outer space when the kids were younger.  The excitement of turning the flaps and naming the planets was the main point for them.  It’s a great little interactive introduction.


Robot Zot! by Jon Schieszka, illustrated by David Shannon (Simon & Schuster, c2009)

A tiny but militant alien robot comes to Earth in his spaceship to explore.  Robot Zot, our hero, explores a house, confronts a fierce beast (a dog) and finds true love.  This hysterical story will delight kids with its over-the-top tropes and action.  Great pictures by David Shannon help to complete the hilarity.


Clink by Kelly DiPuccchio and illustrated by Matthew Myers (Balzer and Bray, c2011)

Clink was once state-of-the-art, but now he’s mostly obsolete, with all the kids wanting newer, fanciers robots.  Can clink find someone who will like him despite his flaws?  This robotic version of Corduroy features an adorable robot character whom kids will be cheering for and happy when he finds a home at last!



You Can’t Eat A Princess! by Gillian Rogerson & Sarah McIntyre (Scholastic, 2010)

It’s always worthwhile to get a healthy dose of space opera story-telling in there.  This marvelously silly book does indeed have a princess and aliens and rocketships, but its all in good fun.  Seriously speaking there aren’t enough science fiction works out there that feature girls or signal to girls that they can be part of the space and rocketship crowd.  This one may be a bit . . . pink, but it’s great silliness for the youngest listeners.


Mr Wuffles by David Wiesner (Clarion, 2013)

This Newbery honor book by the ever-talented David Wiesner wordlessly illustrates the tale of a frustrated cat who nearly captures an entire craft of bug sized aliens when they land in his house.  Fortunately for the aliens, there is a lively bug civilization that is willing to help the aliens escape the cat’s claws.  First contact occurs between bugs and aliens, with both the richer for it at the end of the day.


Boy & Bot by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (Knopf Books for Young Readers, c2012)

Boy and Bot meet in the woods and become friends, but when Bot gets powered down, Boy thinks he’s sick and tries to help him.  Later on, Bot finds Boy asleep and thinks he’s out of power and tries to help him in turn.  Sweet and simple it’s a great story full of gentle humor that even younger kids will understand.


Jack and the Night Visitors by Pat Schories (Boyds Mills Press, c2006)

Jack and his boy have a close encounter in this wordless story.  When aliens visit, the boy tries to capture one, only to find aliens are not fond of being captured!  A delightfully fun story of alien visitors that’s light-hearted and well-suited to its young audience.


Robots Robots Everywhere! by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Bob Staake (Little Golden Books, 2013)

Yes, they are still making Little Golden Books, and yes, this one is about robots!  While the pictures are fanciful and surefire winners for attracting kids’ attention,the rhyming text introduces the range of different jobs that robots can do, revealing how much they are a part of our world.


So here’s my first part of the pathway–stay tuned next week for the 3-5 year old list!  If you’ve science fiction books you’ve loved reading to this age group, mention them in the comments!



About Stephanie Whelan

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

Posted on February 24, 2016, in General Posts, Lists and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

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