Marianne J. Dyson

Reading List for Space Explorers

Young Adult Fiction & Nonfiction (NF) about Space

I taught gifted 6th-8th graders in CCISD's WAVE program for several years and recommend the books/stories/magazines/resources below for further study on the topics covered in class. Links go to reviews I wrote or directly to Amazon (where you can read what others have to say about it). Some (nonfiction) books are targeted for younger readers, but still may be useful for adults who want a good summary of a topic with cool illustrations, such as those found in pop-up books!

All astronomy topics

StarDate magazine NF from UT/McDonald Observatory (has star charts and articles)
Analog Science Fiction & Fact magazine (all science-based stories)

Astronomy General

A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Charolyn DeCristofano & illustrated by Michael Carroll
Engineering for Every Kid, NF by Janice Van Cleave
Greetings from Planet Earth by Barbara Kerley
Killer Rocks from Outer Space, NF by Steven Koppes
The Mysterious Universe, NF Ellen Jackson
The Universe in a Nutshell, NF by Stephen Hawking (cosmology)

Living on the Moon

Apollo Outcasts by Allen Steele
Crater by Homer Hickam
Darok 9 by H.J. Ralles
Fly Me to the Moon, SF collection by Marianne Dyson
Home on the Moon, NF by Marianne Dyson
Max Goes to the Moon by Jeffrey Bennett/Alan Okamoto
A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin
Mission Control, This is Apollo, NF by Andrew Chaikin
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Moonshot by Brian Floca
The Once and Future Moon, NF by Paul Spudis
"The Right Path" short story for Christian kids by Marianne Dyson
Shanghaied to the Moon by Michael Daley

Living in Space

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
Comet's Curse - Galahad Series by Dom Testa
Have Space Suit - Will Travel (Heinlein's Juveniles Book 12) by Robert Heinlein
Leviathans of Jupiter (The Grand Tour Book 19) by Ben Bova
Skye Object 3270A by Linda Nagata.
Spacer and Rat by Margaret Bechard
Space Station Science, NF by Marianne Dyson

Living on Mars

How to Live on Mars: A Trusty Guidebook to Surviving ... by Robert Zubrin
The Callahan Kids: Tales of Life on Mars anthology (out-of-print: contact Dyson for info on copies) by Ben Bova, Jim Denny, Marianne Dyson, Brian Enke, Tom Hill, Rebecca Rowe, Michael Carroll
Journey Between Worlds by Sylvia Engdahl
John Carter of Mars: The Collection - A Princess of Mars; The Gods of Mars; The Warlord of Mars; Thuvia, Maid of Mars; The Chessmen of Mars classic series by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Max Goes to Mars by Jeffrey Bennett/Alan Okamoto
Red Planet by Robert Heinlein
Red Thunder (A Thunder and Lightning Novel) by John Varley
Saving Mars by Cidney Swanson.
Welcome to Mars by Buzz Aldrin & Marianne Dyson
"Zeus's Eagle" short story for Christian kids by Marianne Dyson

Astrobiology/Alien Life

Alien Volcanoes by Michael Carroll (art and science)
Astrobiology, NF by Fred Bortz, PhD
Faraway Worlds, NF by Paul Halpern, PhD, illustrated by Lynette Cook
Foreigner: 10th Anniversary Edition (Foreigner series Book 1) by C.J. Cherryh (a favorite series for alien culture)
Life on Earth--and Beyond, NF by Pamela J. Turner
Planetology: Unlocking the Secrets of the Solar System, NF by Tom Jones, (astronaut)
The War of the Worlds (Sterling Unabridged Classics) by H.G. Wells

Astronauts/Astronomers Biographies

Almost Heaven by Bettyann Kevles (women astronauts & cosmonauts)
Apollo EECOM: Journey of a Lifetime: Apogee Books Space Series 31, NF by Sy Liebergot (Apollo flight controller)
Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond, NF by Eugene Kranz (Apollo flight director)
First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, NF by James Hansen
Flight: My Life in Mission Control, NF by Christopher Kraft (Apollo flight director)
Galileo's Universe, a pop-up book by J. Patrick Lewis/Tom Curry & Bruce Foster
Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon, NF by James Harford (Russian chief designer)
The Last Man on the Moon, NF by Gene Cernan (Apollo astronaut)
Managing Martians: A Memoir, NF by Donna Shirley (NASA Pathfinder)
A Passion for Space: Adventures of a Pioneering Female NASA Flight Controller by Marianne J. Dyson
Rocket Team, NF by Fred Ordway (worked with VonBraun)
"Science Fiction Versus the Real Thing" NF articles by Marianne Dyson
Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA's Record-Setting Frequent Flyer by Jerry L. Ross and John Norberg
Taking Off by Jenny Moss (about Christa McAuliffe)
To Fly, NF by Wendie Old (Wright Brothers)
To the Moon and Back: My Apollo 11 Adventure, a pop-up book by Buzz Aldrin with Marianne Dyson & Bruce Foster

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Book Ratings (in my reviews)

ALL BOOKS rated with a maximum of 6 points.
6=Exceptional.
5=Recommended.
4=Okay-Good.
3=Maybe.
0-2=Not Recommended.

Rating Details

Nonfiction Books are rated using the following scale:
  • 2 points for accuracy of facts;
  • 1 point for clarity of explanations, proper use of analogies, terms, and concepts;
  • 1 point for current data/expert quotes;
  • 1 point for readability/good grammar, voice, design, reading level;
  • 1 point for useful and accurate illustrations/photos.
Science Fiction/Science-related Fiction Books are rated using the following scale:
  • 1 point for consistency and plausibility of fictional "facts" with real facts;
  • 1 point for clarity of descriptions, illustrations, terms;
  • 1 point for new concept or perspective on an old idea;
  • 1 point for readability/good grammar, point of view, dialog, reading level;
  • 1 point for science use in plot;
  • 1 point for interesting/inspirational character.


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Check out David Brin's Science Fiction for Young Adults Reading List.

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