Well, I guess there is a day for everything now, but apparently today is International Children’s Book day. It’s a day to read to your children, and also to encourage a love of reading.
Rather surprisingly, given kids interest in robots and spaceships (not that I’m saying sci-fi is just that), there really seems to be quite a limited range of kids books in the science fiction genre. Most of those suggested seem to really border more on the Young Adult market. There is of course quite a lot in the fantasy genre, and dragons and unicorns also seem very good fodder for young imaginations.
Some of my personal science fiction favorites (some of which may not still be in print, unfortunately):
A fabulous picture book, ahead of its time in terms of a strong environmental message. A man sees a star, which he longs to visit. He orders his factories to build him a spaceship to reach that star, in the process destroying the Earth, and covering it with pollution and rubbish. The heat from all the rubbish wakes up the dinosaurs who have been sleeping under the earths surface, and they clean up the Earth, with dancing dinosaurs breaking up the roads, and others burning waste in volcanoes. The man, reaching his star, sees that it is very dull, and want to visit the beautiful world he sees in the distance, which is Earth. But will the dinosaurs share?
Beautifully illustrated book, about an inventor who creates a machine who’s only purpose is to grow. As it grows and is fed coal and paraffin, houses must be built for the workers, and so rather like the book above, the Earth is slowly covered by machinery. No-one will listen to Olaf when he says that they should stop feeding the machine, so he builds a new home on a platform with plants and animals, supported by a beautiful balloon. Eventually, the roots of the plants reach down to the workers, and they scramble up into the fresh air above, and no-one is left to feed the machine.
This book is full of complex puzzles, mazes, logic problems and spot-the-difference challenges, held together around the story of taking a tour through the galaxy on a rickety spacecraft. I love the humour in the illustrations, and some of the puzzles are genuinely quite hard! Thankfully solutions at the back.
Captain Cal and her friends zoom off into the galaxy – a lovely work of imagination. In truth, the text is not all that exciting, but a lot of the story (and the imagination) is in the illustrations by Richard Morden.
I’d love to hear if anyone else has any suggestions!
You may also enjoy these bits and pieces: