Books for Kidsby Award-winning Author & former NASA Flight Controller Marianne Dyson
I write books, stories, and articles about space for kids, usually associated with hands-on activities. A complete list of all my publications is on my BIBLIOGRAPHY page.
See my book pages for more about:
- Home on the Moon: Living on a Space Frontier
- Space Station Science: Life in Freefall
- The Callahan Kids: Tales of Life on Mars
My Famous Coauthor
Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 moonwalker, was one of my childhood heroes who inspired me to work hard in my math and science classes so I could be part of the space program. I even had a poster of him up on my bedroom wall! I earned my degree in physics and went to work for NASA at Johnson Space Center as a flight controller. (Read the full story in A Passion for Space.)
After I left NASA to raise my children, I volunteered with the nonprofit National Space Society. Buzz was Chairman of the Board when I was elected as a director in the early 1990s. I was impressed with his commitment to educating the public about space, and I've read all of his books. We especially share a desire to promote space to young people, and he kindly wrote the preface for my first children's book, Space Station Science.
So when my editor at National Geographic asked if I'd be interested in doing a children's book with Buzz, I jumped at the opportunity to bring his vision of Mars to children around the world. Through Skype, phone calls, file sharing, and DropBox, I wrote and he reviewed the outline, the early drafts, and the final manuscript that became Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet. I expect that a new generation of children will be inspired to become the space-suited figures in a future poster of the first Mars settlement, where they will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Buzz's Apollo Moon landing.
Welcome to Mars Educator's Guide!
The team at National Geographic Kids headed by Laurie Hembree has created a marvelous FREE Educator's Guide for Welcome to Mars! The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are built on the Core Disciplinary Ideas (CDIs) of the Framework for K-12 Science Education. In this Educator's Guide, activities introduce, review, or otherwise address one or more of the CDIs used as the basis for the NGSS performance expectations for each grade level.
The eight-page Guide includes lovely images from the book. Download this 4 MB pdf: Welcome to Mars Educators' Guide.
Download a Text Only version of the Educator's Guide for the grade(s) you teach:
Grade 2 covers the ESS2.B Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions CDI. Maps show where things are located. One can map the shapes and kinds of land and water in any area. Grade 2 only docx file.
Grade 3 covers the PS2.A: Forces and Motion CDI. The patterns of an object's motion in various situations can be observed and measured; when that past motion exhibits a regular pattern, future motion can be predicted from it. Grade 3 only docx file.
Grade 4 covers ESS3.A: Natural Resources CDI. Energy and fuels that humans use are derived from natural sources, and their use affects the environment in multiple ways. Some resources are renewable over time, and others are not. Grade 4 only docx file.
Grade 5 covers ESS2.B: The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes CDI. Nearly all of Earth's available water is in the ocean. Most freshwater is in glaciers or underground; only a tiny fraction is in streams, lakes, wetlands, and the atmosphere. Grade 5 only docx file.
Middle School covers LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning and Resilience Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations. Grades 6-8 only docx file.
Download the docx file that includes All Grades.
I'd be happy to visit your school or library & introduce your future Martians to their new planet. Print out and share this Welcome to Mars flier with your event coordinator.
Welcome to Mars is an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12: 2016 (Books published in 2015). Posting says, "As NASA prepares for a future mission to Mars, moon explorer Buzz Aldrin offers valuable insights, based upon the latest thoughts on what it will take for human habitation on Mars to become a reality." The National Science Teachers Association.
"A high-quality, thoughtful, and clearly written book that encourages young people to build a settlement on the planet Mars." --Bart Leahy for Ad Astra, the magazine of the National Space Society.
"What better person to help kids explore the possibilities of space than Buzz Aldrin, one of the crew of the Apollo 11 mission and one of the first men to walk on the moon. Aldrin, space pioneer and rocket scientist, is an advocate for exploring and inhabiting Mars. In this book, he details how it could be done and what it would be like to live on the Red Planet. The book also includes fun science activities." -- Author Teri Harman's Holiday Wish List: Books for Curious Kids.
"Apollo 11 astronaut Aldrin welcomes young people to his crew for a journey 'to build the first city on Mars,' while related passages fill in information about the planet and the challenges of colonizing it." -- Booklist
"Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, 'Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet' is profusely illustrated and enthusiastically recommended for students in 3 to 7, and should be a part of every school and community library collection for young readers." Midwest Book Review
"Welcome to Mars... could be the book that inspires a new generation of astronauts. International Business Times
Buzz Aldrin's 'Welcome to Mars' Charts Path to Red Planet for Kids by Sarah Lewin, Staff Writer for Space.com. Posted September 22, 2015.
Invite me to Speak
I'd love to share my passion for space at your school or event! I do STEM workshops for students and teachers.
I coauthored Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet with Buzz Aldrin. The NSTA and Children's Book Council selected it for the 2017 award
More About Mars
A great roundup of information about Mars Settlement is on the National Space Society's website.
Check out Mars for Kids from NASA JPL.
Watch National Geographic's video about Mars rovers.
Coauthors, Marianne Dyson and Buzz Aldrin at JSC, 10-2-15.
Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet
by Buzz Aldrin with Marianne J. Dyson
Editor: Shelby Alinsky
Number of Pages: 96
Format: hardback (no eBook)
Publisher: National Geographic
Retail Price: $18.99