Space Encyclopedia (National Geographic Kids)

A gorgeous book, mostly focused on the solar system and known universe, with some interesting speculation and futurism at the end.  Kids may need help distinguishing imagination/speculation from current knowledge in a few spots.

Title: Space Encyclopedia
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Author: David Aguilar
Year: 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4263-0948-9
This is a gorgeous book.  Most pages are covered in photo-like illustrations.  Some captions clearly distinguish art/illustration from actual images, while others do not.  The Lexile is 1100 and there's a lot of text, so this book is going to work best for stronger readers.

The book is mostly a tour of the universe, with the first 150 pages dedicated to planets, stars, and so on.  The author makes use of the idea that one is traveling on a fusion-powered space ship on some pages.  The very end of the book gets into the question of life and possible future space travel, along with the possibility of terraforming Mars, solar sails, and asteroid mining.  Because of the survey nature of this book, this section isn't especially deep, but it might be a good source for early inspiration, that'll need some follow-up from another source.

Younger users of this book may need some help with understanding what's real and what isn't.  For instance, a page on alien life has photo-like images and present tense descriptions of the aliens in the figure captions.  Coaches might need to clarify what's imagination and speculation, and what's current knowledge in some spots.

This is a neat book to have in your FLL team's library (or to check out from your actual library).  List price is somewhat high ($25), but mark-downs and inexpensive used copies are fairly common.

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