Reader Reviewed The Usborne Official Astronaut's Handbook by Louie Stowell

The Usborne Official Astronaut's Handbook

Written by Louie Stowell
Illustrated by Roger Simo
Part of the Handbooks Series

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

One of our Books of the Year 2015 - This book, with a Foreword by Tim Peake who in December 2015 became the first British astronaut to go to the International Space station, should go to the top of any must-have list for young children interested in space travel. It’s packed with fascinating information on everything from what to study to help you become an astronaut, to the special training astronauts undergo, rocket science and how shuttles get into space, and what it’s like to live on the International Space Station. Of course it explains how astronauts go to the loo, but the sections on what happens to human stomachs in space is just as icky and interesting! The information is very well presented, and despite the conversational tone there’s no talking down. After all, the children reading this book could become fully fledged astronauts in the 2030s. Inspiring stuff! ~ Andrea Reece

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Tim Peake, European Space Agency astronaut and the first Brit to join the International Space Station this autumn, has written a Foreword to this fascinating book -

"This exciting guide will tell you a bit more about what it’s like to live and work in space... and why getting there and back is such a tough job... Good luck on your journey and maybe I’ll see you in space, one day… this guide is a really great place to start". Read the complete Foreword here. Tim was the first British astronaut to embark on a mission to the International Space Station - he went in December 2015 for a 6 month stint - and in addition the handbook is published in association with the UK Space Agency so rest assured what kids learn from it will be spot on.

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review a sample pamphlet of this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Benjy Randall, age 11 - 'A really cool and fun book that lets you see into the life of an astronaut.'
  • Max Shearer, age 10 - 'Reading this book was a whole mini space experience on its own!'
  • Nathan Carey, age 10 - 'I think this book will make you excited about going into space.'
  • Richard Nae, age 9 - 'If you ever wanted to go into space then this is the book for you.'
  • Alicia Swiercicka, age 10 - 'This book made me feel like I really wanted to train to be an astronaut.'
  • Rachel Zinkin, age 8 - 'I don't normally read non-fiction but after reading this I do. I really enjoyed it.'
  • Holly Wilkins, age 11 - 'For wannabe astronauts or space enthusiasts or anyone wanting to know a little more about space.'
  • Tomasz Hawryszczuk, age 10 - 'This sample handbook was epic! I have already got my Mum to order the full book. Highly recommend to any budding astronauts!'
  • Elizabeth Bridgeman, age 8 - 'This book is amazing. It tells me all about spaceships and space. My fave page is working on the ISS because it is amazing. This is so cool I want the proper book.'
  • Alexander Bisland, age 9 - 'I won’t be a good astronaut because I need to be comfy and can’t live in small spaces! I can’t wait for the official book to come out.'
  • Daniel Bisland age 7 - 'I like the footnotes that give you little snippets of information which will be more detailed in the real book, e.g. how they pee and poo! Also, I like the colourful illustrations.'
  • Dylan Sweet, age 11 - 'This sample was very informative..I learnt facts about astronauts, rockets, equipment in space, space food and jobs you can do other than astronauts...I can’t wait to read the complete book.'
  • Emily Lonsdale, age 9 - 'We liked it because the book reads like it’s you that’s going into space and has lots of lovely pictures to help you imagine things as well as a load of facts we didn't know.'
  • Sam Harper, age 11 - 'I learnt loads and laughed lots with this book. A fun and informative read.'

Win books 1 & 2 in the Rory Branagan (Detective) Series!

To mark the publication of the second book in the Rory Branagan (Detective) series, we are giving away books 1 & 2 to to THREE lucky winners!

To have a chance of winning one of these great prizes, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once. Draw closes on 9 July 2018. The winners will be notified by 16 July 2018.

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Enter prize draw Draw closes: 09/07/2018


The Usborne Official Astronaut's Handbook by Louie Stowell

Discover how you become an astronaut, the training you must undertake, how you travel into space and what you do when you're up there.

With a foreword from ESA astronaut Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to embark on a mission to the International Space Station. Published to coincide with Tim's ISS mission in November 2015, which is sure to inspire a whole generation of children, much as the moon landings did in the 1960s and '70s. This is a whole new era of space exploration and this book features the latest and most accurate information, as it is written in conjunction with experts from the UK Space Agency.


A fun, fact-packed and practical guide to launching your interstellar career! - Booktrust A fascinating guide for budding astronauts. - The Guardian Full of tips from real-life astronauts on how to steer a rocket or spacewalk. A perfect fact book for budding space explorers. - The Daily Telegraph Given that it costs about GBP300 million per ISS mission, we reckon GBP6.99 is a highly cost-effective way of learning how to train for, get to and live in space for kids - without actually going there - Mostly Books This book should go to the top of any must-have list for young children interested in space travel - Lovereading4kids 'Children who fancy a career as an astronaut... will love The Usborne Official Astronaut's Handbook, which gives you the lowdown on qualifications, the horrors of G-force and how to go to the loo in the International Space Station (into a kind of vacuum cleaner, apparently). It's full of good practical stuff' - The Spectator This brilliant guide will tell you everything you need to know about becoming an astronaut and explains what life is like for space explorers. From training tips to spacewalk hints, it's packed with real-life astronaut knowledge! - National Geographic Kids A great non-fiction book, full of information for all space lovers. The children found it fun to read as well as educational due to the illustrations and funny comments. It would certainly inspire children - Practical Preschool and Primary Teacher Awards 'The essential book for would-be astronauts.' - Books for Keeps

About the Author

Louie Stowell

Louie Stowell is a children’s writer. She writes non-fiction about space, spaceships, history and other true things. She also writes retellings of myths about tricksters and other shadowy figures and stories about pirates and vampires. Louie’s also written a book about how to write books and comics about how to make comics. She draws comics about gods and politicians (not together) and runs workshops and loves science fiction and real science more or less equally, although she remains disappointed about science’s failure to (so far) create flying cars.

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Book Info


128 pages
Interest Age: From 8 years


Louie Stowell
More books by Louie Stowell


Usborne Publishing Ltd

Publication date

6th January 2015




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