It’s no surprise that the moon has always been an important part of human history and society. The moon’s path affects the tides, and the phases of the moon have been used to tell time since the beginning of human history, giving us a natural calendar before we could figure out the time on our own. Long before the space race gave us the chance to walk on the moon’s surface, scientists and astronomers from many different cultures studied the moon and tried to figure out how old it was and where it was going. They also came up with ideas and wrote books about the moon and where it might have come from.
Because the moon is so pretty, it is often mentioned in stories, poems, and songs. A lot of cultures have made the moon a religious focus by making up stories about moon gods or making up stories about this celestial object, like the Viking tale that the moon and sun will be eaten by wolves at Ragnarok. There are a lot of songs about the moon, and artists and writers often use the moon as a metaphor in their work.
Even now, people are still interested in the moon. Astronomers often point their telescopes at the moon’s surface, and some people use the lunar schedule to get back in touch with nature. Here are some of the best books about the moon for people who want to learn about all of its different sides.
1. THE BOOK OF THE MOON BY MAGGIE ADERIN-POCOCK
Dr. Aderin-Pocock has always loved studying the moon. She is a well-known scientist and the host of the popular BBC show The Sky at Night. In The Book of the Moon, she talks about many different parts of moon study that will be interesting to both new and experienced skywatchers. The Book of the Moon looks at the past of how people have interacted with the moon, its geography, and the possible future of space travel.
2. THE MOON: A CELEBRATION OF OUR CELESTIAL NEIGHBOUR BY ROYAL OBSERVATORY GREENWICH AND COLLINS ASTRONOMY
The Moon was made by Royal Observatory Greenwich to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. It gives an excellent outline of the moon for people who are interested in the science and social effects of our neighbour in space. It talks about how scientists have looked at the moon over the years and what happened before the first trip to the moon.
3. THE MOON BY HANNAH PANG, ILLUSTRATED BY THOMAS HEGBROOK
Hannah Pang’s The Moon is a beautifully drawn book about our history and cultural relationship with the moon. It is a great book for people who are just starting to learn about the moon, but even people who have been studying it for a long time will find new facts and trivia on its pages. It looks at myths, stories, and how the moon affects our daily lives, as well as the science behind our relationship with the moon over time.
4. EIGHT YEARS TO THE MOON: THE HISTORY OF THE APOLLO MISSIONS BY NANCY ATKINSON
Almost everyone knows at least a little bit about the 1969 Moon Landing. Most people know the names of the astronauts and the first words spoken on the moon, but fewer people know about the long trip they took to get there. Eight Years to the Moon has stories from a lot of people in the background, like the engineers and other scientists who worked to make sure the Apollo astronauts got to their goal safely.
5. HIDDEN FIGURES: THE STORY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN WHO HELPED WIN THE SPACE RACE BY MARGOT LEE SHETTERLY
In the 1960s, when the Apollo missions took place, racism and segregation were common, and the many contributions of Black scientists were often ignored. This was true for the African American women mathematicians Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine, who all worked for NASA. Their calculations made it possible for moon trips to happen. In her book, Shetterly tells about the lives of these women, whose work in science changed the world.
6. THE QUIET MOON BY KEVIN PARR
The moon has also had a big effect on our lives on Earth. In The Quiet Moon, Kevin Parr uses the moon as a way to look at a year of being in touch with nature. He does this by using a lunar schedule and Celtic history as inspiration.
7. BENEATH THE MOON: FAIRY TALES, MYTHS, AND DIVINE STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD BY YOSHI YOSHITANI
Since the moon has been so important to human history and culture, it’s not strange that it has been a part of so many legends and stories from all over the world. Yoshi Yoshitani tells myths from all over the world in Beneath the Moon. Some of the stories are about moon gods or are about the moon.
8. DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS BY SUE LYNN TAN
Because the moon was so important to people in the past and was often the most accurate calendar, many countries have moon goddesses. Daughter of the Moon Goddess is based on the Chinese legend of the moon goddess Chang’e. It follows Chang’e’s daughter Xingyin as she sneaks into the Celestial Kingdom to find her mother, who has been banished.
If seeing the moon has made you want to learn more about space, try one of the books on our list of the 9 Best Books About Astronomy. 20 Folklore Books From Different U.S. Cultures is a good place to start if you want to learn more about folklore.
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