The sun is our nearest star, and it the only star we can see during daytime hours. The sun is the energy source for our planet, and as such it plays an incredibly important role in sustaining life on Earth. Below is a review of 8 books about the sun for kids to help them learn all about our wonderful daytime star.
Note: For more space-related activities, see my Space Unit Study page.
The Sun Is My Favorite Star by Frank Asch
This book is a young boy’s ode to the sun. The sun is his favorite star because it comes through his window in the morning to wake him up. It waits for him to come out and play. It follows him wherever he goes. It casts shadows. And it even plays hide and seek with him. This book will be enjoyed most by kids ages 3-6.
What Makes a Shadow? by Clyde Robert Bulla
This simple book provides an introduction to shadows for kids ages 4-8. A shadow is formed because the sun can shine on things, but cannot shine through things. When an object blocks the sun’s rays, a dark shadow is formed. People, cars, houses, airplanes, clouds, and books all make shadows. Some things make darker shadows than others though. Paper towels, for example, only block some of the sun’s light, so they make a lighter shadow than a tree or animal would make. The book also teaches kids how to make a variety of shadows with their hands.
The Sun: Our Nearest Star by Franklyn M. Branley
From the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, this book is all about our daytime star, the sun. Young readers will learn that the sun is much, much bigger than Earth, that it would take more than 3 years to reach the sun in a space ship, and that the sun is so hot it turns metals into gas. The sun is also responsible for providing energy for our food to grow. The back of the book includes two simple activities kids can do to learn more about the sun. This book is most appropriate for kids ages 4-8.
What Makes Day and Night by Franklyn M. Branley
This book uses fairly simple language to explain to kids that it is the rotation of the earth that makes day and night. My perspective is that the explanation given in the book, despite its simple language, is too abstract for kids who don’t yet have an understanding of the earth’s rotation. That is why I used this book in conjunction with a hands-on activity involving a globe and a flashlight to help my kids understand this concept. Indeed, the book does provide a suggested activity using a flashlight that would make the idea of day and night more concrete for kids. This book is targeted toward kids ages 4-8.
Sun Up, Sun Down by Gail Gibbons
This simple book provides all the basic information about the sun, including where it rises and sets, how it makes shadows, that it is too bright to look at directly, that it gives plants energy to grow, and how it shines for longer in the summer than the winter. The book also gives details about the sun’s role in the water cycle by helping to form rain. Finally, the book explains that while sunlight looks white, it is actually made up of all the colors of the rainbow, but we can only see all those colors when the light passes through a prism. This book will be enjoyed most by kids ages 5-9.
Energy from the Sun by Allan Fowler
This book is part of the Rookie Read-About Science series, which present scientific information in plain, simple text, generally accompanied by real photographs. This book focuses on the sun as a provider of energy for all living things on Earth. It discusses how plants make their food from energy that comes from the sun. In turn, animals, including humans, eat those plants, taking their energy and using it for themselves. In fact, the energy in coal and petroleum and natural gas all come from things that lived on Earth many millions of years ago.
Sun Up, Sun Down: The Story of Day and Night by Jacqui Bailey
Early in the morning, the sun begins to rise – time to start a new day! This book takes us through an entire day, and along the way shares lots of interesting information about the sun. Young readers will learn how the sun warms everything with its intense energy, that the sun is actually a gigantic ball of hot gasses, the different kind of rays given off by the sun, how shadow change over the course of the day, how the Earth’s rotation makes the sun appear to move, and much, much more. This book is packed with practical and scientific information in a fun format that will be enjoyed by kids ages 6-10.
What Do You Know About the Sun? by Carmen Bredson
This book is formatted as a series of 14 questions about the sun. Each question is answered with some basic information, a photograph, and occasionally a fun additional fact. Some of the questions answered in this book include “What is the sun?”, “How far is the sun from Earth?”, “Why is the sun yellow?”, and “How long will the sun shine?” By the time kids finish this book they will be experts on the sun. This book is most appropriate for kids ages 5-9.
More resources to learn about the sun
More Gift of Curiosity posts about the sun and solar system:
- Sun paintings
- Recording the Earth’s rotation with shadows
- How planets orbit the sun
- Solar system Montessori 3-part cards
- Solar system lacing cards
- Make a model solar system