Picture Books in Space?

Picture books are great travelers. You can toss one in a tote bag and head out to a beach or park. Sleek and lightweight, these beautiful books are easy to take along on car, bus, or plane trips.

My picture book Astronaut Annie recently embarked on an out-of-this-world trip — to the International Space Station (ISS)!

Astronaut Anne McClain then read the book for a program called Story Time From Space. This space reading video dropped on their website a few weeks ago.

I’d like to celebrate that far-out trip with my PBB peeps by sharing Astronaut Annie’s voyage to space.

As authors and illustrators, we face many rejections and disappointments. But ever so often, we are treated with a special surprise, such as Astronaut Annie being selected by Story Time From Space. And when a special surprise happens, why not whoop it up a little?

So here we go!

Astronaut Annie’s looong journey to space began in Shenzhen, China.

That’s where the book was first printed.

Then it took a month-long boat ride from China to Maryland (14,900 miles).

Next, Astronaut Annie was trucked to a Pennsylvania warehouse.

A few copies were mailed to me in Chicago. I was asked to write a note inside one book in case the astronaut wanted to read it before the story. 

I sent the book to Story Time From Space in British Columbia, Canada where they filled out official paperwork.

Then Astronaut Annie was sent to Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX to be cleaned and labeled. (Everything on the ISS must be properly cleaned to keep astronauts safe.)

Next, Astronaut Annie was sent to Cape Canaveral, FL and loaded into the Dragon spacecraft on top of a SpaceX rocket. 

After traveling 21,000 miles, the book was finally ready to blast off!

5,  4,  3,  2,  1 . . . Liftoff!  The rocket launched May 4, 2019 at 2:48am.

Soon, the rocket’s two “fuel” stages fell back to Earth. And the Dragon spacecraft began orbiting Earth at 17,000 mph.

Astronauts inside the Space Station spied that beautiful spacecraft outside their window.

Using a robotic arm, the astronauts captured Dragon and pulled it toward the Space Station.

Dragon docked with the ISS. Then astronauts began unloading 5000 pounds of supplies–including food, experiments, and Astronaut Annie!

Soon, astronaut Anne McClain read Astronaut Annie.

She also inspired listeners with her own story of pursuing her dream to become an astronaut!

If you’d like to see the Space Station with your own eyes, go to Spot the Station and find out when the ISS will soar over your house!

(And thanks for letting me share.)

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Astronaut Annie Teacher’s Guide

Astronaut Annie Book Trailer

Suzanne Slade

Suzanne Slade is the author of more than 100 books. A mechanical engineer by degree, she enjoys writing about science topics and fascinating historical figures. Recent books include: SWISH! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters, A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon, The Daring Dozen, Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, Astronaut Annie, Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story, Dangerous Jane, The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, The Inventor’s Secret, and Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. Coming soon -- MARS IS, JUNE ALMEIDA VIRUS DETECTIVE! THE WOMAN WHO DISCOVERED THE FIRST HUMAN CORONAVIRUS, THE UNIVERSE AND YOU, and TBA titles from Calkins Creek, Peachtree, and Random House. Learn more about Suzanne and her books at: www.suzanneslade.com


  1. Suzanne, this is incredibly awesome! I’m sharing this w/my elementary teacher team b/c we have Career Day on Thursday, & I want them to have their students watch the recording of your book being read from the space station. But I also LOVE that you showed how the book was printed in China and went on from there to finally space. I think that is very helpful for kids to see how books are published.

  2. Wow!

  3. What an incredible journey. Kids will love it.

  4. What an amazing voyage Astronaut Annie has been on and continues to be on! You’ve documented it for all to see and kids are going to be so intrigued. Love how Astronaut Anne reads Astronaut Annie and talks about her own journey into space.

  5. Coolest thing ever!! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. That is soooooo awesome!! Wonderful post!

  7. Wonderful and inspirational! Congrats!

  8. Love this! Thanks for the incredible visuals, including noting the distances your book traveled. Wow!

  9. Wonderful to have this entire experience shared now with many more! Thanks, Suzanne. Congratulations!

  10. Incredible! Perfect everything! Congratulations!

  11. So very awesome! A “book launch” out of this world!

  12. How cool is that? What a great bit of very interesting news. Congratulations?

  13. Awesome story and amazing journey for your book! Congratulations!

  14. Fantastic post!

  15. This. Is. An. Amazing. Story!…TOTALLY AMAZING!

  16. Hey from Philly, Suzanne! I just found this article now. I remember last May, thinking how freaking cool it was that Ann(ie) M. had her own PB, and was reading it on the ISS. I also saw her read it, but at the time, didn’t know of you (yet?) and PBB. So to find this article is extra exciting. All the pieces come together. ?First,I need to get this book to add to my Kidlit recording-studio library, which has a killer Space themed wing now. I will feature you when it comes and send you a photo “in the wild.” Secondly, whenever you start writing your next NF PB, please consider music for it. This is the kind of juicy, important,&girl-powered subject that inspires ballads. Kids remember the story forever because they sang about it or heard a song about it. Of course, writing a song about Astronaut Annie would’ve been extra fun for me, lol. Do you fancy a try at lyric writing? If so, you’ll find me on Twitter. Finally, the way this article was laid out was fantastic. I need to learn to do that…so organized and easy to follow. Not run on words and thoughts like I am writing now……..?Congrats & bye✌???????Annie Lynn?

  17. Suzanne, this is beyond cool. What an amazing trip your book has had!!! So fun!!! Thanks for sharing.

  18. Thanks Vijaya. I appreciate your kind words and for taking the time to celebrate this with me!

  19. Wow! Talk about a book flying high.

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