Berkeley, CA: Annick Press, 2016

What is the question most often asked of an astronaut? It is “How do you go to the bathroom in space?” That question, and many more on the subject of bodily functions in space, are answered in To Burp or Not to Burp.  This fun book for the elementary set is written by a real astronaut, Dr. Dave Williams, and he answers some very personal questions in a fun, accurate, and matter-of-fact way.  It is just gross enough to be funny, has great scientific facts, and an appealing layout that keeps students engaged.  Sleeping, eating, peeing, pooping, farting, nose-blowing, and, of course, burping (who knew burping in space could be so risky?) are all covered, along with problems like loss of bone density, working with several sunrises and sunsets during a work day, excercise, and much more.

Kids that are interested in the nitty-gritty details of life in space will like this book, and maybe even the somewhat corny jokes.  What’s a book about space without an “out of this world” joke, after all?  To Burp or Not to Burp includes a table of contents, suggestions for further reading, and a detailed index. There is a great mix of photos, humorous illustrations, and fun facts. It is a good addition to any elementary space collection.

Dewey: 612 Interest Level: Grades 3-6

Reviews and Awards: Booklist, Kirkus Reviews starred, School Library Connection, School Library Journal.

Middle school readers might like: The Coolest Job in the Universe: Working Aboard the International Space Station by Henry M. Holden.

Young Adults might like: 101 Outer Space Projects for the Evil Genius by Dave Prochnow.

Fiction Pairing: Star Seeker: A Journey to Outer Space by Teresa Heine and illustrated by Victor Tavares.

Video: The Magic School Bus: Space Adventures. DVD from Scholastic Entertainment, 2013.

On the Web:

Life in Orbit at from the Royal Institute has lessons and video for students ages 7-11.