Welcome, space traveller!

Will you come on a journey of discovery and visit space with the Little Astronauts? Our universe is beautiful and there is a lot to be discovered. As well as stars, it contains lots of other things, like stone, dust, gas, ice, moons and planets. Put your spacesuit on!
3, 2, 1, GO!

André Kuipers

Little Astronauts, an introduction

Allow me to introduce to you Little Astronauts: André, his buddy AstroMouse, his best friend Valentina and her funny dog Laika. Together they have lots of fun on their space adventures. By telling their stories, I like to inspire young children and make them enthousiastic about science, technology and the preservation of our beautiful, yet fragile planet. 

André is a curious and inquisitive boy. He loves space and dreams about traveling through the universe. He is not afraid of the unknown. In his room there are posters of planets and stars and much more…

AstroMouse, or simply ‘Mouse’, is Andres’ loyal buddy. He knows his ‘boss’ well and likes to make André laugh (and regularly startle!). Mouse is always ‘in’ for a new space adventure (as long as there is cheese on board).

Valentina is André’s cheerful friend. She is a real doer who likes to challenge herself. She never goes on an adventure without her dog Laika. Valentina’s name is not just Valentina. She is named after Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space!

Laika is Valentina’s cheerful dog. She is quite lively and naughty, she likes to get attention and makes friends easily. Laika is named after the Russian dog who was the first living being to travel to space.

A real spaceman’s story

My own space adventure started when I was 12 years old and got science fiction books from my grandmother. I was sure at the time: “One day I will look at the Earth from space myself.”

My first space mission

I went to study medicine and worked as a medical doctor for the European space agency ESA when I was selected as an astronaut in 1998. After years of training, I flew my first 11-day mission to the International Space Station in 2004. The mission was much too short, I thought. I wanted nothing more than to return to space to live and work there for a longer period of time. And that second mission came…

My second mission

On December 21, 2011, I left Earth again for 193 days in space. It was the longest European space flight to date. I regularly appeared in the media to let as many people as possible enjoy my experiences up there.

Trailer: Meet André Kuipers


When children are made enthusiastic about science, technology and sustainability at a young age, there is a good chance that they will do something with it at a later age. That’s important and that’s why I write books, give lectures in theaters and encourage children to tinker and discover. 

Three months after my return from space, my first picture book appeared, the proceeds of which were donated to Hoogvliegers Foundation that flies with sick children to let them forget their worries and be pilots for one day. The picture book was an unexpected great success and that inspired me to make more picture books. More than 80,000 books have now been sold, which gives me great satisfaction.

It is no coincidence that ‘Little Astronaut’ André is called André. I created my alter ego on my second space journey. My children Sterre and Stijn were 3 and 5 years old at that time. Every Sunday I connected with home via a video call and told about the Little Astronauts to keep them glued to the screen a little longer. The figures of the Little Astronaut and AstroMouse are based on my son Stijn and his favorite cuddly toy, Mouse.

My first personalized book in 14 different languages!

Do you need to wear a spacesuit on Mars? Can you walk on Jupiter? Is Venus really boiling hot? And what is the most special planet in our solar system?

In A journey to the Planets your young astronaut puts on his or her spacesuit for an exciting and educational space adventure with Little Astronaut and me, the author. 

On a Journey to the Planets is my first children’s book that will be published in several different languages by YourSurprise. This colourful book with personalized cover, your personal message and your (grand-)child or little friend who is, as one of the main characters in the story, visible on all pages in text and / or image.

There is plenty of space to add your own personal touch:

  • Your spacefarer is one of the main characters in the story and can be seen on most pages with his or her face and name. 
  • Leave a personal message for your little astronaut with a nice picture of yourself. 
  • On the world globe you can indicate in which country your young astronaut lives. 
  • Sustainable choice: printed on paper made from Elephant Grass, that is better for the planet. 

With this book I hope to inspire the dreamers, thinkers, doers and daredevils of the future to look beyond their own horizons. Because out there, new worlds are open to be discovered.

Order: www.yoursurprise.com