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Children's Fiction Imagination & Play

Only Astronaut, The

by (author) Mahak Jain

illustrated by Andrea Stegmaier

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2023
Imagination & Play, Friendship, New Experience
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 3 to 7


A girl who loves solo space travel learns that having a partner can be even better.

Avni loves being the only astronaut in her space station. She's in charge of when she takes off and where she goes. But space exploration can be a lot of work for one astronaut. It's time for a new mission: find an assistant. Avni crisscrosses the distant galaxies (her neighborhood) in search of the perfect partner. Does that even exist? Will Avni make space for a copilot or will it be mission impossible?

Award-winning author Mahak Jain has crafted a witty and wonderful story about friendship, imagination and the thrill of a good adventure. Andrea Stegmaier's dynamic and highly detailed art uses line drawing overlays in orange, for Avni, and blue, for Aya, to cleverly depict the world as seen in each of their imaginations. It's a terrific representation of a child making room for both their own creativity and another's perspective. Avni's regular mantra, “An astronaut never gives up,” celebrates the power of perseverance and collaboration without compromising one's goals. This book highlights the character education concepts of teamwork, cooperation, adaptability and resilience. It also offers an invitation to children to use their imaginations and remain open to the exciting possibilities of exploration (as astronauts or aquanauts!).

About the authors

Mahak Jain is a writer and editor based in Toronto, Ontario. She is enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Guelph, where she is working on a novel. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Room Magazine and The New Quarterly, and her first book for children is forthcoming from Owlkids Books in 2016. She was previously the Managing Editor at Owlkids and at Lobster Press, and continues to provide editorial services on a freelance basis. Maya is Mahak's first picture book.

Mahak Jain's profile page

Andrea Stegmaier is an illustrator and an architect with a passion for children's books. She draws digitally and traditionally, straight lines and wonky lines, serious and funny things, animals and people, houses and plants, anything and everything. Andrea lives with her family in Stuttgart, Germany.

Andrea Stegmaier's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Showcasing imaginative play and creative engineering, this tale homes in on youngsters' ambitions and focused passions ... Both STEM encouragement and friendship navigation, all while reaching for the stars.—Kirkus Reviews

The Only Astronaut combines several important themes for this age group, including friendship, failure as part of the learning process, and persistence. It is also a welcome addition to the STEAM bookshelf as it features a diverse cast of characters. Mahak Jain and Andrea Stegmaier were excellent copilots of this sweet story of perseverance and friendship.—CM Magazine

Other titles by Mahak Jain

Other titles by Andrea Stegmaier