The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisp and cool, and the school year is new and fresh. It’s the season of apples and pumpkins and football. Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year so I have quite the collection of fall-themed picture books that I love to share with my children around about September. I thought I would share a few of my family’s favorite fall picture books with you on this first day of Autumn.
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson
This is one of my all-time favorite fall picture books. It reminds me of one of my children. When he was small, wanted to put the leaves back onto the trees. Fletcher is a sweet, caring little fox who is distressed that his favorite tree is shedding it’s leaves. The story is sweet, but the illustrations are what really make it great. The pictures are just glorious.
Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro
Why Do Leaves Change Color is the perfect pairing with Fletcher. I’m a big fan of the whole Let’s Read and Find Out series, and this book has an excellent explanation for children as to why the leaves are changing. I love that it gives a real explanation, using scientific terms (like pigment and chlorophyll) but also making it understandable for the youngest listeners.
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
Lois Ehlert’s picture books are just gorgeous. I love her style of watercolors and collage – you can linger over the illustrations for hours. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf tells the life story of a sugar maple tree. I love that she tells the story in a beautiful way so that it feels like a story, but like Why Do Leaves Change Color, she doesn’t talk down to children. In the back of the book she explains scientific facts and even includes instructions for planting your own tree and making treats for birds.
Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
Apples, Apples, Apples is a sweet story about a family of bunnies and their trip to the apple orchard. This has been a favorite in our family for many years. We always read it before we take our annual trip to the orchard for apple picking. I love the fact that the author includes a chart of different apple varieties and what they are best used for – cider, baking or just eating. The author also includes some great information like how apples grow, how many seeds are in an apple and even a recipe for homemade applesauce.
Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson
Pumpkin Circle is a lovely poetic story about the life cycle of a pumpkin – from seed to jack-o-lantern. My children appreciate that the pictures are real photographs rather than drawings. At the back of the book, the author includes scientific information as well as tips for planting your own pumpkin patch.
Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell
Pumpkin Jack is another great life cycle story. Tim carves a jack-o-lantern and names him Jack. But rather than throwing Jack in the garbage when he starts to rot, he puts him in the garden and watches how he changes throughout the seasons. Eventually, fall comes around again and he has lots of pumpkins to share. Lovely illustrations really capture the story.
The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie
If you are looking for something for your older children, this book is a perfect autumn read. It takes place in Chicago in the fall, and centers around a girl named Tessa, who just moved there from sunny Florida. She soon discovers that her new house is haunted and enlists her new friends to help her unravel the mystery surrounding the strange things that are happening. It has a great spooky atmosphere and is a lot of fun to read!
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I can’t talk about fall reads without mentioning one of my favorite creepy books! Bod (Nobody) has grown up in a graveyard, where he has been raised by the ghosts who live there. He must always remain in the graveyard or someone named Jack will come after him. But how did he end up in a graveyard being raised by ghosts? This story is just pure fun. Bod has so many crazy adventures, and Gaiman’s writing is superb.
Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
My youngest and I read this during October last year and it was her favorite book of the year! Lucely Luna is a ghost expert. Her father runs a ghost tour in St. Augustine Florida, and she lives with the ghosts of her ancestors. Not metaphorically – they live in her house, talk to her, even eat! Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late. References to The Goonies, amazing family dynamics, Hispanic folk traditions, this book is so much fun and a perfect Halloweeny read!
One of the best things about most of these books is that they are great lead-ins to Nature Study! You just can’t help but go outdoors after reading them and investigate the season’s changes yourself. What are your family’s favorite fall reads?
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 18 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also makes incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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