Autumn Books that Celebrate the Season’s Bounty and Beauty

Hello everyone!

Katie Merkel

It’s September, which means that the autumnal equinox is almost upon us, and one of my favorite seasons will soon begin! There are so many things I love about fall: changing leaves; apple, pumpkin, and harvest festivals; corn mazes; hay rides; and hot apple cider. And I’m sure sports fans are counting down the days until football season starts.

Since autumn is full of so many changes and colors, the season easily lends itself to art, science, and, my favorite of all, stories! Below, I have raked some fantastic books about fall into two piles: fiction and nonfiction. After each book, I have written a type of activity (i.e. Crafts, Games, Math Activities, and Science Experiments) and a number; these correspond to the activities at the end of the post that I think best go with each book.

Fiction

Who Loves the Fall? by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Judy Stead shows many people enjoying fall activities. The illustrations carry the theme and are well supported by the minimal rhyming text. (Any Craft, Game, Math Activity, or Science Experiment for Preschool through 1st Grade.)

Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall! by Anne Sibley O’Brien, illustrated Susan Gal shows the changes that occur in the fall. Each spread shows the starting point for a plant or animal; then open the flap and the autumn change is revealed…like magic. (Any Craft, Game, Math Activity or Science Experiment for Preschool through 1st Grade.)

Wonderfall by Michael Hall has a poem on each spread about a different aspect of fall. Each illustration includes the same tree which shows the season’s progression through the state of its leaves. (Crafts 1, 2, 4, 5, or 12; Games 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, or 12; Math Activities 4, 5, or 6; Science Experiments 1, 2, 3, or 6)

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is about Leaf Man being blown away by the wind. The narrator speculates about where Leaf Man might be. While the narrator guesses about where the wind might take Leaf Man, leaves create the scenery that the narrator describes. This book would pair well with a leaf craft. (Crafts 3, 4, or 5; Games 3, 4, 11, or 12; Math Activities 4, 5, or 6; Science Experiments 1, 2, or 3)

Fall Is for Friends by Suzy Spafford is about two autumn-loving friends trying to get the leaves to fall off the trees. (Crafts 1, 2, 4, or 5; Games 3, 4, 10, 11, or 12; Math Activities 4, 5, or 6; Science Experiments 1, 2, or 3)

A Fall Ball for All by Jamie A. Swenson, illustrated by Chiara Fedele is about nature throwing a windfall ball for all the forest animals. The animals delay their migration and hibernation plans to attend. There is excitement leading up to the ball, and afterwards, everyone has the food they need for the winter. (Crafts 6, 9, or 12; Games 1, 5, 6, 7, or 8; Math Activities 1, 2, or 3; Science Experiment 6)

Counting on Fall by Lizann Flatt, illustrated by Ashley Barron combines math with nature during the autumn. This book is ideal for children in Kindergarten through second grade. (Crafts 1, 2, 4, 7, or 12; Games 1, 3, 4, 5, or 9; Math Activities 1, 3, 4, or 5; Science Experiments 1, 2, 3, or 6)

Hello, Fall! by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Lucy Fleming is about a granddaughter and grandfather enjoying a fall day together. (Crafts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9; Games 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, or 12; Any Math Activity; Any Science Experiment)

Leif and the Fall by Allison Sweet Grant and Adam Grant, illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard is about a leaf named Leif who is afraid that falling will hurt. He comes up with multiple ways to keep himself from falling or to catch himself, but none of them work, and he throws them off his branch. When he finally falls, he lands on his pile of discarded ideas instead of bumping his head on the ground. The underlying themes of determination paying off and failure leading to success are great lessons for children. (Crafts 3, 4, or 5; Games 3, 4, 11, or 12; Math Activities 4, 5, or 6; Science Experiments 1, 2, or 3)

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke is about a young fox named Fletcher who is worried that his favorite tree is sick. He tries to help the tree by collecting its fallen leave and reattaching them. In the end, Fletcher’s attempts to make the leaves stay on the tree fail, but he comes to understand that his tree is alright. (Crafts 1, 2, 4, or 5; Games 3, 4, 11, or 12; Math Activities 4, 5, or 6; Science Experiments 1, 2, or 3)

Applesauce Season by Eden Ross Lipson, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein is about a family’s annual tradition of making applesauce throughout the autumn. At the back is a recipe for homemade applesauce. (Crafts 6 or 7; Games 6, 7, or 8; Science Experiment 5)

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White, illustrated by Megan Lloyd is about a woman named Rebecca Estelle who hates pumpkins. When a pumpkin falls off a truck and splats in her yard, she buries it so she won’t have to touch or look at it. The next year, the pumpkins aggressively grow until they take over her entire front yard. Not wanting to waste food, she bakes the pumpkins into treats and carves the shells into jack-o’-lanterns to give to her neighbors. Rebecca Estelle has such a good time with her neighbors, that she decides to plant pumpkins the next year. (Crafts 8 or 9; Games 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10; Math Activities 1, 2, or 3; Science Experiment 4)

Non-fiction

Hello Autumn! by Shelley Rotner gives an overview of the many things that happen in the fall: changes in the weather and leaves, harvest, holidays, and how animals get ready for winter. The short text and large photos make this an excellent book to read aloud to three to eight year olds. The larger print also makes this a good book for more advanced young readers to read on their own. (Any Craft, Game, Math Activity, or Science Experiment for Preschool through 2nd Grade)

Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre is an overview of how leaves change throughout the fall, starting with a goodbye to summer green, transitioning to the many colors seen on the trees, and ending with the leaves beginning to decompose. The sparsity and rhyme of the text makes this a good book to read to two to five year olds. (Crafts 1 or 4; Games 3, 4, or 11; Math Activities 4 or 5; Science Experiments 1, 2, or 3)

Awesome Autumn: All Kinds of Fall Facts and Fun by Bruce Goldstone is a great book to read to five to eight year olds. It gives an overview of the many changes that happen during autumn and presents facts about why and how those changes occur in a concise and easy-to-understand way. At the end of the book are instructions for several simple autumn crafts. (Any Craft, Game, Math Activity, or Science Experiment for Elementary)

Summer Green to Autumn Gold: Uncovering Leaves’ Hidden Colors by Mia Posada explains how leaves change colors in the fall. The text and illustrations work together beautifully to explain the concept. This book is ideal for four to eight year olds; however, I would also read it with older students if they are struggling to understand how chlorophyll works. (Crafts 1, 2, 4, or 5; Games 3, 4, 11, or 12; Math Activities 4, 5, or 6; Science Experiments 1, 2, or 3)

Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum shows how pumpkins grow, that there are many different types of pumpkins, and some of the ways pumpkins are used. This is an excellent book to read to four to eight year olds, and the larger print makes it a good book for more advanced young readers to read on their own. (Crafts 8 or 9; Games 5, 6, 7, or 8; Math Activities 1, 2, or 3; Science Experiment 4)

The What Happens in Fall? Series by Mari Schuh is designed for beginning readers to read on their own.

The Fall Field Trips Series by Lisa J. Amstutz is designed for beginning readers to read on their own. At the back of each book are directions for how to make a simple, theme-related craft.

The Fall’s Here! Series by Martha E. H. Rustad, illustrated by Amanda Enright is ideal for reading to Kindergarteners through 2nd graders. At the back of each book are directions for how to do a theme-related activity.

Crafts

  1. Scissor Skills Fall Tree Craft (Preschool or Elementary depending on amount of adult prep)
  2. Tissue Paper Tree (Elementary)
  3. Leaf People (Preschool or Elementary)
  4. Leaf Rubbing Collage or Leaf Rubbing Activity: Art & Science Project (Preschool or Elementary – Leaf rubbings often work best when the veins are up.)
  5. Leaf Book (Elementary)
  6. Apple Print Craft (Preschool)
  7. Apple Tree Numbers Craft (3 year olds through 1st grade depending on amount of adult prep)
  8. What’s Inside a Pumpkin Craft (Preschool or Elementary)
  9. Paper Strip Pumpkin (Elementary)
  10. Paper Bag Scarecrow (Preschool or Elementary)
  11. Popsicle Stick Scarecrow (Elementary)
  12. Cinnamon Acorn (Preschool through 2nd grade)

Games

  1. The Squirrel Game: “Let the kids pretend they are squirrels gathering nuts for the winter. Give each a small paper bag, then toss out several unshelled nuts onto the floor and let the kids race to see who can collect the most. Older and younger children should be separated for this game. Another way to play this game, (if you have a way to corral a large quantity of leaves) is to hide nuts beneath a large pile of leaves and give the kids a set amount of time to find as many nuts as they can.” (This activity taken from “61 Fall Games and Activities Kids Love”; it was number 18.) (Preschool or Elementary)
  2. Dress a Scarecrow and Run: “Stock up on over-sized plaid shirts, goofy pants, floppy hats and any other clothing that a scarecrow might wear. Make piles containing one of each item. The number of piles is determined either by the number of kids or teams participating. Line up kids and let the game begin! The children run to the pile, put on the outfit, and dart back to the starting line. If doing it as a team game, they then switch the outfit with their teammate–who run out and back. First team with their last team member dressed as a scarecrow wins.” (This activity taken from “61 Fall Games and Activities Kids Love”; it was number 9.) (Elementary)
  3. Parachute Leaf Toss: “Take a sheet, or a parachute. Gather real leaves, fabric leaves, or paper leaves. Place them in the middle of the sheet. Gather around the sheet and have the children lift the sheet slowly and then quickly to see how all the leaves ‘float.'” (This activity taken from “61 Fall Games and Activities Kids Love”; it was number 16.) (Preschool or Elementary)
  4. Leaf Blow Game: “Have a leaf race! In this, the children blow a leaf across a table with a straw. The first one across is the winner.” (This activity taken from “61 Fall Games and Activities Kids Love”; it was number 3.) (four year olds through Elementary)
  5. Gourd Ring Toss: “Assign different point values to different sizes of gourds, pumpkins, or dried Indian corn.” (This activity taken from “61 Fall Games and Activities Kids Love”; it was number 8.) (Preschool or Elementary)
  6. Apple-Apple Pumpkin: “Just like duck-duck-goose—Play Apple, Apple, Pumpkin! Same game with fall flair.” (This activity taken from “61 Fall Games and Activities Kids Love”; it was number 13.) (Preschool or Elementary)
  7. Pumpkin Rolling (Can also do with apples): “Divide children into two or more teams. Have a start line and turnaround line, 20 ft apart. The first child in each line rolls a pumpkin from the start line, to the turn-around line and back. The next person does the same, etc. The first team to have everyone play wins!” (This activity taken from “61 Fall Games and Activities Kids Love”; it was number 21.) (Preschool or Elementary)
  8. Pass the Pumpkin Relay (Can also do with apples): “Line up into 2 teams. The first person passes the pumpkin OVER his/her head to the next person in line. The next person passes the pumpkin UNDER his/her legs to the next person, and so on. When you get to the end of the line the last person runs up to the front and starts it all over again. Whoever has the first person that was in line at the beginning of the game— in the back of the line WINS.” (This activity taken from “61 Fall Games and Activities Kids Love”; it was number 23.) (Preschool or Elementary)
  9. Bountiful Harvest Board Game (Elementary)
  10. Autumn Charades Game (Elementary)
  11. Fall Color Wheel Scavenger Hunt (Preschool through 2nd grade)
  12. Sensory Nature Scavenger Hunt (Elementary)

Math Activities

  1. Super Simple Pumpkin Seed Counting Activity (Preschool through Kindergarten)
  2. Pumpkin Geoboard Stem To Try This Fall (Preschool through 1st grade)
  3. Pumpkin Stem Challenge Your Preschoolers Will Love (Preschool through 1st grade)
  4. Preschool Math: Graphing Fall Leaves (Preschool or Elementary depending on how the adult adapts it)
  5. Leaf Measurement and Sorting Activity (Preschool or Elementary depending on how the adult adapts it)
  6. Leaf symmetry lesson combining math and art (Elementary)

Science Experiments

  1. Science for Kids: Exploring How Water Travels Through Leaves (Preschool or Elementary)
  2. How Do Leaves Breathe? A Simple Science Experiment for Kids (Preschool or Elementary)
  3. Science Experiment: Why Do Leaves Change Colour? (Preschool or Elementary)
  4. Pumpkin Oobleck With A Real Pumpkin (Preschool or Elementary)
  5. Apple Oxidation Science Experiment (Preschool or Elementary)
  6. Hibernation Science Lesson (Preschool or Elementary)

Happy reading!

Katie

P.S.

For more themed book recommendations and activities, visit my post library.