Fall is a favorite season for many people. Maybe it’s the promise of relief from the oppressive heat and humidity of late summer; maybe it’s the quiet but steady transformation of nature; maybe it’s the anticipation of celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s the pumpkin spice. There are plenty of reasons to celebrate fall and plenty of picture books to share this season with the children in your life.
Bella's Fall Coat, opens a new window by Lynne Plourde, illustrated by Susan Gal
Bella loves her special coat, and she loves wearing it while she runs outside and dances and twirls through the leaves. Her coat has big pockets for holding the apples she’s picked, keeping them safe until she gets home and gives them to her grandmother to bake a pie. But all of Bella’s running and jumping has worn out her coat, and her grandmother insists she needs a new one. Bella absolutely does not want to give up her coat, until her grandmother presents her with a new special coat, one she has made just for Bella.
A Fall Ball for All, opens a new window by Jamie A. Swenson, illustrated by Chiara Fedele
All the woodland animals put their winter preparations on hold when they receive an invitation to a Windfall Ball. They primp and prepare, and, when the Harvest Moon rises, the animals gather to dance, stomp, and strut to celebrate the bounty that autumn provides.
Full of Fall, opens a new window by April Pulley Sayre
Sayre is one of my favorite authors when it comes to nature books for children. Sayre’s gorgeous close-up photographs show the beauty of nature in a way we don’t normally see. The poetic text is sparse yet conveys everything necessary to communicate the wonder and magic of the changes nature is going through as the trees and animals transition from summer to fall, all in preparation for winter.
Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, opens a new window by Kenard Pak
A child walks from home through town, noticing all the ways the world is changing from summer to autumn. Animals are busy preparing
In the Middle of Fall, opens a new window by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
A child observes the wonder and beauty of fall above them: canopies of orange leaves, frisky squirrels, and chilly gray skies. One gust of wind changes everything, and suddenly the child finds themselves in the middle of fall with leaves all around them on the ground, ready to be leapt in.
Pete the Cat, opens a new window by Kimberly and James Dean
Pete is not excited about autumn. He really likes summer when he can be at the beach swimming and surfing. Then Pete’s mom suggests he explore all the fun things about fall. He comes across his grandma baking a pumpkin pie, goes through a corn maze, goes on a hayride, picks some apples at the orchard, plays football with friends, and jumps in a pile of leaves. After all that, Pete declares that he LOVES autumn!
Summer Green to Autumn Gold, opens a new window by Mia Posada
Posada does an excellent job of breaking down the basics of why leaves change color while still explaining the science. Using key vocabulary, such as “chlorophyll,” but mostly using words that children will understand makes this very accessible: “When the sun shines on a plant’s leaves, chlorophyll collects some of its energy.” Posada explains not only why leaves change colors, but what happens to them after they fall and how they help insects and other critters on the ground.
Darcie Caswell is the Youth Services Coordinator at CRRL. This column originally appeared in The Free Lance-Star newspaper.