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Falling Leaves, Simmering Soup, and Glowing Pumpkins: 12 Fall-Themed Picture Books

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • September 23, 2020

Autumnal Times

As temperatures drop and daylight grows shorter, we all end up spending more time indoors. This year, with Covid concerns continuing to shutter many of our usual activities, our little ones are spending even more time around the house. We like to make sure they have plenty of good reading material to keep them busy and minimize screen time. Here are some great fall-themed picture books for young learners.

New Releases!

With jaunty rhymes in the style of "The House That Jack Built," The Nut That Fell From the Tree by Sangeeta Bhadra follows an acorn on its arduous journey. France Cormier's vibrant illustrations add a zingy energy. This book may spark discussions about plant life cycles, animal habitats, and food chains.

In Night Walk, a girl can't sleep, so her dad invites her for a walk. They stroll through the dark, quiet neighborhood looking into the illluminated windows of apartment buildings and houses. Sara O'Leary captures a child's wonder in seeing her world in a new way. Ellie Arscott's luminous illustrations offer the perfect complement.

Ghosts are supposed to be sheets, light as air and able to whirl and twirl and float and soar. Only this little ghost can't whirl or twirl at all, and when he flies, he gets very hot. But on Halloween, everything changes. The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt by Riel Nason offers a unique take on the important message that it's okay (even good!) to be different.

While not specifically about autumn, we had to include this timely story offering an intimate look at one family's response to racism and gun violence. By Michael W. Waters with illustrations by Keisha Morris, For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World includes a discussion guide created by the Muhammad Ali Center.

Some of Our Fall-Time Faves

In the Middle of Fall is perfect for the youngest of booklovers. Caldecott-winning author Kevin Henkes highlights the unique beauty of the fall season, while Laura Dronzek's paintings illuminate the transformation from colorful autumn to frosty winter.

Gerda Muller's Autumn is one in a series of four simple, beautiful books for preschoolers. Full of fun, active illustrations portraying the joys of the season, it tells a story without text so young children can enjoy it independently.

From mother-daughter team, author Anne Rockwell and illustrator Lizzy Rockwell, Hiking Day depicts a family's fall hike. A celebration of nature and the outdoors, the story offers the perspective of a little girl seeing it all for the very first time.

If you aren't expecting them, season's changes can be surprising! Leaves offers a sparse, yet charming, story by David Ezra Stein about a young bear's first experience of autumn.

Three best friends make their favorite soup the same way every day, until a disagreement threatens to ruin everything. Helen Cooper's Pumpkin Soup highlights the difficulties (and rewards) of true friendship. Includes a yummy recipe for pumpkin soup!

Discover the magic—and the science—behind fall leaves with Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre. With gorgeous photo illustrations, the book explores and explains the transformation trees undergo in fall. Perfect for budding scientists!

Mr. Tiffin and his students explore counting and estimation in a fun pumpkin-themed classroom experiment. By Margaret McNamara, How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin makes a wonderful read-aloud and offers a fun way to reinforce counting skills.

The lyrical, beautiful Fall Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow takes readers on a stroll through the woods. Along the way, they learn how to identify 24 different kinds of leaves by their shapes and shades. Includes instructions on how to make a leaf rubbing.

These are just a handful of the books that our kids are enjoying this fall. Let us know about your favorites!

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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