Children love autumn because it’s the perfect time for picking apples, carving jack-o’-lanterns, and jumping in piles of colorful leaves. The books and activities below celebrate the spirit of this in-between season.
The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger, Greenwillow, 2008
Innovative cut-paper art complements the appealing text in this lovely story of a single yellow oak leaf that just isn’t ready to fall. While other leaves swirl down, the little leaf clings tightly to its branch. Soon, the leaf feels lonely. But then it notices a red oak leaf still attached to a nearby tree. Together, they decide to take the plunge, floating gently to the ground.
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert, Harcourt, 2005
In this fun, quirky story told with lyrical text and dazzling collage artwork, a Leaf Man (with a body made of fallen leaves and acorns for eyes) goes where the wind blows, drifting past animals, over fields, above waterways, and across prairie meadows. The final page encourages readers to find a Leaf Man of their own, inspiring them to look at leaves in a whole new way.
The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall (illus. by Shari Halpern), Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, 1996
Two children follow the cycle of an apple tree in their backyard through the seasons. In autumn, they pick apples and bake a delicious apple pie. Appealing, colorful collage illustrations perfectly complement the clear, succinct text.
Who Loves the Fall? by Bob Raczka (illus. Judy Stead), Albert Whitman & Company, 2007
Vibrant, energetic illustration and whimsical rhymes celebrate the smells, tastes, holidays, activities, and natural changes that make autumn special, from jumping in leaf piles and baking apples pies to playing soccer and dressing up for Halloween. Leafs drift down, bird migrate, and caterpillars transform into butterflies. After reading this book, everyone will love the fall.
Moon Glowing by Elizabeth Partridge (illus. by Joan Paley), Dutton, 2002
In this charming book, four animals—a squirrel, a bat, a beaver, and a bear—prepare for winter as the autumn leaves twirl down. Finally, they seek shelter and settle down to sleep as snow blankets their woodland home. Bold art in muted tones perfectly compliments the spare, lyrical text. Additional information about each animal is provided at the end of the book.
Fun Family Activities for Autumn
- Head outdoors with your children and look for signs that animals are getting ready for colder weather. Do you see flocks of birds flying south or squirrels collecting nuts? What else do your children notice? Ask your children what your family does to prepare for winter.
- Take another trip outside and collect some leaves. See how many different shapes, colors, and kinds you can find. Can you tell which trees the leaves came from? Look for acorns and other seeds or seedpods too.
- When you get back indoors, use some of the leaves to make your very own leaf (and seed) family. Glue the figures onto a large piece of paper and hang it in a central location in your home.
- Use crayons to make leaf rubbings with the rest of the leaves. Point out the vein patterns in the real leaves and in the rubbings. Explain that trees can live and grow because water and food travel through the veins.
- Have your children imagine that they are a leaves. Working together, create a story about how a leaf feels as it turns brilliant colors and then gently drifts to the ground.
- Try keeping track of where and when the Moon rises each evening. Watch how it moves across the sky each night.
- When the Moon is full, look at its pattern of light and dark patches with your children. Can they see the “man in the moon”? Explain that the dark areas are large, flat plains made of lava. The light areas are made of grayish rock. They are hilly and full of craters.