Everybody knows that as far as I’m concerned, there are two seasons:
Autumn. And waiting for autumn.
That’s because so many wonderful things happen in autumn. The leaves change colors. Pumpkins ripen. Apples come into season. Scarecrows pop up everywhere. Halloween brings monsters and ghosts and witches. Thanksgiving reminds us where we came from and to be grateful for where we are.
Yeah, autumn is the stuff.
With so many cool things going on, there are lots and lots of autumn picture books for your littles to enjoy. Here’s a list of some of our favorites divided by category.
There are so many cool things for littles to experience right now. Read these books with your kids to let them experience every little thing even when they can’t leave the house.
This quiet, beautiful book about a leaf who isn’t ready to let go of his tree is a family favorite. It evokes all the wonderful things about fall–the colors, the spattering of falling leaves, the scents, the hush. Your littles will have a grand time cheering on the Little Yellow Leaf as he builds up his courage to finish his journey.
Leaf man goes where the wind blows in this delightful story illustrated with leaf collages. Ehlert is a genius at simple poetic prose and Leaf Man is sure to inspire imaginative wanderings in your littles. There is a field guide to leaves in the back of the book and let me tell you, this book lends itself to crafts so easily it’ll nearly make you weep. My Story Time for Leaf Man has all kinds of fun leaf ideas and includes an 18-page printable. Reading this story and making leaf men and animals will be a rich addition to your autumn study.
This nonfiction book is a wealth of information about autumn leaves and the trees from which they fall. It also explains why leaves change color. Can you say awesome?
Is there anything more fun than jumping in a pile of leaves? It’s still my favorite. This adorable book is a great way to celebrate the turning of the leaves. Plus, it slyly teaches littles about the shapes of leaves and how to recognize their trees. I mean, you can’t beat that. Plus, I have a fun Story Time to get your kiddos thinking even more about leaves.
Your little ones may sympathize with Fletcher, an adorable fox, whose favorite tree suddenly turns brown. When the leaves begin to fall off the tree, he’s convinced it’s due to illness, but he soon comes to understand the changes of the seasons.
This colorful and informative book explains with simple language and diagrams what’s going on when the leaves start to change. It also includes some simple activities to help your kiddos catch on.
This is where I want to live. But the citizens of pumpkin town want all these pumpkins gone! Jose and his brother accidentally scattered seeds throughout the town and now the pumpkins and vines are Taking Over. The brothers feel bad about what they’ve done and they want to make it right, so they harvest the pumpkins and clean up the vines and make the town a little money in the process. The town is so grateful they give the brothers yummy watermelon as a reward.
Want your littles to know why and how pumpkin is good for them? This tale of an old farmer who entered a famous Australian foot race (542 miles, in fact), and ate pumpkin along the way for energy is inspiring and based on a true story! Plus, most of us think of pumpkin as being in sweets, but Joshua Summerhayes will teach your littles that pumpkin is power food.
Y’all know this is my All-Time, Very Favorite Book for this time a year. How could I leave it off a pumpkin list? If you don’t know this book, it is absolutely the funnest read-aloud ever as a brave little old lady walks down a path at night followed by articles of clothing that eventually make up a jack-o-lantern scarecrow. It. is. amazing. Oh, you want a Story Time with lots of crafts and activities? Done. Go get that sucker.
I know, it’s such a cute cartoon that you just want to veg and watch it. But the book is just as cute and it gives your littles a chance to read! So much better than watching TV. (Though I admit, I own the cartoon. Can’t take the chance of missing it.)
Kids today might have trouble grasping what it means to be so poor you only get one type of food all the time–potatoes, pumpkins, whatever. But it was quite common as recently as in my mother’s generation and is not such a rare thing even today. You can imagine how much you’d hate pumpkins if that’s all you ate for your entire childhood. But when a large pumpkin falls of a truck and lands in Estelle’s yard, she is gifted with a bumper crop. Even though she hasn’t eaten pumpkin for years, she makes all those old recipes and shares them with her neighbors. A great story for showing your littles how to make the best of things.
My boys loved this book. Especially Littlest who was littlest. It always reminded me of the Halloween version of The Little Christmas Tree. I love the spirit of the book–there’s a place and a time for everybody. Good stuff. So good, in fact, there’s a Story Time for this book.
We love this adorable book about a chicken who wants Scarecrow’s hat. He’s perfectly willing to trade it for a walking stick, but how is Chicken supposed to get one of those? And why does she want his old hat, anyway?
This book is basically an homage to scarecrows, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Ryalnt’s words focus on the peace and patience of a scarecrow and the illustrations are a.maz.ing.
We love Yolen, and this beautiful book doesn’t disappoint. It’s the story of a scarecrow he leaves his post to dance the night away. But when he makes his way to the farmhouse and sees a young boy praying about the fall harvest, he knows he must return to his post and do what only he can do–keep the harvest safe.
This fun book features a scarecrow who comes to life to play with friends by the light of the moon. Fair warning–he slips out of skin to become a skeleton in order to get off his post. But it’s good, spooky autumn fun, so it’s not really scary.
A scarecrow who reads in order to go to new places? My kind of scarecrow. Convince your kids how great reading is with this wonderful book.
This beautiful book carries an important lesson about not judging people on how they look. Everybody needs friends, even a scary-looking scarecrow. I crush hard on this book.
This simple book is a celebration of Nikki McClure’s cut-paper illustrations and they are a.maz.ing. The only color in otherwise black-and-white illustrations is the red of the apple as it goes from fruit on the ground to a sneaky snack to the compost pile and then to a seedling. The text is a single word per illustration, giving your littles a chance to imagine the story. It’s pretty perfect. Also, it was a great book to use when I was teaching the littles to read. Can you say sight word?
Apples and Pumpkins is all things fall. In its pages, a young girl visits an orchard with her family to pick apples and choose the very best pumpkin. This is a great one to read before a field trip to your local orchard or pumpkin patch. The girl gets to help carve a jack-o-lantern which sits on the porch with her while her mother hands out apples for Halloween. It is autumn on steroids. I love it.
You can tell by the cover that this one is beautifully illustrated. Deborah Kogan Ray does justice to autumn’s colors with these beautiful watercolor images. These are the kinds of pictures you can fall into. The story is of a community gathering together to harvest apples and Anna’s determination to do her part. It’s a lovely story, but you don’t want to miss the recipe for apple crisp included in it. Because yum.
I heart Gibbons big time and this one doesn’t change that. I love the bright colors and simple text that takes Arnold through a year with his apple tree. You can imagine this is what the boy felt like with The Giving Tree when he was little. It’s a great book for teaching your littles about the seasons and where apples come from and how they get there.
With warm illustrations, this book walks your littles through an apple harvest on grandpa’s farm to cider making to selling the cider. But the really cool part is the cider lore at the end of the book, which teaches your littles all about the yumminess that is apple cider.
My friends, I think it’s my favorite apple book. One, it has tree sprites. And anything faery is fine by me. It’s another book that follows an apple tree through the seasons, but this one starts in winter–unusual for this type of story, they usually start in fall when all the good stuff is happening. But is it? I mean, is fall the only time good stuff happens with an apple tree? Well, no, because even though the tree is sleeping, other creatures are still using it. It is still very much an integral part of its environment. This book is a deeper look at a year with an apple tree and it is magical for the knowledge it imparts. If you don’t read any of the others on this list with your littles, read this one. Seriously.
This is an easy reader chapter book (basically a picture book with chapters) about a little girl who is worried about a nighttime hayride. She soon discovers the scary things are all normal and not scary at all. A good way to ease your littles into getting over nighttime fears.
This fun shape book features a hayride on a pumpkin farm. Easy reading, easy learning. It doesn’t get any better.
Seriously. Nothing is cuter than Little Critter. This book covers many things fall, even a hayride.
This one is a chapter book with all the things, including ghosts that show up for a festival and could foil the cubs’ plans to save Farmer Ben’s Farm. Spooky fun.
This is my new Halloween book crush. I’ve probably sneaked up behind my kids and read it aloud to them a hundred thousand times in the last year. They groaned a little when I trapped them as they went to bed the other night. They think they’re old enough now not to need bedtime stories. If you love it as much as I do, there’s a Story Time with lots of cool activities to go with this super awesome book.
This one cracks me up. I don’t know what’s funnier, the way the witch loses everything or the way her new friends save her in the end. I hope there’s room on the broom for me, because I want in. There’s a Story Time for this one, too.
Anything based on the Clement C. Moore Christmas poem wins in my book, but when you add a Halloween theme?
Written by Bunting and illustrated by Jan Brett? Be still my heart. Text that could almost be song lyrics makes this one an easy favorite to memorize as all sorts of Halloween creatures parade down a spooky country road under the moon.
Classic. And so stinkin’ cute. When Gilbert’s Martian Space Pilot costume gets mixed up with this sister’s ballerina tutu, hilarity ensues. And if your littles want to make Space Pilot mask for themselves, check out the Story Time.
Not necessarily a Halloween book, but it’s about skeletons, so it counts. Based on the African-American traditional song, this book also explains all the bones in the body, so it’s an anatomy lesson, too. Yeah yeah.
My favorite part of this book, in which a ghost is helping a skeleton cure his hiccups, is when Skeleton is brushing his teeth. I ain’t lyin’, I laugh. Every time. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to either get the book or ask me in the comments.
I mean, I can’t even get over the illustrations. I never thought I’d want to cuddle a skeleton and a mummy, but sheesh. Oh, and the story is good, too.
Can you even? With this title, y’all, come on. As it suggests, Bonaparte has a little trouble keeping it together. Fortunately for him, he has some very good friends.
I still have my childhood copy of this book. It’s so sweet. A family of tiny witches is looking for a home. And I wish I was one of them.
Because Dahl. And witches who hate children. And little boys who have to save the day.
Because that sounds like a stellar idea. No, really, this funny story is about 4 kids who go in search of the witch’s house on Halloween night and the goblins and ghouls they run into along the way.
In this table-turning book, a little witch has heard lots of stories about scary humans on Halloween, but has never experienced it for herself. When she meets a human girl dressed up as a witch, friendship blossoms. Good stuff.
Because no spider list is complete without this gem. It’s funny and informative and should be in every littles’ library.
Based on the classic Mary Howitt poem, this one is creepy enough to send shivers but has a good message about looking beyond the words of others.
I mean, Carle. And spiders. Two of my favorite-ist things in the whole world.
It’s beyond me why you would scream at a spider, but I know lots of people who do. All this spider wants is to be the family pet. Honestly, I don’t see the issue.
Um, yeah! Brightly colored illustrations and lots of good info about spiders? I’m in. I’m all in, as Luke Danes would say.
Another favorite from my childhood, this story about the unlikely friendship between a ghost and a mouse will warm your littles’ hearts.
Score! With awesome illustrations and lyrical text, this one tells about a boy who is throwing a Halloween party. That gets crashed by ghouls, ghosts, ogres, and the like. And he has to get the house cleaned up before his mom and dad get home. Love this rollicking ride!
What do you do with a houseful of ghosts? Wash them and turn them into furniture covers, of course! This cute classic will take all the scary out of ghosts.
Okay, so I have a thing for teeny tiny things. I mean, there’s someone haunting the teeny tiny house of the teeny tiny ghost. How much freaking cuter can you get? Overload. In a good way.
This is probably my very favorite-ist Thanksgiving picture book. Grandmother distrusts her neighbor, Mr. Whiskers. She fears he is after her famous and super-secret cranberry bread recipe. But every year she lets her granddaughter, Maggie, invite a lonely or poor person to Thanksgiving dinner, and this year Maggie invites Mr. Whiskers. Grandmother is not happy about it, but she’s pleased with the person she invited herself. When the secret recipe gets stolen, everybody learns why it is wrong to judge people based on appearance and what kindness can do for the world, especially during the hectic holidays. I crush hard on the message, but I crush just as hard on the cozy pictures and text that brings Thanksgiving alive. AND… There’s a Story Time. Yeah yeah.
We just love Wing’s Night Before books, and this one walks the reader through the meal prep, the greeting of relatives, and the biggest meal of the year. It’s great for getting littles excited about Turkey Day.
I love the busy pictures and how the whole family pitches to help with Thanksgiving preparations. This family reminds me of Thanksgivings at my maternal grandmother’s house long ago. My mom has 8 siblings, so yeah, there were lots of arrivals and over 30 cousins. And you wonder why we celebrate Thanksgiving at home with just us now…
Pilkey has given us a Thanksgiving tradition with this adorable story based on Clement C. Moore’s poem. It’s about a group of school kids who take the bus on a field trip to a turkey farm and end up saving the day and discombobulating Farmer Mack Nuggett in a big way. It’s cutesy, yeah, but it’s also fun and if your household is vegetarian or vegan, a great way to celebrate that lifestyle while still being grateful for Thanksgiving. And, I mean, there’s a Story Time for that.
Mrs. Moose wants a turkey at her Thanksgiving dinner, so Mr. Moose sets out to find her one. Problem? The turkey thinks he’s on the menu, so he skeedaddles. Imagine his relief when he finds out he’s a guest, not the main course. I like this one because it doesn’t terrify your kiddos out of eating turkey on Turkey Day, if that’s what you’re into. (Hey, some picture books do.)
Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler may well be the cutest Thanksgiving book ever. Turk is the best of the litter, destined for greatness, while Runt is continually ignored. The problem? Runt is the smart one. And he seems to be the only turkey on the farm who knows why people keep coming to admire Turk as Thanksgiving approaches.
This hilarious tale of a turkey hiding from the farmer is sure to bring on the giggles.
The Squawk Valley townspeople hold a fair and advertise for a turkey model in the hopes of tricking a turkey into the pot. Proud Peter the turkey might want to show off, but he’s not as dumb as they think. Too funny.
Silly turkeys. They think it’s an honor to be the Thanksgiving Turkey. So they hold a race to see who gets the honor. Oh my.
This is the story of two real pilgrim boys who caused trouble like nearly blowing up the Mayflower and getting kidnapped by Indians. Might blow your littles opinions of pilgrims straight out of the water.
The first year of pilgrim life is covered in this book, from the crossing on the Mayflower to the Thanksgiving feast. Read it with Two Bad Pilgrims and you’ll see very different aspects of pilgrim life.
This one is a bit longer a read, but it has a good lesson on kindness and acceptance and how it takes all kinds of pilgrims to make this country great. Super important right now.
With gorgeous illustrations, this book is another walk through the first year of pilgrim life, told from the perspective of 3 real-life siblings.
I mean, that’s pretty self-explanatory. But it also gives a history lesson about the first year of pilgrims in America.
The first Thanksgiving from the native point of view. Squanto’s story is always inspiring. If you love it, watch the Disney film based on his life and have a fun family night with Dinner and a Movie.
Yeah, this one isn’t set in autumn. But it’s a beautiful rendition of a native legend about how the the Indian Paintbrush flower came to be.
This one is set in autumn, and it is beautiful. Against the backdrop of the Canadian practice of moving native children to residential schools in order to educate them in English culture, Shi-Shi-Etko wanders her autumn world, locking every little thing in her memory. Good stuff.
I guess you can now call me obsessed with fall. As I gathered these books together for you, I had to laugh at how many of them already have Story Times. And how many of them I thougth, “Oh wow, this and this and this would be fun and educational for this book… Why haven’t I done a Story Time yet?”
Yeah. My work is never done.
If only I could find that switch to my brain.