Autumn is my favorite season. As much as I love summer, by the end of August I eagerly await fall’s crisp evenings, the trips to the pumpkin patch, the excuse to cuddle under a quilt and drink tea, and the changing leaves. Oh, how I love fall leaves! Good thing for me, Peeper and Kiwi share my love of autumn, so it’s no surprise we’ve collected a list of our favorite books about fall leaves and autumn.
After all, autumn is the perfect time to crack open a book after running around outside.
Jump in puddles, get muddy at the farm, collect fallen leaves, collect a pocketful of acorns—then head inside to read a stack of children’s books about fall leaves. Need some ideas? Check out this list then request a few—or them all!—from your local library. These make for a great unit for homeschool, if that’s your thing, or just a lovely read-aloud to learn about autumn.
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The 11 best children’s books about fall leaves and autumn
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, by Julia Rawlinson. This classic children’s book about fall leaves will get you right in the feels. In it, Fletcher, a little fox with a big heart, worries about his favorite tree as its leaves turn brown and—gasp!—begin to fall. Fletcher does his best to protect the tree, reattaching leaves with grass and grabbing them back from forest creatures hoping to line their burrows. In spite of his best efforts, though, autumn comes—leaving something even more beautiful in its wake. Compassionate kids and parents will identify with Fletcher’s sweet concern—and learn that sometimes change is good.
Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, by Kenard Pak. This book about the transition between summer and fall is a conversation between an adventurous child and the landscape. “Hello!” calls the child—and the animals, insects and even trees and thunder respond, sharing nonfiction wisdom that will subtly teach your child about preparations for fall. For example, beavers say, “Hello! We hve no time to play because we’re making cozy nests and dens. It will be cold soon, and we want to get ready.” Pak’s watercolor illustrations show fall’s changes in the forest and on the street—and every time we read this beautiful book about fall, we see new details to delight in.
Yellow Time, by Lauren Stringer. This book celebrating fall is beautifully evocative—not only in its swirling illustrations but also the expressive language. In this story, the whole world turns yellow—yet Stringer doesn’t use the word “leaf” or “fall” even once. The theme of the book will inspire you to look at the world in a different way—perhaps in terms of color during a season when everything changes hues—and could spur your kids to make their own poetic observations.
Wonderfall, by Michael Hall. The plays on words throughout the book showcase the wonderful aspects of the season—from a “plentifall” harvest to “frightfall” costumes and “playfall” critters romping through a tree’s branches. The bright, bold illustrations appealed to my kids—the pictures are as playful as, well, a kid jumping in a giant pile of fallen leaves! Told from a tree’s perspective, this fun picture book about fall leaves spans autumn in a “colorfall” way.
Tap the Magic Tree, by Christie Matheson. This is one of my all-time favorite children’s books, and kids adore it, too. (I once read it in our homeschool preschool and it got all the littles to join story time—no small feat!) It’s a simple, almost minimalist, book but is interactive: Kids make the leaves grow and then fall by tapping, blowing a breeze and wiggling magic fingers. My kids were enchanted by this beautiful illustration of how trees change throughout the season.
My Leaf Book, by Monica Wellington. “So many trees, so many leaves”—so begins this children’s book about fall, in which a child collects samples for a homemade leaf book. She investigates how leaves are different, and I like the educational tidbits that teach leaf facts. Look in the back of the book for several ideas of leaf projects you can do with your kids. Personally, I can’t wait to make a leaf book with my kids, complete with taped leaves and crayon rubbings.
Full of Fall, by April Pulley Sayre. This book relies on the inherent beauty of leaves: Instead of illustrating it, photos do autumn’s colors justice. Its alliterative and evocative descriptions of falling leaves is poetic enough to make adults as well as kids fall under the season’s spell. “Hello yellow, greetings gold,” the text says—and makes me want to say “hello!” out loud to fall, too. The “leaf show” nature puts on for all of us is worthy of celebration here in this book—and in your home for story time, too.
Fall is Not Easy, by Marty Kelley. This book absolutely cracks me up. Told from the perspective of a tree that has a really hard time every autumn, it shows the frustration of not being able to do something that comes easily to everyone else. This tree just can’t seem to do fall right: Instead of having its leaves turn gold or orange, the leaves change into a rainbow, polkadots—or even a hamburger! Kids will giggle at the silly tree—and probably identify with the impatience of having to keep trying and trying when you don’t get it right.
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, by Lois Ehlert. This book tells the story of a single sugar maple tree, including its journey as a seed into the soil to a nursery all the way to a child’s yard, where it delights with its display of colored leaves. I love how artist-author Ehlert crafted the textures throughout the book, using crumpled paper, wire, cardboard and paint. And at the end of the book, a nonfiction section describes the science of trees—from why leaves turn colors to how to plant a tree of your own—in kid-friendly terms.
Autumn Leaves, by Ken Robbins. The best part about this children’s book about leaves is all the photos. Not only does it include vistas showing hundreds of trees changing in the autumn, it shows individual leaves from more than a dozen species of trees. It describes all the ways fall leaves can look and feel—small, smooth, jagged—which is a great way for kids to practice their own observations. (My kids love to describe fall leaves when we go out on walks.) After reading this book about fall leaves, you should be a lot better at identifying different tree species in your neighborhood!
Awesome Autumn, by Bruce Goldstone. This nonfiction book about fall goes into the science of autumn, answering kids’ many questions (Why do leaves turn colors? How do bears hibernate?)—which is a good thing if you, like me, need to brush up on your elementary science. The text and concepts of this book are too advanced for toddlers, by 4-year-old Peeper read this children’s book about fall with me from cover to cover. She was fascinated by the why of so many things she’s observing in the autumn, from geese migrating in a V to frost icing our grass. My favorite part: the pages that invite readers to describe the sounds, shapes, and feelings of fall.
What’s your favorite thing about fall? Do you have any children’s books about leaves and autumn you can recommend?