Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thematic Book List - Fall

We're well into fall already, though you wouldn't know it here. Until recently our temperatures were still in the 80's and our leaves were barely changing color. But yesterday we got some rain and cooler temperatures. Pumpkins are dotting the landscape, the squirrels in my yard continue their frenzied gathering of acorns, and the sound of geese in flight have me convinced that fall is finally here. There are many, many good books about the seasons, and fall in particular. I know I cannot name them all, so instead, here are some of my favorites.
  • Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert - Made of leaf collages, leaf man must go where the wind takes him. Along the way he will meet ducks, rabbits, and many other animals composed of collections fall leaves.
  • Autumnblings by Douglas Florian - One in a series of seasonal poetry, this book contains a variety of inventive poems about fall.
  • Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber - Beautiful colored linoleum prints and rhyming text showcase the leaves and events of the fall season. Eight leaf types are identified for children who want to try some identification on their own.
  • Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro - This book in the Let's Read-and-Find-Out Science nicely explains what happens to leaves in the fall.
  • When Autumn Falls by Kelly Nidey - Illustrated with beautiful cut-paper collage, poetic text describes many fall events, like bobbing for apples, selecting pumpkins, and jumping in leaves.
  • It's Fall by Jimmy Pickering - One in a series on the seasons, this one follows Sally and Sam (a dog) through an apple harvest festival, hayrides, Halloween and more.
  • Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson - The change of seasons is coming, and Fletcher the fox doesn't understand why the leaves are falling. Text and illustrations come together beautifully in this moving tale.
  • Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell - This text describes the joy of visiting a farm in fall to pick the reddest apples and the perfect pumpkin.
  • Leaf by Leaf: Autumn Poems by Barbara Rogasky - This book contains 25 poems on fall accompanied by beautiful photographs. Here you will find poems by Yeats, Whitman, Poe, and more.
  • In November by Cynthia Rylant - This is a lovely poetic text that captures the mood and feel of November. It's also a wonderful book for thinking about the seasons with your senses.
  • Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur - This is one book in a seasonal series featuring acrostic poetry. In this installment, you will find one acrostic poem for each letter of the alphabet, from acorn to zero. How does zero fit with fall? You'll have to pick up the book to find out!
  • I Know It's Autumn by Eileen Spinelli - In rhyming text, a young girl describes all the signs that tell her it is fall.
  • Leaves by David Ezra Stein - A young bear becomes concerned when the leaves begin to fall from the trees. This is a beautiful, quiet story that captures the feeling of fall.
  • Nancy Elizabeth Wallace has created two terrific books for fall. Both feature cut paper collage illustrations that hold hidden facts and riddles. There is much to be found in a close examination of the pictures.
    • Pumpkin Day - Follow the rabbit family on a trip to Pumpkin Hollow Farm where they select pumpkins for cooking, decorating, and carving.
    • Apple, Apples, Apples - Follow the rabbit family on a trip to Long Hill Orchard as they learn about how apples grow before picking their own.
Here are some poems touching on the theme of fall to round out your study. I have included the first few lines of each, along with a reference to the book where you can find the poems in their entirety.
  • October by John Updike, in A Child's Calendar.
    • The month is amber,
         Gold, and brown.
      Blue ghosts of smoke
         Float through the town,

  • November by John Updike, in A Child's Calendar.
    • The stripped and shapely
         Maple grieves
      The ghosts of her
         Departed leaves.

  • Bullhead in Autumn by Marilyn Singer, in Turtle in July.
    •    in autumn
      I settle
         belly down in the shallows
      above me
            red and yellow

  • Why do leaves change colors? by Amy Goldman Koss in Where Fish Go in Winter And Answers to Other Great Mysteries
    • The oak tree always lets me know
         When autumn has begun.
      But why do its dark green leaves
         Change colors one by one?

  • Moon of Falling Leaves by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London in Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back.
    • So, each autumn, the leaves
      of the sleeping trees fall.
      They cover the floor
      of our woodlands with colors
      as bright as the flowers
      that come with the spring.

  • Fall by John Frank, in A Chill in the Air: Nature Poems for Fall and Winter.
    • Fall sets fire
      To the tips of trees,
      And fans the flames
      With an icy breeze.
I have just scratched the surface here of some wonderful books that celebrate autumn. You will notice that I have not included books that cover the full change of seasons (year), or those that cover life cycles of plants. I know that The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree, From Seed to Pumpkin, and Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf are missing (among others). These titles, and the aforementioned topics, dear readers, are for the next lists. As always, if I have missed a terrific book about fall, please let me know.


  1. What a fantastic list of books. I am sending librarian friends here!

  2. Thanks, Camille! I'm so glad you found this useful.