It’s the time of year when people start saying, “Fall is in the air.” For those of us in the Mid-South, however, we know our kids will probably not needs big coats when they trick-or-treat! But reading some fall books may bring a little bit of that warm, cozy feeling to your family.
There is so much research that shows reading improves vocabulary, fluency, concentration, and memory; but it also builds empathy and relationships. At Harding Academy, we want to encourage our students to be lifelong learners. Each Harding Lower School teacher builds time into the day for the students to read independently, read with friends, and listen to the teacher read aloud. Reading aloud together is a great way to activate imagination.
The Princeton Book Review has a quote that says reading to children teaches them to associate books with love and affection. So, gather the family and let some of the following books take you into fall.
Book with Leaves
Fall Leaves Fall by Zoe Hall (ages 3–7) This story not only describes how leaves change during the year, it also shows two brothers enjoying the season. Whether you’re collecting leaves to examine with magnifying glasses, making leaf rubbings, or even jumping in big piles, this is always a fun read.
The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger (ages 4– 8) As other leaves fall all around, Little Yellow Leaf isn’t ready. This sweet story shows that we might need time and a friend as we try to take on something new.
Why Do Leaves Change Colors by Betsy Maestro (ages 5– 10) This book answers lots of children’s questions with labelled illustrations and informative text. Photosynthesis and different types of leaves are discussed.
Books with Apples
Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace (ages 3– 7) One of my favorite books to read with children talks about Mina and her rabbit family visiting Long Hill Orchard. As they fill their baskets, Farmer Miller teaches them all about apples. This story has fun facts, an applesauce recipe, an apple art printing project, and fun apple sayings.
Up, Up, Up! It’s Apple Picking Time By Jody Fickes Shapiro (ages 4– 8) In this sweet family story Myles and his sister visit their grandparents’ apple orchard. The inside cover of the book shows illustrated versions of different apples; children love hearing unusual apple names like Pippin and Winter Banana.
Apple Fractions by Jerry Pallotta (ages 6– 9) This book is a great introduction and kids don’t need prior knowledge, as it uses apples to teach about fractions. Apples are used to show how to divide equal parts and how to add simple fractions. It also explains how bees are essential to the growth of apples.
Books with Pumpkins
Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas (ages 3–5) When Duck leans too far over the pumpkin he’s preparing to carve and gets stuck inside, the result is a walking, talking, web-footed Pumpkin Monster. While this book is geared to a younger crowd, older kids will laugh along as they understand the perspective and humor.
How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? By Margaret McNamara (ages 5– 8) Before carving your pumpkin this fall, this is the book to read. It works on skip counting and estimation, while teaching that often the small things have a lot going on inside.
Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell (ages 5–9) This story details the life cycle of a pumpkin in beautiful illustrations. It’s for all children who have a hard time saying goodbye to their Jack-o-Lantern.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams (age 3– 7) This classic tale gets everyone involved. The repetition of sounds and motions are perfect for reading together. It’s a fun reminder that we shouldn’t let our imaginations run away from us.
Creepy Carrots by Peter Brown (ages 4– 8) In this Caldecott Medal book, Jasper Rabbit fears that his favorite treats are out to get him. The illustrations make this a great story for kids who don’t really want to be scared. It is a great way to teach the lesson of not letting fear get the best of you.
Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker (ages 9– 12) In this 2020 Newberry Honor book, the haunted season has come to Antler Wood and no fox kit is safe. This book showcases eight interconnected stories as a brother and sister get separated from their litter and discover a dangerous world full of monsters. While this book is highly rated, parents may want preview first. You know your child best!
Fall Break is around the corner for many students, and it provides a fun time to visit a book store or library. They are both great places for exploring and discovering. Do your children have their own library card? It can give a sense of ownership and pride in their community. Wherever your family finds books, providing regular access to them strengthens reading habits. Let’s build up great readers!
This wonderful list was compiled and written by Claire Turner. Claire is a life long Memphian and Tiger fan. She is the lower school librarian and art teacher at Harding Academy. Claire lives with her husband and daughter in East Memphis.
If you love this book list as much as we do, please consider purchasing the books from independently-owned local bookstore, Novel. Click here to “add to cart!”
Novel offers curbside pick up and even home delivery! Just call (901) 922-5526. They’re open for socially-distanced shopping Monday-Saturday 9am – 8pm and Sunday 10am – 5pm.