The 12 Most Marvelous Autumn Books for Children
Written by Noreen Greimann
After the heat of the summer, we always look forward to the warm colors of autumn, the cool and crisp mornings and the abundance of comfort foods. And with that comes much more time spent snuggled up on the couch with my children and a good book.
The autumn books I’m sharing with you today are not your ordinary autumn books about leaves changing colors and children picking pumpkins. These books are unique in that they capture the beauty of this season so incredibly well in their outstanding illustrations. The books are just such a joy to look at. But of course, they also tell a wonderful story.
Our Favorite Autumn Books
Brambly Hedge – Autumn Story by Jill Barklem – Ages 3+
This is one story from the Brambly Hedge series, which is about a small village of mice that live together. Each season holds new adventures for the mice and in autumn they must work together to bring in the harvest before the rain comes. But somehow, Primrose, one of the young mice, gets lost.
Woody, Hazel and Little Pip by Elsa Beskow – Ages 4+
Elsa Beskow is one of our favorite children’s authors and illustrators. Her stories are always delightful and full of wonderful details. This story is about two little acorn children who are supposed to gather acorns and end up on an adventurous journey through the woods, while Hazel hitches a ride on Squirrel’s tail. Sadly, these books are often only available in the mini format and the full size version is hard to come by. But even in their small size they are books to be treasured.
Leaves by David Ezra Stein – Ages 2+
It is bear’s first autumn and the falling leaves catch bear by surprise. His attempts to put the leaves back fail and he ends up sleeping underneath a blanket of leaves. When spring time arrives and bear wakes up, nature once again his a surprise for him. This sweet story is perfect for little ones just beginning to understand the ways of nature.
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rowlinson – Ages 3+
This is another tale about a very concerned young fox that worries when his favorite tree begins to loose its leaves. He tries to help the tree and is left feeling sad when nothing is working. But in the end he is rewarded by a beautiful sight as winter arrives.
The Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum – Ages 4+
We have only discovered this story recently and have fallen in love with it. An old woman wants to bake an apple cake but doesn’t have any apples. She takes a basket of plums and sets out to the market. On her way, she meets many people and first exchanges her plums for goose feathers and then the goose feathers for flowers and so on. In the end, she does get her apples and makes a warm apple cake (recipe included).
Pumpkin Moonshine by Tasha Tudor – Ages 4+
This classic Tasha Tudor tale is about a little girl who sets out to find the biggest pumpkin for Halloween. But the trouble begins when she tries to get it home and it starts to roll and roll and roll. One of the reasons we love this book so much is that it have a very gentle way of portraying Halloween and weaving in all the warmth that autumn has to offer.
Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller – Ages 3+
When Sophie finds a squash at the farmer’s market, she decides to care for it and will not allow her mom to cook if for dinner. Bernice the squash goes everywhere with Sophie until Bernice gets spots and begins to get soft. Fortunately, Sophie does the right thing (though she doesn’t realize it) and finds a big surprise the following spring. My children adore this story and each year they have their own “Bernice”.
The Gigantic Turnip by Aleksei Tolstoy – Ages 3+
This is the retelling of a Russian folktale about an old man and an old woman and their gigantic turnip. It’s too big for them to pull out of the ground and one by one their beloved animals come to help. The repetition and bold illustrations delights children and don’t be surprised if your child asks for it over and over again.
Jan Brett also has a version of this folktale called “The Turnip”.
Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington – Ages 4+
It all begins with a seed. Jamie watches the pumpkin grow all spring and summer and when autumn comes around, he carves a face on it for Halloween. The soft colored pencil illustrations set this book apart from other pumpkin story. You can almost feel the pride and excitement as Jamie cares for his pumpkin and like every good gardener, he ends up saving some seeds for next year.
Autumn by Gerda Muller – Ages 2+
I first mentioned this seasonal series on our spring book list. And this autumn story is just as delightful as the other three season. Though it is not a written story but rather a collection of beautifully illustrated scenes that children experience as autumn visits at the end of summer.
Wild Child by Lynn Plourde – Ages 3+
This is both an autumn story and a bedtime story. Mother Earth tries to put her wild child, Autumn, to bed. But like most children, autumn isn’t quite ready. She needs a song, a snack, her pj’s and a kiss. The warm and comforting illustration carry the story almost more than the words and the beauty of autumn is woven into every page.
Winter is Coming by Tony Johnston – Ages 4+
Every day, the girls visits her tree house in the woods and quietly observes the changes that autumn brings to the woods. She watches the animals as they prepare for winter and captures them in her sketchbook. The illustrations are warm and crisp at the same time, perfectly depicting what fall feels like.
This concludes the list of our most beloved autumn books and I hope you find a new treasure…or two…for your book shelf this season.