Finally, here in New England at least, fall has arrived! The air has a crisp and sparkly edge, the leaves are changing color, and it’s the perfect season to snuggle up with a soft blanket and a good book. There are so many fantastic children’s books out there, but it’s not always easy to find a book that both parents and children will love. I want books that aren’t crazy-long, that keep things simple but still offer top-notch writing, and that don’t give my kids any new ideas in terms of bad behavior or rude language. My children pretty much want engaging stories with animals as characters. So, my three kiddos and I have come up with a list of a few favorites for reading together now that it’s getting chilly, and we thought we’d share! Please, please – if you have some faves of your own, let me know in the comments!
Here are 10 of the Best Children’s Books to Read in the Fall:
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
This book has all the elements I love about the very best children’s books: beautiful writing, sweet and engaging characters, and an intriguing story with a satisfying ending. The poetry of Rawlinson’s writing style is what really hooks me, and Fletcher himself, a small but serious little fox, pulls children into this story of swirling leaves, bustling animals, and one magnificent tree.
Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas by Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
The follow-up to Fletcher’s leafy tale is Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas. As the temperatures continue to drop, you can snuggle up with a fresh story about Fletcher and a Christmas snowstorm. It’s cozy and delightful.
Ducking for Apples by Lynne Berry, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata
Rhyming, bicycling, apple picking, and baking! I love Lynne Berry’s duck books, and this one is a crisp and breezy tale that’s perfect for fall. Just a warning though: your kids will probably beg you to make apple pie by the end. Mine usually do, and although pie crust and I are not friends, I am looking forward to making something apple-y with them. As long as they can top it with whipped cream, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled.
If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
My favorite of the If You Give a… series of books, this one has a cozy, let’s-put-on sweaters-and-bake-something feel to it. Also it features a moose, and I live in the land of moose, so there’s that.
Turtle’s Penguin Day by Valeri Gorbachev
In this book, a little turtle is inspired by a bedtime story that his father reads to him, and he carries that inspiration into his delightfully old-fashioned school day and into the evening. The whole feel of this book, both the story and the illustrations, reminds me of my own kindergarten days. It’s imaginative and comforting and just right for preschool and kindergarten-aged kids.
The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram
It’s hard not to love Little Nutbrown Hare and his sweet, warm relationship with his dad. This book is perfect if your children love Guess How Much I Love You, but you’ve all read it a bajillion times and would love to find out what else is going on with the Nutbrown Hares. There are four short tales in this one volume, so you can just read one or two if you don’t have a lot of time. Like if, for example, bathtime went a little long and you had to chase the naked toddler around for twenty minutes, and someone threw a raging tantrum about not having a very specific pajama top that she outgrew six months ago, and then it turns out that someone’s special puppy is missing even though you SPECIFICALLY TOLD EVERYONE, ABOUT EIGHT HUNDRED TIMES, TO MAKE SURE THEY HAD THEIR SPECIAL PUPPIES BEFORE THEY EVEN GOT IN THE TUB… Anyway. It’s a lovely book to cuddle up and calm down with.
Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
I LOVE this book. A penguin finds a pinecone. The penguin and the pinecone become friends. (Don’t question it. I know that a pinecone would make a really crappy friend, but in this book, it’s freaking adorable.) It’s too cold for Pinecone to live on the ice with the penguins, so Penguin bravely takes it back to its home. This book is full of sweet, snowy friendship, and the ending will warm your heart.
A House in the Woods by Inga Moore
This story of friendship, cooperation, and kindness takes place in cozy autumn woods. Despite the differences among a group of woodland animals, they all work together to create a warm, inclusive home.
Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Buket Erdogan
I love the Mouse’s First…series by Lauren Thompson. This book is simple, but still engaging enough for my four-year-olds. The illustrations are bright and beautiful, and the story is full of the sensory delights of fall.
Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Debi Gliori
This is just about the loveliest depiction of the relationship between a big brother and a little sister that you could ever find. Willoughby helps his little sister Willa to think of various happy things when she has trouble falling asleep. The soft, warm illustrations will make you wish you too could curl up like these bunnies in a quiet treehouse, thinking happy thoughts as you drift off to sleep…
Happy Fall, and Happy Reading!