As if taking a cue from the first truly cool north wind, the leaves at our home began falling in droves this weekend. When leaves begin piling up at our home, a barrage of memories brighten in my mind: the unmistakable first breath of autumn air, the sound of children at the school across the street, the building of crispy leaf piles, and the feeling of those same crispy leaves stuck in my socks, hair, ears, nose, and shirt. Ahh. Autumn is here. Or at least it’s almost here. Who knows, really? In Oklahoma summer could drag on for another few months.
In any case, I love autumn. And despite their penchant for finding their way into my socks (and hair, etc.) I love leaves too. My fondest leaf memory took place in September 2013. My (then) 4 year-old son and I were on a mission to collect vibrant, unique leaves for a craft project. We bundled up, headed to the park, and spent what felt like hours hunting for the brightest yellows, the deepest reds, and the warmest browns. We must have gathered hundreds (far more than we needed). I remember spreading them out on the floor and staring in wonder at Autumn’s snowflakes. It was a marvel; there were no two alike.
Dear parents and caregivers, if you and your little ones are autumn admirers or leaf lovers, these books are for you. I hope you’ll take time this month to share a walk in the park, neighborhood, or other outdoor locale to collect leaves. Until next time, keep reading together!
My Leaf Book by Monica Wellington
If your kiddo is like mine, they probably love finding leaves. This books assists young nature enthusiasts identify the trees that fallen leaves came from. It’s a great book to take to the park for an afternoon while searching for leaves together. Bonus: There are several leaf-related activities in the back to complete when you return home from your leaf-finding adventure!
A Leaf Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas (illustrated by Violetta Dabija)
A leaf is just a leaf. Right? Or could it be more? A shade spiller, a mouth filler. A tree topper, a rain stopper. The possibilities are endless! The illustrations are warm, yet quirky and the rhyming text transports readers from early autumn to winter. Hands down, this book is my favorite from the list. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!
Leaves by David Ezra Stein
Bear loves everything just the way it is. So when his first autumn arrives and the leaves begin falling, he is more than a bit unsettled. See how Bear handles the crisis (spoiler alert: he goes to sleep) and see if his beloved leaves ever return to the trees. Warm illustrations complement jaunty text from this Caldecott-winning author/illustrator.
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson (illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke)
As his special tree begins losing its leaves at an alarming rate, Fletcher is labors to rescue it from wind, squirrel, and porcupine. the wind, squirrels, and porcupine. Eventually Fletcher concedes defeat but is greeted by a sparkly surprise when he visits his special tree the next evening. This one tells a similar tale to Stein’s Leaves, but is more prosaic. The illustrations are stunning.
Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger
Whimsy abounds in this tale of a leaf that isn’t quite ready to brave winter away from its comfy tree branch. Perhaps it will take an unexpected friend to convince the little yellow leaf to take the plunge.
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Where does a Leaf Man go when the wind blows? Find out in this classic picture book by one of the masters of children’s literature. Kids will love spying the hidden pictures as they turn the pages to find leaf man. After the story is over, the chances are pretty good they’ll want to make a leaf man of their own!
My Autumn Book by Wong Herbert Yee
As a young girl sits by a window and gazes outside, something curious happens: a leaf falls from a tree. What could this mean? Told in frolicking rhyme, this simple picture book follows a little girl from early autumn to winter as she investigates the great outdoors.
Mooncakes by Loretta Seto (illustrated by Renné Benoit)
The Mid-Autumn Festival is September 15 this year. In this warmhearted picture book you’ll find the backstory of this traditional Chinese and Vietnamese holiday interwoven with the tale of how one little girl and her family celebrate.
Say It! by Charlotte Zolotow (illustrated by Charlotte Voake)
This one is for you, parents and caregivers. It’s for your little one too, but you’ll probably revel in its “cuteness” more than kiddos will. The book reminded me so much of my fun fall walks at the park with my son that I just had to include it here. Oh, and what does the little girl want her mommy to say? I’ll bet you can guess.