Wow! Phones have come so far. I swear I couldn’t see the dust on my pumpkin until I uploaded this picture, and then BOOM dust everywhere! You’d think I would delete it and start over, but you’d be wrong! Anyway, it’s that time of year when we start trying to do ALL the autumnal activities to trick ourselves into thinking it’s cooler outside. It’s like a jedi mind trick familiar to all Texans. Without further adeiu, here are my favorite children’s picture books for the fall – plus a bonus “pro tip.” . Curl up under a blanket with your favorite small person, light a delicious fall candle, and get to reading (with enthusiasm and fun voices, please).
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Before We Start, Here’s An Ex-Reading Teacher Pro Tip
Search Epic for “Autumn” or “Fall” and Select Your Child’s Reading Level
When I was teaching third grade reading and writing, I relied heavily on Epic in the classroom. The kids loved it. They have so many books (something like 40,000, I think?!) that you really don’t have to worry whether a kid will find something they want to read.
Since kids are so tech-savvy, they seem willing to click around looking for a good book for quite a while. Those same kids would get overwhelmed or frustrated wandering aimlessly around the library.
I also love how you can filter for your kid’s reading level or select “Read to Me” so they’re only seeing options that will support reading gains. If you’re not sure about your child’s reading level (whether your school uses F&P, Lexile, AR, DRA), give your teacher until about early October. If the reading teacher can’t give you a reading level by then, you’ve got bigger problems!
Epic has a 30 day free trial, and then it’s $7.99 a month at the time of this posting. My kids at home are both avid readers, and I probably spend that much in gas to the library and back each month! Most mamas ain’t got time for that, so if that’s you, think about trying out Epic! <3
Now! Here are the best Autumn books on our shelves.
Best Children’s Picture Books for the Fall to Read to Babies and Toddlers
I never tire of Sandra Boynton books. The lady is a genius at writing books for both kids and adults.
They’ve got fun little rhyming patterns so you can be a bit sing-songy. That’s wonderful for helping kids to learn how to read because it builds their phonemic awareness. I’m just a former reading teacher showing off with that vocabulary, and we both know it. Moving on…
Reading Boynton books feels like you’re in on some kind of mama joke that’s gonna go over a little kid’s head. Like you can imagine this chicken screaming his head off? Delightful.
This little Halloween book isn’t the least bit scary, and focuses mostly on animals in costume. It’s the perfect Halloween book for toddlers with hyped-up imaginations.
Best of all, Sandra Boynton books are short, making them an excellent choice for when your small fry begs for “one more book.” Be the hero and say yes – and you’ll be saying yes to only 90 more seconds until bedtime/wine-time. You’re welcome for the pro tip.
Five Little Pumpkins
This is one of those board books with a bit of squish to it. It makes the book a bit more substantial.
This is a pumpkin counting book with a little rhyme to it. It’s spot-on for my two year old who is learning to count, because of course we can count the pumpkins on every page to support one-to-one correspondence.
Side note: I’m pretty sure he is red/green colorblind. He can spot blue perfectly every time, but has yet to figure out red, orange and green. I bet a few months from now, I’ll be like, “Correction. He was just running a bit behind with his colors.”
The colors are super vibrant, as you can see. It’s a sweet little fall story, and it falls into the same category as Boynton’s book because it’s QUICK – perfect for short attention spans. They will easily memorize this book, too, which is a very healthy thing to support reading development. So we adults get bored, but it’s actually very developmentally appropriate stuff.
Room on the Broom
Room on the Broom is a really great story with cute forest friend characters. She’s not a mean witch at all, just a nice witch who keeps losing her belongings.
Little animals come to her rescue and she shows her gratitude by welcoming them onto her broomstick. Eventually, she gets into a real pickle when a dragon tries to eat her, but her friends save the day.
The story has some predictable, repetivive phrases that toddlers and preschoolers really enjoy. Chicken Patty loves to chime in, “Whoosh! They were gone,” throughout the tale.
We also love the illustrations, and anytime you get the fun Halloween characters without the frightening bits, that’s a win!
I put this book in my baby and toddler list, but my Turkey Burger is in kindergarten, and she loves it, too! It’s a bit longer than a typical board book.
Little Blue Truck
We’ve loved The Little Blue Truck (“the boo tuck book”) for quite a while. The edges of it are getting kind of tired and worn.
There’s nothing inherently fallish about the story. But the delightful little illustrations evoke the fall with all the gold, orange, and red hues. It’s just a beautiful little book with an adorable protagonist.
This book teaches all about being willing to serve, and having the bravery to believe you can make a difference.
While working on this post, I also discovered that Little Blue Truck has a Halloween book, too! We haven’t read it yet, but it’s a flap book. It’s got great reviews on Amazon, so I may check it out soon!
Best Children’s Picture Books for the Fall to Read with Pre-K and Kindergarteners
The Spooky Old Tree
Fair Warning: This book is legit spooky for little kids. I think when ole Stan and Jan published this tale back in 1978, children were a bit less fragile.
My own kids are equipped with imaginations that run away with them from time to time. My oldest enjoys it at age 6, but my two year old says the Spooky is Old Tree is “too pooky.” He’s not wrong. But if what you’re seeking is a legitimately age appropriate scaryish book for Halloween night, this would do the trick for the preschool crew!
You’ll also notice from the images below that this isn’t the usual length Berenstain Bear book, complete with a full plot. This is a quick read for little kids and beginning readers.
It’s Raining Bats and Frogs
Delia the Witch loves the annual witch parade, but it’s raining out! Of course that won’t do, so Delia, demonstrating leadership, decides to work up a spell and changes the rain to bats and frogs. There are disasterous consequences, so Delia reacts and changes course multiple times in her attempts to save the parade.
This story is precious, and so are the illustrations. I like this book because it makes witches seem less scary for little kids being exposed to Halloween.
You can see an example of the rhyming couplets used throughout the book when Delia casts a spell. Rhyming books are important for kids. Here’s another teacher mom who gives a super-quick run down on the importance of rhyme exposure.
This sweet little story is about the changing seasons and a bear who can’t wait for there to be honey when he wakes up from his winter nap. He is craving his favorite snack all summer but has to be patient. I chose this book because of the beautiful reminder at the end (pictured) that shows the changing seasons: “The nights cooled and the days grew crisp.”
The language is lovely and gives listeners access to some higher-level vocabulary embedded in simple sentences. The critters are adorable, and you can’t help but sense the beauty in bear’s world.
What are your family’s favorite fall books? Do you tend to pull seasonal books off the shelves often? What online resources (if any) do you use to support your kids’ reading?