Autumn is an exciting time for a child. The wind is picking up, trees are painted in warm hues, and pumpkins, apples, and scarecrows abound. The school session is in full swing, and the holidays are around the corner.
As night falls earlier and earlier, perhaps there is time for an extra bedtime story. In celebration of this season of brisk anticipation and home comforts, here are some titles to enjoy with the children in your life.
“The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything,” by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd, tells the tale of a spunky lady who doesn’t let fear get in her way, even when she encounters two shoes walking by themselves in the woods at night or a scary pumpkin face yelling “Boo!” at her.
This enjoyable story builds and builds as the lady travels home in the dark, encountering noisy, animated objects—a pair of pants going “Wiggle, Wiggle” and two gloves going “Clap, Clap.” This story handles well the subject of fear, is a delightful read-aloud experience, and is just right for Halloween time.
“Bear Feels Sick,” by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman, is an adorable tale of an achy, sniffly bear and the loving care his animal friends afford him to help him feel better. More than just a good book to have around during flu season, this story truly centers on compassion for others. This message of kindness is delivered nicely through simple language and endearing illustrations.
“I Am a Bunny,” by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry, is a classic board book that sweetly illustrates a bunny’s experience with each season. Ideal for this time of year when the changing of seasons is perhaps most evident, this story beautifully portrays nature’s annual rituals through the eyes of bunny Nicholas.
As colorful autumn leaves fall across the page, Nicholas simply says, “In the fall, I like to watch the leaves falling from the trees.” “I Am a Bunny” is a picture book that can serve as a first book for the very young and enjoyed for years to come.
“Strega Nona’s Harvest” by Tomie dePaola celebrates the bounty of the season and the spirit of generosity through the familiar antics of its adorable title character, the Italian granny Strega Nona, who dePaola first introduced to readers in 1975.
“Strega Nona’s Harvest” follows the beloved grandmother and her assistants Bambolona and Big Anthony through the planting season to harvest time. When Big Anthony doesn’t exactly follow Strega Nona’s instructions, he finds himself harvesting more bounty than he bargained for.
At the end of the season, Big Anthony’s garden produces more vegetables than he knows what to do with. Each night he secretly piles his harvest at Strega Nona’s doorstep. Puzzled, Strega Nona goes to the village to find the source of the abundance. She learns there that her garden was the only successful one in the village and swiftly prepares a banquet and shares her good fortune with those in need.
“Strega Nona’s Harvest” is a delightful story that contains so many heartwarming elements; from respect for the seeds and the process of gardening and nature at large, to the diligent spirit of doing a good job, to the heart of generosity in sharing one’s abundance.
“Over the River and Through the Wood,” by Lydia Maria Child, illustrated by Christopher Manson, is a lovely rendition of the classic Thanksgiving poem. It features woodcut pictures that tell the story of a horse-drawn sleigh carrying a family to grandfather’s house for the holiday feast.
The illustrations beautifully portray the cold November weather, the anticipation of the trip, and the warmth of home and family upon arrival. Children will love to read this over and over again.