What is it about the onset of fall that makes us want to celebrate? Labor Day comes and goes, we go back to school, back to routine, and back to the elements of life that we allowed, perhaps, some slack over the summer.
Now, it’s fall and we’re back.
One of my favorite ways to appreciate any special occasion or the change in season is by sharing carefully chosen books with my children (and, often, my husband too). Reading aloud is not just for the preschool set but can be enjoyed at, truly, any age.
The joy of sharing stories as a family is reason enough to set aside time this season for some fall reads.
Here are a few suggestions that, while not all explicitly about fall, engender an appreciation of nature and the changing of seasons, and are simply wonderful books for a variety of ages.
‘I Am a Bunny’ by Ole Risom, Illustrated by Richard Scarry
This classic board book 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 Nicholas the bunny.
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 dePaula
A great fall read for children, “Strega Nona’s Harvest” celebrates the bounty of the season and the spirit of generosity through the familiar antics of its adorable title character.
A delightful story, it contains so many heartwarming elements; such as respect for the seeds, the process of gardening, nature, the diligent spirit of doing a good job, and the heart of generosity when sharing one’s abundance.
‘Bear Feels Sick’ by Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Jane Chapman
“Bear Feels Sick” is an adorable tale of an achy, sniffly bear and the loving care his animal friends offer to help him feel better. More than just a good book to have around during the flu season, this story truly centers on compassion for others. This message of kindness is delivered nicely through simple language and endearing illustrations.
‘The Trumpet of the Swan’ by E. B. White
If you haven’t enjoyed this treasure from E. B. White with your children you are missing out. The endearing tale of a trumpeter swan, Louis, born without a voice and incapable of garnering the attention of a female mate takes readers on an adventure. His father, after recognizing his predicament, presents him with a brass trumpet through which to “call.” Louis must learn to play the trumpet and then find a way to pay the store owner, from whom his father felt ashamed to steal. A celebration of nature, good character, and overcoming obstacles, “The Trumpet of the Swan” is a treat.
‘Heidi’ by Johanna Spyri
This beloved literary classic, first published in 1880, is an essential component to any child’s library. The endearing tale of a young orphan, Heidi, and the beauty she brings to the lives of all who know her, is appropriate for all ages in the original, unabridged format.
If you prefer to enjoy this in audiobook format, check out Kara Shallenberg’s reading on LibriVox. It’s excellent.