Fall is an exciting time when families get to do fun activities like picking apples at the orchard and carving pumpkins for Halloween. But how do those apples and pumpkins come to be?
Agriculture is a vital part of American life, both past and present, and the remarkable books on this list celebrate life on the farm so your child can learn about it! Whether you’re a city dweller or you live in a farming community yourself, here are 10 essential reads that introduce children to lovable livestock, gorgeous landscapes, and hardworking people who make each harvest — and every delicious meal — possible.
For more farming fun, here are sweet books about pumpkins!
We Love the Farm by Rachael Saunders (PreK)
This board book offers an adorable introduction to barnyard animals for toddlers and preschoolers. As you flip through the pages, your child will discover cows, pigs, chickens, and more. As a bonus, it's two books in one! Mommy farm animals are tucked in a smaller book inside, and as you read, your child will reunite them with their families in the big book. It’s a sweet, interactive introduction to animals that little ones have a blast with. (Here’s why your child should know farm animal names by age 3!)
I Am a Tractor by Ace Landers (PreK)
With this fantastic book — which, by the way, is shaped like an actual tractor! — kids will learn about the equipment that helps farms operate. Follow along as a tractor helps farmers plant crops, plow fields, pull machinery, and take care of other important tasks on the farm. Kids who are fans of big machines and learning how things work will love this unique glimpse into the mechanical and technical side of farming.
Sleep Tight Farm by Eugenie Doyle (PreK-K)
Walk children through a year on a farm with this vividly illustrated book. The book follows members of a farming family as they plant seeds in the spring, withstand the summer heat, and harvest crops in the autumn. It lyrically shows the hard work, expertise, and dedication farmers put into bringing us the food we eat every day — a lesson that’s guaranteed to stick with kids.
Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Gris Grimly (PreK-K)
Sure, it’s based on a classic nursery song, but this storybook is anything but typical. It was created by renowned watercolor master, Gris Grimly, and puts a new spin on the old tale through incredible gothic illustrations and a surprise ending featuring an unexpected guest on the farm. From start to finish, it is obvious that this book is a labor of love by Grimly, and his joyful interpretation of life on the farm leaps off the page.
Touch and Lift Farm by Scholastic (PreK-K)
This sensational board book lets toddlers and preschoolers get as close to the farm as possible through touch and feel pages, as well as animal sounds that you can play as you read. Along the way, kids meet ducks, cows, chickens, pigs, and lambs. A new experience on each page is sure to delight and double as sensory play.
LEGO City: Work This Farm by Michael Anthony Steele (PreK-1)
LEGO fans will love this farm-centric addition to the LEGO City world. In this book, kids follow along as minifigures feed farm animals, harvest crops, and ride their tractors. It gives children a practical look at what happens on the farm and how farms are a part of LEGO City (and our world) at large.
Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Quack by Doreen Cronin (PreK-1)
Show your kids the animals on a farm with a whole lot of laughs! In this hysterical story, Farmer Brown goes on vacation and asks his brother Bob to watch over the animals. He leaves detailed instructions, including very specific advice to watch out for the mischievous duck. This book gives children a fun opportunity to discover the animals that live on a farm, and makes learning engaging as they experience a zany story unlike any barnyard book before.
Farm by Elisha Cooper (PreK-2)
This book is a celebration of day-to-day farm life, accompanied by stunning images and a lyrical story of a family working through each season — including children who feed animals as part of their morning chores (something that’s oh-so-familiar to you if you grew up on a farm).
Owl Diaries: Trip to the Pumpkin Farm by Rebecca Elliott (K-2)
It’s not only picture books and board books that give kids a glimpse into farm life. In this early reader from the Branches book line (designed to help kids transition from picture books to chapter books), Eva’s class takes a field trip to a pumpkin farm, where they milk cows, pick apples, and learn about farming. Later, she and her friends team up to solve a special pumpkin mystery. Newly independent readers love curling up with this cozy book!
Farm to Table: Grains and Cereals by Ann O. Squire (Grades 3-5)
It’s so important for children to know where our food comes from, and this book provides awe-worthy photos and detailed information to take young readers through the entire process. This one is an ideal pick for slightly older children (ages 8 & up), as it includes information about the more complicated aspects of farming, like genetically modified crops and how farmers can protect the environment.
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