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November 8, 2011 Your Fall Bookshelf By Jeremy Brunaccioni
Grades PreK–K

    Hi, folks. It’s time for another collection of quality books to use in your classroom. If you haven’t already, I’m sure you're about to launch a unit about fall. Before introducing the fall books, however, I want to start you off with two titles that cover all of the seasons, to give your students some context. Because we’re accustomed to the changing seasons, it’s easy to forget that our small students are consciously experiencing them for the first time.





    Books on the Seasons

    All the Seasons of the Year

    Written by Deborah Lee Rose

    Illustrated by Kay Chorao

    Published by Abrams

    My students love the cuddly kittens in this book, whose characters remind me of illustrator Garth Williams. The illustrations are warm and sunny, and just have a cozy feel to them that's strengthened by the rhyming text. The book introduces a nice vocabulary teaching moment by starting off  with “autumn,” and then cycling around to “fall” at the end. It was interesting to observe how few students knew what autumn was.


    Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons

    Written and illustrated by Il Sung Na

    Published by Knopf

    If you’re interested in teaching students about how animals adapt to a change in seasons, this is a great title. It touches on migration, food gathering, and adaptation in such a gentle way, your students won’t even realize that you're covering science. The pictures are pretty unique, too. The delicate designs superimposed on the illustrations add an Ezra Jack Keats-like quality to the book, and the kids love looking for the rabbit.


    Books on Fall


    Written and illustrated by Hannah Shaw

    Published by Knopf

    This zany book cracks my students up every time. When Bob discovers a squirrel in his bag of nuts, he winds up trying to feed and bathe his new friend. Some squirrel high jinks ensue before Errol is returned to his home in the woods. Every year my students burst out laughing when they see the monkey on the last page and realize the cycle may be destined to start again.


    Kitten’s Autumn

    Written and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

    Published by Kids Can Press

    The detailed multimedia illustrations in this book create an illusion of three-dimensionality, causing the pictures to pop off the page. Created using a mix of cut-paper and clay, they are similar to Robin Brickman’s illustrations in A Log’s Life. My students enjoy the rhyming text and have fun spotting the cat in the illustrations.


    Autumn Leaves

    Written and illustrated by Ken Robbins

    Published by Scholastic

    This is one of the most useful leaf books for the classroom. The high-quality leaf reproductions, arranged to form various creatures, make this the perfect book to introduce a leaf-based art lesson. If you can’t find die-cut fall leaves in a catalog, color copy some from the book and use them to create new animals.


    Classroom Activities

    After reading all these colorful books, students will be eager to bring fall into the classroom in other ways. Use these hands-on extension activities to continue exploring the season.

    • Use wallpaper scraps to cut out fall leaves and create a fall-themed bulletin board or collage to bring home.
    • Create a lifelike mobile for your classroom by taping colored paper leaves to a branch. Click here for a clip art leaf template.
    • Provide your students with acorns to bury in the sandbox/sand table. They’ll have a blast playing squirrel.
    • As a group activity, come up with a list of items students would need if they were to travel south for the winter.
    • Use salt dough and leaf-shaped cookie cutters to create fall leaves, and then have your students paint them. Use your favorite recipe or try this one.

    I hope you enjoyed this selection of fall-themed titles. If you have other favorites, I’d love to hear about them, too.


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Susan Cheyney