Many families and schools choose not to celebrate Halloween. Whether that’s due to having differing traditions or religious beliefs, or not liking the connotations surrounding Halloween, teachers have found other ways to celebrate the fall season.
Fall is such a fun time of year to teach about – because it is so multi-sensory! Here are a few books with craft activity suggestions that make the most of this colorful time of year in a non-Halloween way. So grab yourself a steaming mug of your favorite autumn spiced beverage, cozy up by the fire and take a few moments to read through my favorite book suggestions for the season.
(Disclosure: Some of links below are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.)
Listed below are some suggested books about leaves:
That wild old lady is back swallowing fall-themed items. What can you make from leaves, clothes, a pumpkin, and rope? That’s right, a scarecrow! Who knew that this old-fashioned nursery rhyme would spawn so many versions? Children love these patterned repetitive text books and are the ones they love to ‘read’ independently in the book corner.
In Red Leaf Yellow Leaf, a young child observes the life cycle of a maple tree, from a fallen seed that sprouts in the woods to being transplanted and sold at a nursery to being replanted and cherished in a new home (the narrator’s).
In this “eye-catching picture book” (School Library Journal), a Leaf Man made from fallen leaves flies through the skies on a breeze, observing fields of fall vegetables, prairies at harvest time, and other autumn scenes. The storyline is a simple one. The real standout is Ehlert’s illustrations, made almost entirely from leaves of different shapes and sizes.
Use these leaf books as inspiration to create your own leaf people! All you need is a selection of leaves, some paper and glue to make leaf people as unique as your students!
In this beautiful book, Jane Yolen introduces us to the fickle scarecrow, who decides to leave his station and dance away the fall night. He leaps through the fields until he reaches the farmhouse, where he sees a small light in the window. Inside, a boy is saying his prayers, and he offers up a special prayer for the corn that will be harvested in the morning. Humbled, the scarecrow knows what he has to do: He returns to the field and watches over the corn as only he can. Masterfully told, with illustrations by award winner Bagram Ibatoulline, this book has all the makings of a new classic.
Meet one scarecrow who’s scared of everything in this uplifting picture book about fear and friendship that also includes a punch-out Scaredycrow paper doll!
Scaredycrow is a scarecrow with a big problem. He’s scared of EVERYTHING! He’s scared of the crows that fly by in the day. He’s scared of the bats that swoop down in the night. He’s scared of the barnyard animals, too. And the feeling is mutual! The crows, the bats, and other barnyard friends are all terribly afraid of the lonely, little scarecrow out in the field.
But one day, when a little mouse named Tiny decides to bring everyone together, everyone learns that there is nothing scary about making new friends.
Tattybogle, the scarecrow, has a head full of straw and cheerful thoughts. The rain is Tattybogle’s music, the wind is his dancing partner. Then one day the playful wind blows too hard, and all that is left of Tattybogle is an old stick. But that is only the start of a glorious new life, because the stick starts to take root in the earth, and becomes a tree . . .
Students can create their own scarecrows with this craft or glyph – perfect for decorating fall hallways!
Of all the wonderful fall books here, this is my absolute favorite. Cat, Duck and Squirrel live in an old white cabin, with a pumpkin patch in the garden. Every day Cat slices up some pumpkin, Squirrel stirs in some water and Duck tips in some salt to make perfect pumpkin soup… until the day Duck wants to do the stirring…
A funny, rhythmical story about friendship and sharing, with fabulous animal characters, illustrated in glowing autumnal colours, which received rave reviews in hardback. Who can’t identify with poor duck as he wants to stir the soup, but ends up stirring up more than a little trouble?
First she pulled hard. And then she pulled harder. But that pumpkin just sat. The witch has grown the biggest pumpkin ever, and now she wants to make herself a pumpkin pie for Halloween. But the pumpkin is so big she can’t get it off the vine.
It’s so big the ghost can’t move it, either. Neither can the vampire, nor the mummy. It looks as if there’ll be no pumpkin pie for Halloween, until along comes the bat with an idea to save the day.
This picture book uses real photographs to show a pumpkin in a pumpkin patch move through its life cycle. This book really dives into pumpkins and gives close up pictures of everything, which is so engaging for kids. It is a perfect companion to pumpkin carving or further pumpkin exploration!
Students make their own 3D pumpkins where each page reveals a stage in the pumpkin life cycle with this craft.
Don’t forget to leave your fall book and craft suggestions below!