Autumn Arbor: Children’s Books That Celebrate Fall Leaves

There are so many things I look forward to in the fall. Cooler weather, crisp apples, the start of school, warm sweaters. But perhaps my favorite part of fall is the beauty of the leaves. These books are the perfect way to enjoy the season’s brilliant colors inside as well as outside. 

Lois Ehlert’s Leaf Man is a beloved classic. It’s a sweetly quirky book about a man made out leaves that blows away in the wind on a journey. And the obvious follow-up craft of making a leaf man is a classic fall activity in its own right that kids will love. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by the same author is a non-fiction look at trees and leaves. It’s simple and brightly illustrated with Ehlert’s signature collages so preschoolers will love it but it’s packed full of information that older kids may enjoy. 

Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber is a poem dedicated to the joy of autumn beauty and the fun of jumping in piles of leaves.

Two young squirrels in Leaf Trouble by Jonathan Emmett are worried when their home tree starts changing. They try to stick the leaves back on the branches but they all keep falling down. The squirrels are relieved when Mama Squirrel explains about the seasons changing. Fletcher the fox has a similar problem in Fletcher and the Falling Leaves. He is worried about the trees falling and what that means but is happily surprised when winter comes and the trees are adorned with icicles and he is no longer sad over the loss of the leaves. 

An information packed non-fiction book is Why Do Leaves Change Color by Betsy Maestro. This is part of the Let’s Read and Find Out Science series and is aimed to students roughly in 1st-3rd grades. 

Oak Leaf by John Sandford follows a single oak leaf as it flies on a breeze over various geographies. It’s the kind of book where the illustrations prompt the child reading the book (or being read to) to tell the story himself as the words are kept sparse and simple. 

The young fox in Lawrence in the Fall by Matthew Farina is in a panic. He is supposed to bring in something he collects for show-and-tell and he knows all his classmates have amazing collections. Papa Fox finds a way to save the day by taking him to the forest where he can find an amazing collection of leaves to share. 

If your kids are inspired to find their own leaf collection, a great guide is Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins. It’s a simple but excellently done look at thirteen different leaves. Close-up photos of leaves are paired with the trees they come from as well as a few facts. This would be a great book to read before or after a nature walk and leaf collection.

And what to do with the leaves they find? You may find some inspiration in If You Find a Leaf by Aimee Sicuro. A young artist imagines turning leaves into a variety of things like boats, swings, and hot air balloons.