It doesn’t seem possible that October is over. I have been traveling most of the month and I am happy to announce that I experienced my first real fall.
Fall in Southern California is marked by high temperatures and hot winds known as the Santa Anas. This increases the risk of fire so we pray for rain but enjoy warm beach days. It was down right hot in Seal Beach last week:
In Central California, the weather is a bit cooler this time of year and fall is marked by harvest, pumpkin patches, and visiting geese.
These geese started following me home:
But this year was special. I traveled with dear friends to New England where we became leaf peepers and spent a week in awe of the amazing fall colors.
Here are some books that celebrate fall and make me long to be back in New England:
Bella’s Fall Coat by Lynn Plourde (author) and Susan Gal (illustrator)
Picture book ages 3-6
Bella is excited to experience her favorite season, fall. She puts on her favorite old coat even though, as her grandmother points out, it is too small. Bella enjoys romping in the leaves, imitating the migrating geese, and picking ripe apples. When her coat begins to unravel, Bella realizes that things like the fall and her coat, can’t last forever but they will be replaced with other good things.
This story begs to be read aloud with language like flapped and flew, twirled and whirled, and crinkled and crackled. The collage illustrations are absolutely beautiful. The best of autumn is celebrated with glowing reds, oranges, and browns. Bella’s enthusiasm for fall is contagious and readers will wish they could jump into the pages of the book with her. This is also a generational story which celebrates the relationship between Bella and her grandmother.
Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky (author and illustrator)
picture book ages 4-8
I found this book in the Air B&B we stayed in. The book follows the annual autumn arrival of a black bear to a New England farm. The informational text is clear and leaves room for the wonderful watercolor art on each double page spread. The bear is expressive and it is lovely to follow his journey. This would be a good choice to read with groups of young children who are learning about fall.
The Pumpkin Mystery by Carol Wallace (author) and Steve Bjorkman (illustrator)
Easy Reader ages 5-7 reading level 2.6
Holiday House 2010
Told in 4 short chapters this book follows a family planting a pumpkin patch. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned and the crop is not very successful. The story is told through the viewpoint of the family’s pet dog and cat who are determined to find out why there are no pumpkins. They track down clues and question wild animals living in the area. All ends well when they discover that last year’s crop, which had been tossed over a fence, had taken root and grown into an abundant pumpkin patch.
This is a good choice for young readers who love pumpkins and mysteries.
Applesauce Weather by Helen Frost (author) and Amy June Bates (illustrator)
ages 8-12 grades 3-7
This short novel-in-verse begins,
Today is the day I’ve been waiting for: the first apple
fell from the tree. Uncle Arthur will be here
just wait and see.
When the first apples fall, Faith and Peter know that it is time for their family to make applesauce. Each year, Uncle Arthur and Aunt Lucy have come to the farm to take part in the family tradition. But this year will be different because it is the first without Aunt Lucy. The children worry that Uncle Arthur won’t come.
Finally, Uncle Arthur does arrive but he lacks his usual sparkle. Ultimately, with a combination of patience and love, the children draw Uncle Arthur out and he shares his stories of apples, memories, and family.
Each chapter in Applesauce Weather is written from the viewpoint of a different character. Together, they combine into a story of love, loss, and finally hope. The underlying theme of how memories and stories help to the pain of grief grief is woven throughout the narrative as each character comes to terms with the loss of a dear family member. This is a quiet yet powerful novel.
I thought I’d share a few of the highlights from our trip:
We visited the Vermont Country Store and had cider floats. I made my own version which you might want to try:
Fall Apple Pie Float
For each serving you need:
2 scoops of apple pie ice cream
1 cup of apple cider
scoop the ice cream into a glass and add apple cider.
Serve with a straw and spoon.
My favorite game is bocce ball which I try to play wherever I travel so I was thrilled to play in Vermont.
New Hampshire was glorious! The Robert Frost House was closed but we were able to travel a path behind his house where many of his poems were displayed.
We took a steam train and boat up the Connecticut River Valley
How do you celebrate fall?