Category Archives: Halloween

Make the most of family time this fall with books


by Melissa Perry
Program Coordinator
Family Reading Partnership

Piles of crunchy leaves, a spicy bite in the air, chilly mornings, and flocking geese; all these signs point to fall. When this time of year rolls around, we tend to take notice of and truly appreciate the colorful, yet slowly browning outside world, with a few moments of summer-like sun sprinkled in for good measure. We spend more time at home enjoying the warmth thrown off by a baking oven overflowing with delicious, tempting smells, and lingering just that much longer in the comfort of a cozy blanket with a steaming cuppa and a few good books. Children love the extra family time that comes as a result and reading together is the best way to make the most of it.

Here are some ideas of expanding on your time spent reading together and incorporating books into your fall activities.

‘Leaf Man’ by Lois Ehlert, is a book that features collages of real leaves made to tell the story of the very busy leaf man, traveling wherever the wind takes him. You may enjoy taking a walk outside to collect leaves to make your own leaf people and animals. What types of leaves work best for feet? Heads? Hair?

‘Why Do Leaves Change Color?’ by Betsy Maestro teaches you all about why and how leaves change in the fall when the weather turns cool. You can explore the park or your yard to see what kinds of leaves you can find and talk about how and why the leaves change from green to red, yellow, orange, and brown. If you find a green leaf, make a guess at what color it might turn!

Explore different types of leaves with ‘Autumn Leaves’ by Ken Robbins. How many of the leaves in the book can you identify in your own back yard? To preserve the beautiful leaves and make your own book with them, cut contact paper to the desired size, then press leaves onto the sticky side of the paper. Carefully cover with another sheet of contact paper, slowly smoothing out the air bubbles. Make a cover out of a cereal box or construction paper and decorate.

To learn about the growth cycle of pumpkins, check out ‘Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden’ by George Levenson. You and your child will see the pumpkin’s process from seed, to plant, to fruit, and then as it decomposes. Try it with a pumpkin at home! Cut open a pumpkin and take a look at the seeds. You can even save a few to plant next year. Leave the pumpkin outside and watch it decompose as time goes on. You can even keep a diary of the pumpkin and draw pictures of how it looks as it changes.

‘Pumpkin Soup’ by Helen Cooper is a charming tale about a dog, a cat, and a duck that live together and make pumpkin soup together every night, each with their own special part of the process. Enjoy reading the recipe at the end of the book and following the steps to make the pumpkin soup recipe with your family!

‘Cranberry Thanksgiving’ by Wende and Harry Devlin has always been a favorite at my house. This funny tale offers a glimpse of the New England autumn and teaches us not to judge others by their appearances. You’ll also find the secret recipe for Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread in this book- a fall time favorite that you can recreate with your own family!

‘In November’ by Cynthia Rylant is a sweet story about how the earth and all it’s creatures prepare for winter. When you look outside or go for a walk, what winter preparations do you see taking place? What does your family do to get ready for winter?


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Scared Silly with Halloween Books

Ghouls, bats, princesses, and black cats will soon be roaming our neighborhoods. It’s trick-or-treat time!

Halloween is a holiday that is hundreds of years old. Its traditions have merged and morphed from a celebration of the harvest and an honoring of the spirit world to its present day rendition of dressing in costume and collecting candy.

As you introduce your children to this cultural tradition, you can choose how to explain the creatures and customs that may initially be frightening. Ghosts, witches, vampires, and mummies can be mysterious and threatening, but often show up in children’s books as fun-loving characters. Things that may be scary, can be less so if they are explained and explored.

Read some Halloween books before the holiday and set the stage for your young child to enjoy the spookiness of the night!

“Five Little Pumpkins” illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. This board book has bright illustrations of jack-o-lanterns that act out the well-known rhyme. The pace and text are just right for a toddler. Also for your young child, try “Ten Timid Ghosts,” by Jennifer O’Connell for a rhyming countdown from 10 ghosts to one haunted house. Illustrations are colorful and friendly.

“Room on the Broom” by Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffer. As a witch rides her broom on a windy day, the wind keeps blowing things away. She has to keep making trips down to the ground to collect her hat, her wand, her bow, and more.  At each trip a critter asks if there is room on her broom to join her, so she collects lots of friends along the way too.

“Broom, Zoom!” by Caron Lee Cohen, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier. A little witch with a big, red, pointed hat and little green goblin with a long red tail both want to use the same broom. They don’t want to share, but when they see that each has important work to do with the broom, they take turns so both can use it. Illustrations are big areas of color with black outlines.

“Big Pumpkin” by Erica Silverman, illustrated by S.D. Schindler When a witch grows a pumpkin that is so big that she can’t get it off the vine, she needs help from her friends the ghost, vampire, mummy, and bat. It takes teamwork and cooperation to get the job done and make the pumpkin into a delicious pie.

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Filed under children's books, family reading, Halloween