With autumn’s arrival, the shift felt unusually abrupt to many parts of the country, including here in Los Angeles. Our children have a lot on their minds this time of year—from adapting to new school routines and changes in the day’s rhythm, to eagerly anticipating the tricks and treats of Halloween. This month’s books were selected to embrace the season and help little ones adjust to the transitions all around them.
by Cori Doerrfeld (Dial $17.99) Age 3-7
From the author of The Rabbit Listened comes another superb book to help youngsters process challenging emotions. Doerrfeld expertly tackles change and loss with charming vignettes showing how when one experience ends, another begins—a concept that will resonate with children struggling with transitions of all sorts.
Soft-lined illustrations show a worried little girl saying goodbye to her mom—but then making a new friend at school. As the seasons shift, the two children adapt to the weather, saying goodbye to autumn leaf-skipping and hello to indoor fort-building. Subsequent pages address other situations, such as the death of a pet (“goodbye to an empty bowl” becomes “hello to a full heart” as the teary child draws a picture of her lost goldfish) and even the bittersweet goodbye when one friend moves away.
Tender and observant, this book can facilitate the conversations where children begin observing the hello-goodbye moments in their own lives.
by Lois Ehlert (Harcourt $17.99) Age 3-6
Drifting across lawns and crunching underfoot, fallen leaves are the classic sign of autumn. Here’s a whimsical picture book that animates multi-hued leaves, acorns, and other natural materials into a character carried aloft by a gust of wind into a vivid world where leaves also form various animals and objects.
Artist Ehlert has created dazzling and lifelike artwork to accompany sparse text, allowing the reader’s own imagination to soar. Where did the breeze carry Leaf Man, and what does he see on his journey? Parents and teachers alike will appreciate the collaborative aspect of reading this book, which encourages creative conversation and provides abundant inspiration for nature walks and art projects.
by David Goodner, illustrated by Louis Thomas (HMH $17.99 each) Age 3-7
As October 31 approaches, children’s imaginations turn to spooks and ghouls and haunted houses—so why not treat them to this duo of picture books featuring a cute monster-heroine with green skin, sharp pointy teeth, and an exuberant personality just like any other youngster?!
In Ginny’s first adventure, she is forbidden to open a tantalizing circular box, despite strict instructions to leave it for dinnertime. But she really, really wants to know what’s inside, (sound familiar?!). The box is protected by increasing means (up on a high shelf; tucked behind a locked door) and Ginny’s antics escalate, involving a ninja suit, a catapult, a motorcycle, and even a herd of goats!
Both stories are laugh-out loud funny, highlighting the silly realities absurd results that can come from a strong-willed toddler, equally wrapped with the familiar pull between temptation and obedience.
Note: Age recommendations are based upon publisher guidelines and parent feedback. Prices are publisher’s list; discounts are usually available.