31 Days: Non-fiction for Fall

For me, there’s nothing like a cozy fall story. The season begs for snuggles on the couch under a comfy blanket, ideally with a sweet snack to munch while you read. Most of the time, this means we are reading fiction. But, wait! There’s a great deal of non-fiction out there that makes for splendid fall reading. Teachers – listen up! Those antsy boys that don’t want to read your sweet stories of leaf raking and pumpkin carving? They might just dig in to stories about spiders and science, instead. Here are a few favorites to get you started.

Spiders

Gail Gibbons was writing and illustrating non-fiction before non-fiction was cool. Before state legislators ever started worrying about how much ‘expository text’ students were consuming, Gail Gibbons was digging deep to make the stories behind holidays, seasons, animals, and the environment come alive. Spiders is a personal favorite, because I am a one-woman crusade when it comes to keeping spiders around. Why would I kill a friendly arachnid that will EAT the insects I despise? This was always a very early science lesson in my classroom.

Gibbons’ books use realistic drawings to break down complex scientific concepts. Her language is technically accurate, while remaining accessible to early-elementary students. I have read these books to my girls, occasionally modifying things to fit their needs, or skipping portions that threatened to fly over their heads. Other great Gail Gibbons choices for fall include BatsOwls, and The Pumpkin Book.

Why Do Leaves Change ColorFor first grade-ish and up, I always enjoy reading Why Do Leaves Change Color?, by Betsy Maestro. Again, this is the sort of book that can be used with younger students if you’re willing to modify some text while you read. The style is narrative enough for students to follow, but it uses accurate vocabulary and process description. Loretta Krupinski’s illustrations are engaging without being distracting. For students with any schema at all for leaves changing color (sorry to the Floridians), this book will explain why that happens, and the benefits that fallen leaves give to their ecosystem.

From Seed to PumpkinIf you’re not tired of pumpkins yet, younger children might prefer the simple text and pictures found in Wendy Pfeffer and James Graham Hale’s From Seed to Pumpkin. This book explains the life cycle of a pumpkin, with detail appropriate to its preschool-Kindergarten audience. This is a great book for building schema about plants and life cycles, and it also provides many opportunities for making connections. Little ones can share similarities to plants they’ve observed on nature walks, grown in their gardens (or in baggies on the classroom window), or life cycle stories they have read elsewhere.

Earlier this month, I also reviewed Pumpkin Circle, an excellent choice for an introduction to non-fiction text.

{Read It, Make It! receives a small commission for purchases made through the books linked above through an affiliate program. Thanks for keeping us reading!}

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