Well, we finally did it. We outgrew the shelf space we’d allotted in our tiny apartment for picture books. Too many good books, I guess. (Too many people who love us and know that I’d prefer a new book on the shelf to just about anything else.)
But instead of tossing books to the curb willy nilly, I’ve been eking a little bit of extra staying power out of the shelf by making seasonally themed shelf edits. Playing librarian, in other words. Over the summer, I went through the bookshelf in Faye and Silas’s room and removed anything with an overtly cold-weather theme. This had the dual benefit of freeing up room on the shelf and ensuring that I could have a blessed respite from nightly readings of The Night Before Christmas in the middle of July. Brave Irene and The Tomten and all of their blizzardly or autumnal friends were tucked into a tote bag and secreted off to a hardish-to-reach spot in the closet. We left everything summery or otherwise neutral on the shelf—Jabari Jumps and The Relatives Came, and Blueberries for Sal, for instance.
For fall, I’ve continued the shuffle and I’ve been leaning heavily on the public library for rounding out our autumnal book selection. I’ve relegated an old market basket for keeping track of borrowed titles and I’ve tried to keep the shelf in the kids’ room lean enough that everything’s easy enough to put back and easy enough to find.
In case you need some autumnal inspiration of your own, here are few beloved picture books for snuggly fall afternoons. If you have others to share, please do!
(When we do buy books, we love to support our local bookstores—Stories Bookshop, Books Are Magic, Greenlight Bookstore, and Community Bookstore, to name a few. I’ve provided a few links below to where you can find these titles online or in your own neighborhood bookstores.)
Du Iz Tak (Amazon/IndieBound): This favorite book of ours came out last fall and we read it so much last year at this time that it will forever be a fall book in my mind, even though it tracks all the seasons of the year. Faye dressed up as the ladybug in it for Halloween last year and she’s asking for a do-over this year. (BRB, just have to resurrect a cardboard costume…)
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves (IndieBound): There’s a sparkly tree at the end of this book, which is about all you need to know aside from the fact that this book is a sweet tribute to fall and it features a little fox learning to understand what falling leaves are all about.
Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn (IndieBound): I mentioned this book last year and it’s still a favorite. I love the bright illustrations, the lyrical prose, and the diversity of characters.
Leaf Man (IndieBound): Photographic collages of fall colored leaves make up the illustrations in this book. The story is sweet, but I’m mostly in it for the leaf identification lessons.
Little Tree (IndieBound): Fall time metaphors about letting go abound in this story.
Ox-Cart Man (IndieBound): A very favorite story of mine that follows a 19th century New England family and the work the family does together at harvest and throughout the year. (A thoughtful modern-day reading would include a bit of acknowledgement about gender roles and representation, but it’s still worth a read.)
Possum’s Harvest Moon (IndieBound): Who doesn’t want to attend a harvest soirée? Possum festoons the grasses around his house with lanterns and berries and works to get his hardworking friends to live a little and party. I love the ornery animal friends and the persistent possum in this story.
Pumpkin Moonshine (IndieBound): As someone with a “grandmummy in Connecticut,” this picture book is a fall favorite for Faye. I credit this book entirely for Faye’s enthusiasm about pumpkin carving last year.
The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything (IndieBound): Never too many brave old women role models to be had, if you ask me. This’ll get little guys in the Halloween spirit without being too scary.
More bedtime story inspiration RIGHT THIS WAY.