Our top picks of girl-empowering books about the wonders and changes of fall.
Autumn is here! The leaves are changing, the weather is getting cooler, and summer is becoming a memory. Every season brings with it the opportunity to share seasonal books with the Mighty Girl in your life, and this fall is no exception. So with that in mind, we've put together a selection of our favorite Mighty Girl books about fall. From celebrations of the changing weather to tales about growing pumpkins to autumn's metaphorical significance as a season of change, these books capture the many beauties of this contemplative season.
And if your Mighty Girl loves fall because of Halloween, check out our special feature on the Top Halloween Mighty Girl Books & Films for some seasonal spooky favorites.
Celebrating the Season
Explore the textures and colors of fall — woolly scarves, crunchy leaves, orange pumpkins, and more — in this charming board book! The little girl in this book loves them all, and your Mighty Girl can too as you read this story in verse and check out all the touch-and-feel elements. With lyrical writing and vibrant illustrations, this will quickly become a fall favorites.
Sometimes the spirit of the season can be captured without even using words! This wordless board book, part of a series of four wordless books about the seasons, celebrates playing in piles of leaves, collecting nuts for conkers, and making jam to enjoy through the cold months of the year. Young children will love exploring all the detail in these lively illustrations, and getting to tell their own story about fall.
When the vibrant autumn leaves start to fall, they come in so many beautiful shapes and colors that this little girl wants to find ways to keep them! Each leaf gives her a new idea, from a Japanese Zelkova leaf boat to an American Basswood leaf hot air balloon. And to keep her original inspiration close, the can use the actual leaves in her art! This exquisite picture book, with its gentle rhyme, uses real leaves in collage artwork to create stunning flights of fancy — and even includes tips for incorporating fall leaves into your own artwork and other crafts.
As a young girl takes a walk through her community — both the town and the nearby forest — she greets all the signs of the end of summer and the beginning of fall. From the cool breeze to blue jays preparing to fly south to butterflies and walking sticks, she says hello to them all, and each of them responds to tell her about their preparations for colder weather. With charming illustrations and simple text from Kenard Pak, this book will leave kids asking themselves how they know fall is coming in their community.
Of course, seasons don't have clear start and end points, and just as summer slowly turns to autumn, autumn slowly turns to winter! Kenard Pak continues his exploration of the change of seasons as the girl from Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn goes for a walk with her brother. Each of the things they see shows subtle signs of the passing of time, until finally there is a moment that clearly signals the arrival of winter: the first falling snowflakes. This calm, meditative story celebrates the joys of the end of autumn.
As summer turns to fall, many cultures have special celebrations to mark the turning of the season. The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is celebrated by many people of Chinese heritage around the world — including the Chinese-American family in this story. Together, they have a special moonlit picnic with mooncakes, pomelos, tea, and colorful lanterns, before each person says a personal thanks — and a wish for the upcoming year — to the moon. An author's note at the end provides more information about the Moon Festival for curious kids, parents, and teachers.
Mother Earth tries to get her energetic daughter to bed, but her wild child comes up with a variety of stalling tactics that will seem very familiar to any parent! Hints about the wild child’s identity come in the red and orange leaves in her hair and the snack of chestnuts and pumpkins she eats, and the story ends with a wintery kiss goodnight as Autumn finally goes to sleep. This beautiful, poetic book makes a lovely story to read for the changing of the seasons.
Fall can be a little alarming if kids feel like the whole world is changing unexpectedly! Little Frog is dismayed when her familiar green leaves turn colors, but with a little assurance from Mama Frog that "Most things that are scary are only just new," she dares a journey away from her pond. When she gets startled by falling leaves, she becomes fearful all over again! Fortunately, Papa Frog is able to help her find the joy in fall, allowing her to enjoy the oranges, reds, and golds around her. This charming story celebrates the beauty of autumn, as well as providing kids with the confidence that they can handle new things.
Fall can also be a more gentle, meditative time. Every day a little girl goes to her tree house in the woods and watches as the animals prepare for winter. The girl has to be still for a long time before the animals are comfortable around her, but her patience is rewarded with sightings of chipmunks, rabbits, and even a doe. The changes are slow and subtle, but as she sketches what she sees, a new season slowly unfolds. This captivating story celebrates nature, solitude, and the secret moments of autumn.
Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins!
Many foods are ready to harvest in the fall, but few are more closely connected with the season than pumpkins. From delicious pies to Halloween jack-o-lanterns, these books celebrate the fun of growing and harvesting pumpkins.
Pumpkin picking is often a favorite family activity! "When red and yellow leaves are on the trees," this little girl and her parents go on a highly-anticipated trip to a farm to pick apples and find the perfect pumpkin. Then the family heads home to create a grinning jack-o-lantern before Mom hands out apples at the door, while Dad takes his Mighty Girl trick-or-treating. With bold illustrations featuring a happy, loving family, this is a sweet celebration of the special rituals of fall.
Lucy and Sparkle the Unicorn are back — but the friends are having a disagreement about their Halloween fun. They both enjoy corn mazes and games and donuts, but Sparkle does NOT like to be scared. When Lucy startles his with a super-scary pumpkin she's carved, Sparkle runs off in fright! Now Sparkle is trying to hide from the pumpkin monster, while Lucy desperately wants to find her friend — and make up for her mistake. Fortunately, their friendship is strong enough to overcome Sparkle's fear! Kids will love this silly adventure that celebrates friendship and the joys of fall
Many Mighty Girls will be picking pumpkins for a jack-o-lantern — also known as a pumpkin moonshine. Young Sylvie Ann in this story is determined to find just the right one, and after searching through her grandparents' field, she picks one that's so big that she can't life it! Rolling it "like a snowball in winter" works... until she reaches a hill and the pumpkin runs away from her! Kids will love watching how determine Sylvia Ann finds a way to solve every one of the challenges in front of her to get the perfect pumpkin.
Rebecca Estelle grew up eating nothing but pumpkins, and developed a serious distaste for the big, orange squash — even now that she's an old woman. When a pumpkin rolls of a truck one fall and SPLATS in her yard, she buries the mess under the ground so she doesn't have to think about it — and the result is a bumper crop of pumpkins the following fall! So Rebecca Estelle decides to cook a pumpkin feast, carve a bunch of jack-o-lanterns, and invite her whole community to enjoy. In fact, it's such a success that she even saves a few seeds for next year... This charming, funny story celebrates farming, fall, and the joy of sharing with others (even when what you're sharing isn't your favorite!)
Neighboring cats Mimi and Clara are as different as could be: Mimi spends her days reading indoors, while Clara plays outside and tends her garden. When the Great Pumpkin Contest approaches, and both cats decide to try to win, they each take their own approach: Mimi researches pumpkin growing and grows a single massive pumpkin, while Clara is more casual and grows a bumper crop of little ones. When Mimi's pumpkin grows TOO big, though, and an accident destroys it, she's mortified and sad... until Clara extends an offer to share her pumpkin crop — and work together next year. This charming fall story of farming and friendship will inspire a few young farmers to start their own pumpkin patches!
Mildred dreams of growing a thousand-pound pumpkin to take to the fair. She’s been trying for four years, since her mother died, struggling through bad weather, accidental damage to the seedlings — and the skepticism of her aunt Arlene, who thinks Mildred should be focused on boys and clothes, not pumpkins. But her Daddy believes in her, and with his support, she knows this will be her year. The loving bond between Mildred and her veterinarian father, who understands that this is about much more than a pumpkin, ensures that this will be a favorite book to read together.
A Time Of Change
Fall is a time of change, both for Mighty Girls and for the people around them. These books mark the ways Mighty Girls change — and stay the same — as they celebrate the season.
After a trip to the farmer’s market, Sophie adopts the squash her mother had intended to cook, and it becomes a dear friend named Bernice. Sophie's parents warn her that her friendship isn't going to last, but Sophie refuses to listen. But soon, Bernice is getting soft and rotten, and even Sophie has to admit she can't keep Bernice around forever. Fortunately, this ingenious Mighty Girl finds the perfect solution to make sure that a part of Bernice stays with her! Fans of this book will also love the sequel, Sophie's Squash Go To School.
As they go for a walk through their neighborhood, a patient father encourages his daughter to ask him all of the questions she is brimming with as they explore the world. This wise dad knows that there’s much beauty and love to share in this idle walk and rambling talk. And with each new sight prompting another train of thought comes something else: the confidence and joy that comes from knowing that your father is really listening. This poetic and gentle picture book is sure to prompt your own sessions of “ask me.”
As fall wardrobes come out of storage, Mighty Girls sometimes realize just how much they've grown this year! Bella loves fall — and her fall coat, which Grams made especially for her. Except this year, her fall coat is worn thin and too small, and Bella is heartbroken. Fortunately, crafty Grams knows just what to do: a few snips, a few stitches, and the coat has a new life as something to keep Bella warm this winter — and adorn her first snowman of the year! Fun language and vibrant illustrations make this a satisfying fall story.
One windy fall day, Flora and her pesky brother Crispin are blown away by the wind — and begin a fantastic adventure. Along the way, Flora gets the ultimate temptation: the chance to give away her annoying brother. A dragonfly, the man in the moon, and even the wind itself make her phenomenal offers. But maybe the wind of fall is also making a bit of a change in Flora's heart... and maybe she's not so willing to get rid of Crispin after all. This flight of fancy will speak to any reader who's debated what they'd do if they had the chance to be rid of a troublesome sibling!
Fall rituals can be emotional when families change. Faith is excited for applesauce weather, when Uncle Arthur comes and tells stories with a twinkle in his eye about how he lost his missing finger. But this year is different: Aunt Lucy has died, and when Uncle Arthur arrives, he seems to have lost his sparkle. Faith isn't sure exactly how to help, but she's sure that, with love and patience, she can help make Uncle Arthur smile again and maybe even learn that most mysterious story. This heartfelt story is told in verse in alternating chapters, which speak from Faith, her brother Peter, and her Uncle Arthur's view, each separated by short poems that make up "Lucy's Song." This touching novel is rich fodder for middle grade readers.
Gee is struggling to keep her balance this fall. She has one week to complete a leaf-themed science fair project or she'll lose her beloved spot on the cross-country team. She's also wrestling with a grandmother who seems to be forgetting more and more, the social implications of getting dropped off at school by a dad who drives a hearse, and a determined rival. This autumn won't be easy, but perhaps with a little help, Gee can get everything to fall into place. Alternately funny and touching, this coming-of-age story will speak to any kid who's struggled with family, school, and emotional upheaval.
Deja and Josiah have spent three years as seasonal friends while they worked at the local pumpkin patch. But this is their last year: they're both college-bound next summer. And Deja has a plan: instead of a maudlin night thinking how much they'll miss one another, she and Josie are going on an adventure full of excitement, snacks, and maybe even a chance for him to finally meet the girl at the Fudge Shoppe. Shy Josie isn't sure he's ready for what Deja has planned, but sometimes, a friend knows just what you need — even when it pushes you WAY out of your comfort zone. This delightful graphic novel by bestselling author Rainbow Rowell and Eisner Award-winning artist Faith Erin Hicks celebrates friendship, love, and nights you'll never forget.
Thanksgiving: A Holiday For Gratitude
With the end of the summer and the beginning of the harvest, people's thoughts also turn to a beloved fall holiday: Thanksgiving! Here are some of our favorite books about Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman whose decades-long campaign resulted in the creation of this special time of gratitude.
When "skirts were long and hats were tall," the American people seemed to be forgetting Thanksgiving altogether. But one determined woman, Sarah Hale, refused to let the holiday die. And she was ready to make a nuisance of herself until she was sure Thanksgiving would be remembered forever! Acclaimed author Anderson takes a funny, irreverent tone in this story focusing on Hale's efforts, while Faulkner uses caricature-like illustrations for visual humor — including one image of Sarah and other women storming a state house with a quill for a battering ram! End notes include more details about the history of Thanksgiving, as well as encouragement to the reader: "Pick up your pen. Change the world."
For thousands of years, and all around the world, people have come together to say thanks. But in 1800s America, one woman, Sarah Josepha Hale, thought it needed to be more than just a local gathering: America needed a unifying holiday, one where people across the country would all express their thanks at once. It took decades of writing letters — to multiple presidents — before she finally got President Abraham Lincoln to listen: he thought Thanksgiving was just what the country needed after the pain of the Civil War. This gorgeous picture book, written by New York Times bestselling author Denise Kiernan, explores Hale's story and contemplates the power of gratitude... on Thanksgiving and every other day.
For much of the 19th century, if an American woman (or many American men) wanted to know how to conduct themselves — including what to believe about issues like women's rights — they looked to Godey's Lady's Book and the writing of Sarah Josepha Hale. For decades, Hale was the most influential woman in America; she helped make the careers of American authors like Edgar Allan Poe and Harriet Beecher Stowe; she compiled the first women's history book; she wrote "Mary Had A Little Lamb"; and it was her campaign that finally convinced President Abraham Lincoln to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. This remarkable book explores Hale's life and career, highlighting how her ideals and forward-thinking principles shaped her nation — both while she was alive and long afterward.
As the world prepares to tuck itself in for winter, make sure that you take some time to celebrate the beauty of fall, and all the things that make it special.
Additional Recommended Resources
- For books about that classic fall holiday, Halloween, visit our Top Halloween Mighty Girl Books and Films, our Halloween book section, or our blog Witches, Monsters, and Spooky Tales: Mighty Girl Books for Halloween.
- For more Mighty Girl books that celebrate the natural world, visit our Nature section.
- For more Mighty Girl books about the pleasure of harvesting after a long summer growing season, visit our Gardening / Farming section.
- For books about giving thanks for the bounty of fall, visit our Thanksgiving section.