10 Books to Read in the Fall with Upper Elementary Students


Want new fall books to read with students during morning meeting? Looking for fresh fall books to fill your classroom library? Either way, I got you covered! I think it’s a great idea to switch the books you read in the fall because it can ignite students’ interest in reading. You can also directly apply the themes and topics of the stories to the world (because we know connections are so important for comprehension). 

Here are ten fall books that match themes of gratitude, seasonal changes, and even a few Holiday themed stories. You can use these fall books during morning meeting, centers, or independent reading time. Plus, I’ll give you some teaching points you can apply to each story!

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak

A new season brings changing leaves and new creatures. As a young girl walks through the park, she greets the new season and takes note of its changes. This book is perfect for talking about figurative language and imagery. Have students take note of how the girl describes the new season, and the type of imagery she uses.

Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin

Old Man Fookwire loves nothing more than watching and painting the birds in his yard. But every year the birds leave. This year, a new creature invades: squirrels. Old Man Fookwire hates them! This book comes with lots of humor and a surprise ending. Have students make predictions about what they think will happen.

Little Tree by Loren Long

Little Tree loves his leaves. Through many seasons and many years, he hangs tight to his leaves, even as all the other trees change. But one day, Little Tree realizes he has to make a choice: to remain unchanged or to grow. This book is excellent for talking about theme. Challenge students to think deeply about the book’s message and create a lesson learned!

Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli

One pumpkin seed can’t wait to grow up. He wants to be a scary, big pumpkin. But right now, he can’t seem to scare anyone – not even a snowflake. Everyone tells him to be patient. One day he will be big and scary, but waiting is hard! Use this book to talk about the sequence of events and retelling with students.

Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

This is an excellent nonfiction book to read in November. Learn about the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, specifically Tony Sarg, the man behind those famous balloons on a string! With this story, have students create their own parade balloon. Give a group of students a balloon, some paper, tape and any other craft supplies you have on hand. This is a great exercise for creativity, teamwork, and incorporating elements of STEM.

Giving Thanks by Denise Kiernan

In this fall book, students will learn about the traditions of Thanksgiving and how the first Thanksgiving began. They will specifically learn about Sarah Josepha Hale who got the president’s approval to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. After reading, have students write a summary about the story and Sara’s impact that we still see today.

Mi Familia: Celebrating the Day of the Dead by Camila Hernandez

Valentina is celebrating Dia De Los Muertos with her family. They are decorating their home, making pan de muerto, and going to a festival. Students will get a glimpse of the colorful, meaningful holiday of Dia De Los Muertos. After reading, have students read a nonfiction text about the holiday and make comparisons between the two texts.

In a Jar by Deborah Marcero

This may not seem like a typical book to read in the fall, but it’s good for tying into ideas of thankfulness and gratitude. Two rabbits meet and begin collecting items in the forest. Their friendship grows, and their jars become a way to remember their adventures. But when one rabbit has to move, will they be able to stay connected? You can use this book to talk about symbolism. Discuss how the jars are a symbol of something larger in the story.

The Star in the Forest by Helen Kellock

It’s fall, and Pop and Maisie are at their grandparents cottage. They are craving adventure, when one night, they see a shiny object fall from the sky! They hunt through the forest at night on the lookout for the shiny item. What will they discover along the way? This fall book is great for talking about mood. Ask students what words they would use to describe the mood of different pages of the text.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rowlinson

The tree outside of Fletcher’s den seems sick. Its leaves are falling and turning brown. He is really concerned and tries to help the tree. But then winter comes, and something amazing happens to the tree. Will Fletcher discover what’s really going on? This is a really heartwarming story that you can pair with a conversation about irony, specifically dramatic irony! As upper elementary students, they know what is really happening while the fox doesn’t.

Fall Reading Activities

As you read these fall books with students, you can also add in some fall themed reading activities. These activities are great because they can be paired with any story. Plus, they can be used over and over again throughout the season. It’s not a one and done type of resource!

Fall Reading Skills Banner

This Fall Themed Reading Skill Banner is not only a cute and meaningful classroom decoration, but is a simple activity to complete after reading one of the fall books we talked about. The banner comes in fall shapes, like leaves and acorns, each with different prompts.

There are prompts for fiction and nonfiction reading skills, such as story elements, summarizing, informational skills, and more. Use these in centers, as an exit ticket, or an independent activity after reading. This display on your bulletin board or wall!

Fall Themed Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers would pair perfectly with the fall books I mentioned in this blog. In a center or as an independent activity, expand on students’ reading skills and dive deeper into comprehension with these templates.

The Fall Themed Graphic Organizers cover all your typical graphic organizer topics, such as compare and contrast, character traits, main ideas and details, and more. But, I put a fun spin on things with fall illustrations of turkey legs, leaves, and pie. It keeps your graphic organizers feeling fresh and fun!

Want more fall activity ideas? Check out my blog post with 13 no-prep fall activities for elementary students for more ideas!

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