14 Autumn Picture Books with STEM and Diversity

14 Autumn Picture Books with STEM and Diversity

I have a book list for spring, winter, summer but not fall, I discovered upon organizing my lists into one gigantic List of Lists. So this here is my fall book list of children’s books. It was inspired by gigantic pumpkins. My kids’ second grade teacher’s husband grows these kinds of large pumpkins. They are like a pet, given the care that they need!

Do you ever wonder what it takes to grow a prize winning gigantic pumpkin? Is it mother nature or nurture? This video shows what it takes to win with a behind-the-scenes look at competitive pumpkin grower Don Young of Des Moines, Iowa. His pumpkin weighed in at 1,662 pounds (754 kg) in 2007!

I’ve also included diversity and STEM books that celebrate fall. What books are you enjoying this glorious autumn? Please share! Thank you!

14 Autumn Picture Books with STEM and Diversity

In the Leaves by Huy Voun Lee

Pair this book with Linda Glaser’s It’s Fall. Both have beautiful cut paper illustrations with suggestions for activities to celebrate fall. In this picture book, Xiao Ming is visiting a farm and can’t wait to show his friends new Chinese characters that he’s learned relating to their field trip. The author makes interesting connections between the six Chinese characters (pig, family, mouth, haromony, fire). [picture book, ages 4 and up]

It’s Fall by Linda Glaser

Written in lyrical prose, Linda Glaser celebrates fall with a myriad of nature activities from birdwatching, to seed seeking, to acorn collecting, to bulb planting. Why not try some of these with your kids? She has 16 ideas on the end notes too! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

Duck, squirrel, and cat seem like they have the perfect distribution of jobs in their cozy house, including their responsibilities for making pumpkin soup. But duck isn’t happy because he thinks he doesn’t get to help enough. When duck wants to stir the soup instead of adding the salt, trouble arises and duck ends up leaving in a huff. His departure sends the other two into different stages of grief as they process the loss. In the end, duck returns and cat and squirrel are more open to a new way of doing things. Or are they? A youngest child would especially love this story! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Pumpkin and Penguin by Salina Yoon

For the younger sibling who hates being left behind, and the kind older sibling that works hard to make it up, this picture book celebrates fall through the lens of penguin sibling relationships. Penguin goes off with friends on an adventure to see a farm in autumn but his little brother, Pumpkin, has to stay behind. He had his own adventure using his imagination, but Penguin has a surprise for him so that he can experience the wonder of fall too.  [picture book, ages 2 and up]

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Use this lovely picture book to inspire leaf art. The Leaf Man’s gotta go where the wind blows and his journey is one of imagination and creativity with leaves as art. Pair with book with Autumn Leaves to identify the leaves in Lois Ehlert’s illustrations. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

For art project ideas, I have an Autumn Leaf Art Project, and animal leaf art.

autumn leaf art projectanimal leaf art

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

Young children will appreciate Fletcher’s efforts to keep his favorite tree’s leaves from falling off. This plot sets up a discussion for what happens as the seasons change. Fletcher’s actions can also migrate the discussion to one of kindness and helping others. Perhaps Fletcher’s concern for the tree was misplaced in this instance, but taking care of nature, even as a young person, is an idea worth planting in a young child’s mind. This is a book for tree huggers of all ages! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Leaves by David Ezra Stein

Bear’s first year is going well, until the leaves start falling which really concerns him. Explore the seasons with bear as he goes from fall to winter to spring. Pair this book with Fletcher and the Falling Leaves and compare how each animal reacts to the change of the seasons. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Let It Fall by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Maryann Cocca-Leffler’s charming illustrations include children of color as they experience all the different activities that happen in autumn. This is the only rhyming picture book on my list, and I think rhyming helps children learn to read so this is my pick for a preschool or kindergarten read aloud. [rhyming picture book, ages 2 and up]

STEM Picture Books About Fall

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak

I categorize this lovely picture book about the changing seasons from summer to autumn as a STEM picture book because it shows the power of careful observation. As a little girl set forth from her house on a walk outside, she greets the animals and plants. Each replies back with what they are doing to prepare for autumn. Some are even surprised that she noticed them. Her walk completed, the little girl returns to her house. When she comes out the next day, summer is gone and autumn is here! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer and Adam Schaefer, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

The layers of an eco system are explored and the connections discovered in this enchanting picture book. From acorn to forest and to all the animals that it affects, the briefest of prose connects these elements like an arpeggio which will delight readers and invite them to figure out the whys and the hows. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland, illustrated by Elly MacKay

This picture book explores how the seasons are caused by the rotation of the planets as they move around the sun and how the plants and creatures respond to the changing of the season as fall begins. This is a fiction picture book for a child who likes nonfiction. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Do the biggest pumpkins have the most seeds? How may seeds are in a pumpkin? No doubt these kinds of question will arise with your kids or in a classroom as the pumpkin is opened up and carved! Use this picture book to show different math strategies to figure it out! The kids in the classroom come up with ideas. There’s a counting by Twos Club. And a counting by Fives Club. The smallest pumpkin seeds are counted by Charlie who decides to count by Tens. From observing the small differences in pumpkins to hypothesizing why a pumpkin would produce more seeds, this is a great picture book to also demonstrate the scientific method. The nice thing with this book is that no one will notice how much they are learning about STEM; they will be enthralled in a very good story! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

From Seed to Pumpkin (Let’s Read and Find Out Science) by Wendy Pfeffer, illustrated by James Graham Hale

Now that it’s time to choose a pumpkin for a jack-o’-lantern, did you ever wonder how that pumpkin came to be or why it’s orange? Did you know it was green first and then yellow? Follow the life cycle of yourjack-o’-lantern from seed to pumpkin and use this book for a Halloween teachable moment! [nonfiction picture book, ages 4 and up]

Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins

For kids who see falling leaves and wonder what trees they are from, use this picture book to learn more. The photograph illustrations show leaves of all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and there are also interesting trees to learn about like the Gingko that grew in pre-historic times or the different shaped leaves on a single kind of tree like the Sassafras. Budding biologist will enjoy this pleasant examination of autumn leaves. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

14 Autumn Picture Books with STEM and Diversity

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Great list, Mia!! Both Because of an Acorn & Goodbye Summer Hello Autumn are on my library request list. So looking forward to reading them. I’m a big fan of Kenard Pak’s art.

  2. And autumn is my favorite season! I so miss New England this time of year!!

  3. I love your animal leaf art! And wow, that pumpkin is HUGE. How do you even move it??
    maryanne recently posted…The Ways Great Teachers Transform Lives Every DayMy Profile

  4. So many great fall books this year!
    Patricia Tilton recently posted…Deep Roots: How Trees Sustain Our PlanetMy Profile

  5. Love the autumn leaf art project! Because of an Acorn really caught my eye. I am going to have to find that one!
    Erik-TKRB recently posted…Review! Bioengineering by Christine Burillo-KirchMy Profile

  6. I’ve used “Penguin and Pumpkin” and “Leaf Man” before, too. I love Leaf Man, even though I think the text could be improved with better rhythm and cadence, but the pictures are wonderful. Great to pair with a nature walk to collect fall leaves, then do collage art with them. “Fall Leaves Fall” by Zoe Hall is a good complement to that, as well.

  7. Great list! Particularly love your multicultural picks. #diversekidlit
    Svenja recently posted…Top 10 Diwali Children’s BooksMy Profile

  8. Fletcher and Penguin are both such sweet characters – so many books here that are perfect for a fall-themed story time!

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