Falling for Children’s Books

by Eliana H.

I have to admit that fall is my favorite season. Having moved to Maryland from Texas as an adult, I continue to find joy and excitement in the crisp weather and beautiful colors that nature puts on display around these parts. It certainly isn’t the case everywhere! To help you savor the season with young people in your life, or just on your own, here are a few kid-friendly fall reads for you to enjoy.

The book cover depicts a white elephant eating an apple and a white mouse sitting astride another apple next to an overturned bucket of apples. An orange pumpkin is on the ground next to the elephant. The title, "Fall Friends," is on a sign behind them, and the sun is setting behind that with fall leaves on tree branches overhead as well as on the ground surrounding them.

Fall Friends by Mike Curato 

This seasonal installment in the Little Elliot series finds Elliot, an elephant, and his friend Mouse taking a fall vacation away from the city where they live. Escaping the hustle and bustle gives them the chance to slow down, enjoy what nature has to offer in the autumn, and make some new friends. A sweet, simple read that evokes common features that tend to be fall favorites, share this with a little one in your life and have a conversation about your favorite things to do this time of year! 

The cover is a photograph of fall leaves in shades of red, orange, and yellow against the backdrop of a blue sky.

Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre 

Vibrant, detailed photography of fall sights pop in this appealing picture book, accompanied by simple text that immediately brings to mind real-life experiences. The words are poetic and powerful, perfectly pairing with full-page photos. Younger readers will stay engaged with the short text and can point out familiar sights in the pictures, but older readers can enjoy more in-depth discussions about the images and words chosen. Perhaps you will be inspired to take some photographs and make a personal version of this book. 

The cover depicts varying types of leaves, acorns, and a seed pod. The leaves are in fall colors of red, orange, yellow, green, and brown.

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert 

Lois Ehlert is an author/illustrator near and dear to my heart, and Leaf Man is a beautiful example of her work. In the story, the narrator had a man made out of leaves who blew away. The illustrations throughout the book are made from leaves of all shapes, sizes, and colors combined to make everything from chickens to orchards to fish. Although the narrator isn’t quite sure where the leaf man has gone, a repeating phrase reminds readers, “a Leaf Man’s got to go where the wind blows.” After reading this one, you might find yourself joining your little one as you look for a leaf man – or other leaf shapes – while walking outdoors this autumn. 

The cover depicts someone in a yellow raincoat and blue hat and scarf sweeping a clear path through the leaves on the ground with a broom.

Sweep by Louise Greig, illustrated by Júlia Sardà 

Before he knows it, Ed’s bad mood has swept him away. It spirals out to get in the way of everything and everyone around him, and he feels stuck but isn’t sure what to do. Then, something changes, and Ed can see a way out and think about what he might do the next time he finds himself in a bad mood. The autumnal metaphor the illustrations provide make this the perfect time of year to use this title as a starting point to talk about big feelings and what we do with them. 

The title is depicted in leaves, in fall shades of red, orange, green, brown, and yellow, with leaves of similar shades falling and on the ground beneath.

Awesome Autumn by Bruce Goldstone 

In this nonfiction title, Goldstone offers a wealth of information to answer many questions from little ones about the season. Colorful photographs accompany facts about changes in nature and in the human world during fall. For younger readers, you can choose to share only some of the text, but older children may enjoy additional details. Readers of all ages can consider personal connections to what they see in the book. 

The cover depicts two children and a cat tumbling against the backdrop of a fall leaf.

Autumnblings by Douglas Florian 

Word play is another favorite of mine, and this slender volume of poems and paintings offers plenty. In simple, relatable poetry, Florian offers examples of some favorite forms. They may even inspire a budding poet. Even if no one in your house composes verses, point out some of the unique words used and talk about why they are special and why Florian may have chosen them. 

Eliana is a Children’s Research Specialist and Instructor at HCLS Elkridge Branch. She loves reading, even if she’s slow at it, and especially enjoys helping people find books that make them light up. She also loves being outside and spending time with friends and family (when it’s safe).

Eating in Season

The picture depicts four recipes: bread, a dish with green vegetables and red cabbage. another dish with sliced beef, carrots, and potatoes, and a fourth dish with red grapes and sprigs of herbs on a white pie with a slice cut out of it.

by Cherise T.

End of summer blues? Turn to the colorful fruits and vegetables of autumn for a mood lift. Filled with nutrients, seasonal produce offers a culinary treat.

The Complete Autumn and Winter Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen includes side dishes, main courses, and desserts filled with the flavors of fall. An entire chapter is devoted to pumpkin, a low-calorie, vitamin-dense treat. The antioxidant beta-carotene in pumpkin lends it that beautiful orange color and blocks the free radicals that cause cells to age. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A which is essential for healthy eyes, skin, and bones. Try the slow-cooker creamy pumpkin-chai soup for a treat on a chilly day.

The picture shows a woman in a blue denim shirt holding a cleaver with her arms crossed, as she looks down at a wooden kitchen counter full of vegetables, including radishes, carrots, leeks, greens, potatoes, and onions.

Winter squash, another rich source of beta-carotene, can be fun to prepare with the guidance of Cara Mangini’s The Vegetable Butcher. Squash is low in carbohydrates, for those monitoring sugar intake, and high in potassium, for those following a heart-healthy diet. Recipes include kale and spelt berry salad. Lutein gives kale its dark green color and helps protect the eye from developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Cranberries are high in vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and helps shorten the duration of cold symptoms.

The cover shows a man with a walking stick, dressed in a gray cap and black cape, roasting vegetables over an outdoor fire while others hang on a circular wire frame behind him.

As temperatures drop, the grill is a wonderful way to prepare vegetables. In Green Fire: Extraordinary Ways to Grill Fruits and Vegetables from the Master of Live-Fire Cooking, Francis Mallman shares his unique Patagonian recipes. Prepare his salt-baked beets for a dish rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Diets high in fiber have been associated with fewer digestive issues and lower colon cancer risk. Betalains, responsible for the purple-red color of beets, reduce inflammation and cell damage. Beets are also high in folate (vitamin B9), which has been linked to lowered risk of heart disease and stroke.

The cover depicts a cake or tart of two layers, on a white cake stand and covered with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. A pie server sits next to it on a wooden table, and in the background are a pint container of additional berries and a blue glazed ceramic picture filled with greens and pink rose blossoms.

In Naturally Sweet Baking: Healthier Recipes for a Guilt-Free Treat, recipes include fall fruits such as pears as alternative sweeteners. High in fiber, pears have some sugar but do not have the high glycemic index that contributes to diabetes risk. The vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants in pears add to their health benefits. Authors Carolin Strothe and Sebastian Keitel include a seasonal calendar as part of their guidance in baking without artificial coloring or processed sugar. Explore the baking collection at Elkridge’s DIY Education Center to find specialty cake pans available for checkout.

The Howard County Farmers Market continues on Wednesdays from 2 – 6 pm in the Miller Branch parking area.

Cherise Tasker is an Adult Instructor and Research Specialist at the Central Branch. When not immersed in literary fiction, Cherise can be found singing along to musical theater soundtracks.

Stress-Free Steam for Adults

The picture of the craft is of a turkey made from beads, multicolored feathers in fall shades of brown, orange, and red, strips of brown leather for the legs and feet, with a walnut shell for the body.

By Holly L.

Does the prospect of a second pandemic holiday season already have you on edge? Did you feel a pang of sadness when your kids aged out of the family craft classes? Would you like to unwind in a relaxed setting with some calming hands-on fun? Are these questions getting tedious?

If you answered yes to any of the above, please join us on at the Miller Branch on Thursday, November 4 at 7 pm for Stress-Free S.T.E.A.M. for adults. We will provide materials for three fun fall-themed crafts, including a terrific turkey pin, an awesome autumn leaf placemat, and a brilliant beaded harvest corncob.

The fall placemat depicted is of various geometric shapes and fall leaves in different colors, cut and pasted onto a blue background and then laminated.

Focus on one project or make a few, it’s up to you! No prior craft experience needed and all abilities welcome.

Registration required. Please register by clicking here or call 410.313.1950.

The picture shows a craft of an ear of corn, made from beads in fall shades of red, orange, yellow, and white for the kernels, and brown pipe cleaners for the cob.

Holly L. is an Instructor and Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She enjoys knitting and appreciates an audiobook with a good narrator.