Children's Book Recommendations

"These are a Few of My Favorite…" Books, October Edition

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                There are a plethora of pumpkin-themed books out there today – enough to fill a patch – but I’m going to help you narrow it down and tell you the ones that are just ripe for picking for your little ones this season. But October is not just reserved for pumpkins in our house… we also like talking about the Statue of Liberty, because her birthday is on the 28th, and we also spend a day talking about Christopher Columbus; so I’ll recommend a few books on those two subjects too. 

Too Many Pumpkins – If you buy one book from this list, please let this be it! I adore this book. The big vivid illustrations alone are enough to fall in love with it, but the darling story of a little old lady who hates pumpkins but somehow finds herself surrounded by them in her yard, will have you grabbing for every tasty pumpkin treat within your reach. 

The Pumpkin Patch Parable – This is a sweet picture book about harvest time with a specifically Christian message (no ghosts, witches, or goblins here!). Every page of this story has a different Bible verse reminding us how God’s love transforms us (like a gardener with a field). Little ones can follow along with the pumpkin’s life cycle as they watch it grow and change thanks to the farmer’s care and patience. 


The Biggest Pumpkin Ever! – This simple story set to rhyme tells how a boy wants to grow the biggest pumpkin for the fair but his seeds keep getting carried/blown/taken away. Will he ever grow one big enough? The beautiful watercolor images take up the entire page.


The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat – You can always count on Stan & Jan to bring your kiddos some good lessons, right? I remember reading this classic growing up (it came out in 1989) and I still like reading it to my children – and the lesson is applicable for any season, actually. Mama Bear teaches her cubs that “appearances can be deceiving” and that old Miz McGrizz probably isn’t as scary as the cubs think she is. Are they too spooked to visit her house on Halloween? 


Pumpkin Jack – Here is another great book that illustrates the life cycle of a pumpkin, or more specifically, a jack-o’-lantern. We watch, with Tim (Jack’s creator), as his pumpkin takes on new shapes and consistencies, and over the course of a year…. becomes a whole new Jack! 


Aaaarrgghh! Spider! – Now this book isn’t Halloween specific, but I like bringing it out this month because I think it still fits the spirit. THIS BOOK IS SO CUTE!!! All this poor spider wants in life is to be some family’s pet. While I still do not particularly appreciate the 8-legged creatures when they cross the threshold into my abode, I will admit, my Grinch-heart softened a bit after reading this very creative appeal. 


Skeleton Hiccups – Our copy of this book is literally falling apart. I have taped it and stapled it back together so many times because we’ve read it over and over and over. There’s something about Mom imitating a skeleton’s hiccups that has my kids in stitches. Poor Skeleton can’t seem to get rid of them and he’s tried all of the usual tricks. What finally works?

The Statue of Liberty will celebrate her birthday on the 28th of this month, so I like to read a few books that talk about her history, the history of Ellis and Liberty Islands, and immigration during this month too. Here are a few of our faves:

A Picnic in October – This picture book tells about a family that takes the ferry to Liberty Island for a picnic on October 28th, like they do every year. Grandma and Grandpa are immigrants. They sing “Happy Birthday” and toast to America. It’s a great first book to read to set the stage for what we read next…

Coming to America: The Story of Immigration – This is a great children’s book to introduce the US’s history of immigration (good for 1st – 4th graders). The author helps explain the different reasons people have come to America – European settlers, African slaves, refugees, etc. – and how we have come to have such a richly diverse population of people in our country. 

The Story of the Statue of Liberty – And then this book is necessary to tell you about Lady Liberty herself. French sculptor Frederic Bartholdi started constructing her in 1871 and she was presented as a gift from the people of France to the US in 1886, settled in New York Harbor where she is still seen as a symbol of hope and freedom for all who visit. This story gives the details about her construction, transport, and celebration. 

Columbus Day is observed on the second Monday in October. There are a lot of mixed feelings as to whether we should continue “celebrating” this day/him or not, and I don’t intend to get into that. I do introduce my children to this man as a historical figure who traveled to a “new world”, who was not the first, but was an important figure who did so. We also discuss how the term “Indians” came about. That said… here are a few books that I think simply state who he was and what he did regarding those infamous voyages. 

In 1492 – Bright watercolor illustrations and simple rhymes tell this familiar tale to little ones well.

A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus – This popular picture book biography series does a good job of giving the young reader a lot of facts without boring him/her.

Christopher Columbus (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3) – This would be a great choice for a 2nd or 3rd grader who wants to read independently.

So, cozy up and enjoy some fun fall reading this month!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galations 6:9

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