Apples, Pumpkins & Read Alouds

When I first began teaching, October was the month where I focused on apples, pumpkins and leaves. Despite being in Southern California and the temperatures sometimes being in the 80's in October, I was still a New Englander at heart. I wanted students to experience some of the things that made me think of fall. 

Several weeks ago, one of the teachers I work with and I spoke about working together on a special lesson. Her students were studying apples. Here was an opportunity for me to look for some new and revisit some old books about apples to find the perfect one to read aloud for her class. My twitter friends (Carrie Gelson, Paul Hankins, Mary Ann Scheuer, Cathy Potter, and a few others) were great at recommending a number of titles. After looking at so many books, I fell in love with Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray (Disney-Hyperion, 2011).


I loved the phrases and vocabulary in this book.  It would be perfect for what I wanted to do. Of course, it was no surprise that students loved the book.  With a little effort on my part, I found a book that worked perfectly as a read aloud and could be an instructional opportunity. However, students thought of it just as a book that we were having fun reading. 

After reading the book, we had fun making a special snack. Since apple pie can be a bit time consuming to make and requires a lot of equipment (like an oven) that we don't have at school, I thought about another option - Apple Nachos. Yum! Thank you Alethea for introducing me to Apple Nachos. Here is the original recipe from Allyson Kramer, and check out this great post where Alethea created more variations.

I love that the recipe is really simple and we could talk about some great action words like slice, arrange, drizzle, and sprinkle. 

It appears that Apple Nachos are so good that students couldn't help licking their plates. 

After enjoying our apple snack, we gathered around to generate some words and phrases to describe how they tasted. Students would be able to use these words and phrases later for journaling.

At the end of the day, I received a special text message from the teacher. Students had told her "we don't want to go home, school is fun, and I don't get to do things like this at home". Now, that is what I want to hear after a lesson. 

As I searched for books to read with students, friends on twitter recommended books. And I was also reminded of old favorites. Here are some newer and older apple, pumpkin, and leaf books that jumped out at me from the pile....

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell (Aladdin, 1998)

Apple by Nikki McClure (Abrams, 2012)

Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love by Julie Paschkis (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall; Illustrated by Shari Halpern (Blue Sky Press, 1996)

The Apple Orchard Riddle by Margaret McNamara; Illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Schwartz & Wade, 2013)

How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman (Dragonfly Books, 1994)

The Apple Doll by Elise Kleven (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)

How Do Apples Grow? by Barbara Maestro; Illustrated by Giulio Maestro (HarperCollins, 1992)

Apples for Everyone by Jill Esbaum (National Geographic Kids, 2009)

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2005)

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1991)

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson (Tricycle Press, 1999)

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara; Illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Schwartz & Wade, 2007)

Why Do Leaves Change Colors? by Barbara Maestro; Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski (HarperCollins, 1994)

Leaves by David Ezra Stein (Putnam Juvenile, 2007)

Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum (National Geographic Kids Books, 2009)

From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer; Illustrated by James Graham Hale (HarperCollins, 2004)

What are some of your favorite fall books?