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Our Upper Elementary Nonfiction Book List about Fall are sure to hook your students into your next lesson plan. Autumn Themed Activities included for some books.

When I create upper elementary book lists, they tend to be fictional vs. non-fiction. I think we can all agree that fiction draws us in more, helps us to better connect to the topic, and overall is more enjoyable. Today, we are going to look at some non-fiction books for fall.
Before we dive into today’s book list, I want to share with you a personal story. A story about me as a little girl and why I choose the books I did. It is a story I don’t often tell but I thought it was needed here. If you prefer, skip to the list below.
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My Story

Since I never share this story, I don’t really know where to begin. This is going to seem scattered and I apologize. Stick with me. I promise I have a point. I was a foster child for 7 years. I bounced from place to place, school to school. I never learned much as I wasn’t ever in any one place long enough to remember a teacher’s name or make a friend.

Fast Forward to 8th Grade, I was sent to live with my father (longer story… we are skipping that part). I went to school an hour before everyone else for remedial services before I went to class with everyone else. I had all of the same assignments. I was very good at pretending and not telling people things I didn’t want them to know. Things like I can’t really read or add or write more than a few words. It was tough. I struggled. I copied others work to get by.

Fast Forward to college, I was struggling with some science class. I just wasn’t getting it and my tutor was certain I was hopeless. I was at the table in his home crying when his baby brother asked me what was wrong. I told him I didn’t understand whatever it was and then he ran off. I started crying again.

He came back and sat down and began reading me a story.  It was a picture book on the very thing I didn’t get. He showed me the pictures and explained all the things in the book. Then he ran off again leaving the book on the floor. I picked it up and read it again.

I looked at my textbook and said oh! I see! I began comparing the two and a light bulb went on. I got it. My tutor came in and laughed when he saw me and the picture book. He shook his head and said he wasn’t going to tutor me any more. I headed straight to the kids section at the library and started pulling books.

I found all of the answers I needed inside of those books. All the words that I though were too tough to understand. All the “simple things” that went over my head; All of this and so much more were right there  and so easy to understand. I studied those books beside my college textbook.

You know what happened? I aced that test! The first one time I had ever received an A on anything without any help. I feel in love with books that day especially children’s books. I came back to them again and again to explain something to me that I was missing.

When I became a teacher, I did the same things for my students. My first year I taught sixth grade. I remember getting out a picture book the first time and some of my students telling me that was for babies. I gave them the option of listening to me read or reading the textbook. Some took the textbook, some listened simply to get out of reading the textbook, and some wanted to hear the story.

I sat with that group and I taught them how to compare what we read to what we were learning. I showed them how to take something complicated and make it simple. I saw the hope come into student’s eyes who thought all was lost and then they too found success.

Why am I telling you this?

Some to the books below are going to seem to “babyish” for your grade level. They are were written for early elementary. Your students need higher rigor. This may all be true but if they don’t know the basics they can’t succeed. These books will give them the answers you (and they) didn’t know they were missing.

Upper Elementary Fall Book List


Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Why do leaves change color is an easy book to explain how photosynthesis works and why it is important to plants. It talks about the different types of leaves and the life cycle of a tree. If you have a student struggling with these topics, you need this book.


A Tree For All Seasons

A Tree for All Seasons was created by National Geographic and goes over the life of a tree through the seasons of the year. This is a beautiful book with basic information.  I prefer it for lower elementary levels but many of my older students still enjoyed the photos.


The Sequoia Lives On

This has to be my favorite new book of 2018! I love the illustrations in The Sequoia Lives On. This is a story about the life cycle of the largest trees in the world, the Sequoia, and the forest they live in.  This book is truly a stunning work of art with great infromation and can be enjoy by any age group ( even my teenage son enjoyed reading it (multiple times)).


The Pumpkin Book

Learn how to grow a pumpkin from a seed, how to dry and eat the seeds, and how to carve a jack-o-lantern. The Pumpkin Book goes over the life cycle a little more in depth than the next book on our list. While I like the text in this one more I like the pictures in the next one better.


From Seed to Pumpkin

From Seed to Pumpkin is a very easy to read book that takes you on a chronologically journey from a tiny seed to a giant pumpkin.


Pumpkin Circle

I love the unique take of the pumpkin life cycle in the Pumpkin Circle. It follows from pumpkin seed to a growing sprout to a pumpkin seed again all from the view of a bug and a bird in someone’s backyard. You and your students will want to read this one again and again.


How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?

I love to use How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin for math during October!  Each group gets a pumpkin and makes a prediction of how many seeds their pumpkin has. We read the story. We review estimating and skip counting. We talk about the fastest ways to determine how many seeds we have. We read some more and once we have gotten all the advice…

We open up our pumpkins and then we do math. How many seeds do we have? We graph our findings. We add up different groups, we subtract, we multiple, and we divide. We weight our pumpkins before and after the seeds are removed. We find the circumference. So many things to do with a pumpkin!


Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie

Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie is another National Geographic book with amazing photographs. Learn how a pumpkin grows from a seed. Discover the traditions of using pumpkins including jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pie.


Corn is Maize

Learn about the history of Corn with Corn is Maize. Do you know how many different foods come from corn? What do Native Americans, Colonial Times, and Corn have in common? These and so many other questions are answered in this beautiful book.

Why Purchase Books

Reading is essential to academic and personal success. It is the number one thing we can do as teachers and parents to help the children in our care reach their full potential. Research has shown that the more access one has to a book, the more likely the are to read it.

For this reason, I have a set of 9 books on any given topic in my room. Why 9? It seems to be the right number for me. Not too few that you have a line of students waiting to read on that topic and not so many that they never get read. You need this many to ensure your students  have a choice in what they are reading and that they have access to materials at their unique reading abilities.

Click on the links above to purchase your new books. I have done the research, Amazon is the cheapest place to buy these books.

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