Falling leaves, cooler temperatures, shorter days, pumpkins and apples: The fall season offers many paths to go a bit deeper with learning about garden topics and plant life cycles. Adventures like visiting a pumpkin patch or apple orchard are fun ways to learn about how these seasonal staples grow, and to gather ideas to bring back to your own garden.

There are many excellent picture books to pair with fall gardening adventures. Here are a few of my favorites, that show us the journey a seed makes in the fall, provide an underground garden view, chronicle a year in a school garden, teach us all about the pumpkin life cycle, and inspire us to learn more about the apples and other ingredients essential to apple pies.

Seeds and Dirt in the Fall Garden, and Beyond

The Tiny Seed

written by Eric Carle

This book follows flower seeds sailing in an autumn wind, across many landscapes and through the chilly days of winter. Finally, the seeds settle down in a hospitable spot to wait, then sprout in spring and flourish in summer. When autumn comes, the cycle repeats, with the flower losing its petals and sending tiny seeds into the wind. This classic book offers a glimpse into the life cycle of a plant and the incredible journeys seeds embark on this time of year.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

written by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal

A child and her nana work in the garden, accompanied by all sorts of insects and wildlife, also hard at work. This story starts in the spring and takes the reader through the fall harvest, showing all the activity happening down in the dirt and under the garden throughout the seasons. This book includes lots of facts about the animals featured in the book, along with suggestions for further reading.

A Year in a School Garden

It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden

written by George Ancona

This chronicle of a year observing an active school garden in Santa Fe, New Mexico, offers ideas and inspiration for new and established school gardens. The school’s fall harvest festival leads into preparation for winter with clearing out the garden to make it ready for a blanket of snow. This helpful book is packed with photos and ideas on how to approach starting a garden and what to expect over the year and seasons. It also covers pollinators, bees, butterflies, worms and other animals at work in the garden environment.

Pumpkin Time

From Seed to Pumpkin

written by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by James Graham Hale

This informational story starts with pumpkin seeds in a spring garden and takes the reader through the growing cycle to fall pumpkins ready for harvest, studying how they grow, what the leaves look like, pollinators in action, blossoms turning into tiny fruits, and the changing colors indicating ripeness. Including a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds and a simple at-home experiment to see how plants drink water, this book provides a great overview of how pumpkins grow and also covers the basics of how seeds sprout and make their own food.

Apples….and Apple Pie!

If you have an apple tree, or if apple picking and apple pie baking are on your fall calendar, put these two books on your reading list. They invite going beyond the apples and the pie, to learn about how apple trees grow and consider how the ingredients for a pie grow or are made.

The Apple Pie that Papa Baked

written by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Jonathan Bean

This story is all about the pie that Papa baked. And the tree that grew the apples, the roots that fed the tree, the rain that watered the roots, and so on. I love how it encourages readers to think about how a tree grows and what it needs to thrive.

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

written by Marjorie Priceman

This one takes the reader on an adventure around the world, sourcing ingredients for an apple pie. The baker heads to Italy for semolina wheat, France for elegant eggs from chickens, Sri Lanka for cinnamon, England for butter from cows with charming accents, Jamaica for sugar, the sea for salt, and Vermont for apples. I love how this book invites wonder about how food is grown.

To see these gardening books and more, please join me @thepicturebookcook on Instagram. Or dig into my book picks for Spring and Summer, too!


Kate Rowe loves picture books, reading, gardening, cooking, and talking about all of these things! She shares picture book recommendations paired with food adventures @thepicturebookcook on Instagram. She is a writer, editor, and parent of two young book-loving garden helpers.