Are you wondering what you should read to your children in October? The month of ever increasing chilly nights and ever decreasing hours of sunlight? Well. I have what you need! This October book list is full of picture books, poetry and chapter books to read aloud during the month of pumpkins, magic, colorful leaf piles and brisk breezes. I’ll provide the book titles, you provide the apple cider.
I chose to stick to an October reading theme that would remind you of the Halloween holiday festivities at the end of the month but are not necessarily about Halloween! There are some mildly spine-tingling books on this list but mostly they are about magic, fall leaves in action and a ghost or two. For more October reading resources keep the following lists handy:
- Non-scary and scary Halloween read aloud chapter books
- Halloween-themed early chapter books (ages 6-10)
- Halloween picture books that emphasize self-esteem
- Diverse Halloween picture books
- Fall read aloud chapter books the whole family will love!
(Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links)
October Picture Book Read Alouds
These magic and fall-themed books for your October reading list will charm and delight your little listeners!
Miss Turie’s Magical Creatures by Joy Keller. This whimsical, rhyming book will appeal to kids of all ages. Miss Turie with her glorious hairdo is an expert at matching kids to the ideal magical pet. She takes a boy on a tour of her enchanting pet shop, offering him a chance to take home any curious creature. She has a unicorn, a chimera, a kraken, and more! But the boy chooses the fiercest animal of all. Can you guess what it is? I love that there is a catalog at the end of the book that gives more information on each of the magical beasts!
The Scarecrow’s Dance by Jane Yolen. What happens to scarecrows at night? Do they wander? Do they say their prayers? Yolen’s flowing, dancing text tells the story of a scarecrow, freed from his post, who dances through the night, looking in on a boy saying his prayers. Listening to the boy, the scarecrow remembers his purpose and returns to his place, with a renewed spirit.
Storm by Sam Usher. This is an absolutely lovely story about a boy and his grandfather’s attempt to fly a kite. A blustery autumn storm stirs up the rainbow of fall leaves, making the challenge of kite flying both inviting and challenging. Ultimately, the kite adventure on a crisp October day is as rewarding for the boy and grandfather as it is for the reader.
Sir Simon – Super Scarer by Cale Atkinson. My 9 year old son (never too old for picture books!) got a lot of giggles from this book about a rather sweet ghost. Should you want an October read aloud book that steers close to a Halloween theme, pick up this new title. Sir Simon is a ghost who loves haunting. His new assignment is to haunt a house, which means a lot more work than just haunting the odd object here and there. When he realizes a boy lives in the house he comes up with a brilliant plan to lessen his load, but will it work?
October Poetry Collections
Regularly reading poetry to your kids will make you the greatest parent (or teacher, or grandparent, or caregiver) ever!
The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight and Other Poems to Trouble Your Sleep by Jack Prelutsky. I adore the poetry of the prolific Prelutsky, a former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate. This particular collection of poetry is great for the run-up to Halloween but I don’t recommend it for sensitive children who are easily frightened. However, kids who are fascinated by mummies, zombies and other imaginary ghouls will love listening to Prelutsky’s imaginative word play.
Autumnblings by Douglas Florian. Florian wonderful use of inventive words enhance these joyful poems about the pleasures and rituals of autumn. These poems are not scary at all and so you can read one every night during the month of October and your children will slumber sweetly and remember bedtime fondly.
October Chapter Book Read Alouds
One or two of these magical chapter books will give you a special month of reading with no problem! If you have a younger child who doesn’t like scary books try one of the first two (my son LOVED them), but if you and your children like a walk on the risky side, try the second two books! If these aren’t enough for you try one of my fall family read aloud books.
The Boggart by Susan Cooper (trilogy). We loved reading aloud this hilarious book about an invisible, magical and mischievous spirit. The Boggart lives in an old Scottish castle but he accidentally gets transported to Toronto when he is trapped in an old desk. He has fun making mischief in his new digs but soon he feels homesick and searches for a way to get back home. Recommended for listeners ages 6-7 and up.
Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead. Here’s another book about a small magical creature far from home. Mass and Stead wrote the book in alternating voices. 11 year old Livy returns to her grandmother’s farm in Australia and finds a small green sprite-like creature in the closet. Bob insists that he and Livy were friends when she was last there when she was five years old, but Livy doesn’t remember. Together they set out to figure out who Bob is and where he is from. Recommended for listeners ages 6-7 and up.
Where the Woods End by Charlotte Salter. I loved this suspenseful read and it is a good book to read in October, but it is not for sensitive children. Kestrel hunts “grabbers,” frightening creatures that thrive on your fears. Kestrel and her amusing weasel companion work on finding a way out of the woods so Kestrel can escape her grotesque home life and the bullies in her village. But when Kestrel’s own grabber starts to appear she must learn how to defeat it or escape before it catches up with her. Recommended for ages 8 and up, but middle school kids and even teens will enjoy this as a family read aloud, too.
A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander is a less scary choice, but one that still has some good October-ish and Halloween-ish themes. Rosa Diaz and her mother have just moved to Ingot, the only unhaunted town in the country. But Rosa’s mother is a library ghost appeasement specialist so Rosa doesn’t understand why they have come to this place. Rosa and her new friend Jasper start to discover that reason Ingot is no longer haunted and they set out to restore the balance by letting the spirits back in where they belong. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Not for the very sensitive child, but not nearly as scary as my previous selection.
Don’t forget to look out for our other monthly read aloud book lists: