Welcome to the first month in a year-long monthly read aloud series! These September read alouds aim to get you through a month of reading aloud with your children. Each of these new monthly book lists will consist of a mix of picture books, nonfiction, poetry and chapter book read alouds.
While I make no promises that every book will be intimately related to the theme “September” (whatever that means–leaves and apples, maybe?), I will prioritize books that I think evoke a feeling of the month. So these September children’s books will make you feel cozy, will conjure up images of a lowering sun and a fresh cool breeze. Sound cheesy? Maybe. I’m certainly not ashamed of being cheesy.
What I do promise is that these monthly book lists will consist of books that have not (to date) appeared on any of my lists before. So if you follow my book lists (hugs!) you can be assured of finding at least ten new favorite September titles! The exact mix will always depend on what books speak to me. (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links)
September Read Aloud Picture Books
Mustafa by Marie-Louise Gay. In late summer, Mustafa and his family come as refugees to their new home. Mustafa goes out to the park, where he observes his environment and people. He takes note of a girl walking a cat, but he is too timid to approach anyone. Everything feels very unfamiliar to Mustafa and he feels invisible. As summer turns into fall, he starts to open up and he and the girl with a cat introduce themselves to each other. This is a really important, thoughtful and touching book about the refugee experience of children.
Pinny in Fall by Joanne Schwartz. This is a sweet book with several discreet stories about a little girl, Pinny, and her adventures on an autumn day. When Pinny wakes up, she feels a chill in the air. She and her friends engage in a game of tag while the wind and fog surround them. They visit a lighthouse and help to blow a foghorn and at the end of the day takes stock in her good fortune. A lovely story of friendship, autumn and imagination.
Windows by Julia Denos. I adore this book because it celebrates the idea that crisp autumn walks are not just for the countryside! A child goes for an evening walk with a dog through an urban neighborhood. The child encounters many familiar sites, but there is still a sense of wonder, community and a sense of belonging to something big, yet intimate. A lovely book.
Shelter by Céline Claire. One morning in the forest the news comes that a storm is brewing. The animals all set out together to work and prepare. After everyone is safe in their dens, two wandering strangers look for shelter, offering tea and cookies in exchange for warmth. But no one lets them in. A sympathetic young fox offers them a lantern as the strangers leave. When danger forces the fox family to flee their den, they come across the strangers’ humble shelter, lit from within with the lantern and are welcomed inside. If you don’t get to reading this book in September, save it for a later month, when the first snow storm is on the horizon!
Goodbye Summer Hello Autumn by Kenard Park. The illustrations in this book will get you in the mood for the coming autumnal months! A child walks through the natural environment, greeting all the creatures and objects on the way. They, in turn, say hello, offering up bits of information as to how they are getting ready for the approaching chilly weather.
Book Joy Word Joy by Pat Mora. National Hispanic Heritage Month begins in September but that is not the only reason to read aloud this poetry book to your children right now. This is a cheerful collection of poems about adventures with language, whether it be reading, singing, writing secrets or going to the library. Many of the short, dynamic poems incorporate Spanish words or phrases and Colón’s illustrations bring a sense of movement to the printed words.
The Sequoia Lives On by Joanna Cooke is a gorgeous book about the magnificent sequoia from seed to decomposition. I don’t always like to read aloud nonfiction books, but this was definitely an exception. Somehow the text’s rhythm seems to carry you up to the sky as you gaze at the height of the tree, or create a sense of urgency as the flames of the wildfire come near. I may be biased because redwoods are my favorite trees, but this book captures their sublime spirit.
September Read Aloud Chapter Books
Please note that in each description, I have suggested recommended ages for read alouds. It is only a suggestion, not a requirement! You can find more books appropriate for the whole family here –> Autumn family read aloud chapter books.
Toaff’s Way by Cynthia Voight. This is an enjoyable September read aloud for children 6 and up. Toaff is a very curious squirrel who has a year long adventure learning about the world and making his new home. He meets new animals and learns about dangers and enemies. A fun read with gentle humor.
The Wonderling by Mira Bartók. Read this aloud to your children ages 8 and up. Bartók creates a marvelous world that draws upon the familiar and fantastical. The protagonist is a “groundling,” a fox-like creature who escapes with his bird-friend, Trinket, from a grim orphanage to head out on an adventure. Their adventure circles round and they plan to rescue the other orphans. There is something very Dickensian about the story, and unlike some books set in strange hybrid worlds, Bartók’s incredible descriptions and use of language, along with her illustrations build a fully-realized, fascinating universe.
The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Phillip Stead. In 1879, Twain began telling his daughters a tale about a boy, some seeds and a prince. Twain wrote the outline of the story but never finished it, and Stead has filled in the gaps. The result is marvelous. Johnny, an African-American boy, lives with his unpleasant grandfather. He sells his chicken for some seeds. Amazingly, the flowers from the seeds give him the ability to talk with animals. When Prince Oleomargarine is kidnapped, Johnny and his new animal friends set out to rescue him. Marvelous. A September read aloud book for ages 5 and up.