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I love the change of season. And fall’s a favorite. There’s a lot to celebrate in autumn.

Grace Lin introduced me to a celebration that I’d not come across before. The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is presented in a new book, Thanking the Moon (opens in a new window) (Knopf) that follows a Chinese American family as they enjoy a moonlit picnic sharing mooncakes and moon legends while giving thanks.

Lin recognizes (as she often does) that little is known about the celebration and so includes a note with additional information to give adults or interested children a bit more about it.

It’s also the time of year when children delight in at least pretending to be scared as they don costumes, attend Halloween parties, or go trick or treating.

There are a bunch of books that are Halloweeny but not so scary that they can’t be shared with younger children.

Boo Cow (opens in a new window) (Charlesbridge) by Patricia Baehr takes place on a farm where the newcomers have to figure out why their chickens won’t lay eggs. Could it have something to do with a cow ghost, a thief or both?

The funny, engaging cat Splat is back for a silly Halloween adventure in school. Scaredy-Cat, Splat (opens in a new window) (HarperCollins) by Rob Scotton continues the comic cat’s escapades.

Lorna Balian’s Humbug Witch (opens in a new window) (Star Bright) still delights and surprises young children as the broom bearing, caldron-stirring witch’s true identity is gradually revealed.

Adults will probably appreciate Jon Muth’s glowingly illustrated Zen Ghosts (opens in a new window) (Scholastic) more than children. But anyone who likes Muth’s other thought provoking books featuring Stillwater the panda are likely to enjoy this one.

Just for fun, newly independent readers will laugh along with Mercy Watson’s Halloween fiasco. The treat-loving pig dons a costume with hilarious results in Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson Princess in Disguise (opens in a new window) (Candlewick).

Slightly creepier is Donna Diamond’s wordless picture book, The Shadow (opens in a new window) (Candlewick). A silhouette comes into a girl’s bedroom causing consternation — until she asserts herself. Readers will be left wondering though if it’s really gone.

Each of these books is a real treat and are cause for celebration — just right for the season.

About the Author

Reading Rockets’ children’s literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Publication Date
October 22, 2010