The Kids Are All Right

Fall Picture Books, Firefighters, And More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! I’m honestly having a hard time believing that the first day of fall is this Saturday. I LOVE fall, don’t get me wrong, but what happened to summer? Time is just not right! I’m going to turn around any day now and find Christmas trees in the store!

In honor of Fall, I have reviews of four fantastic fall-themed picture books, plus two awesome new releases. Before I get to those reviews, Book Riot’s editorial team is writing for casual and power readers alike over at The Deep Dive! During the month of September, all new free subscribers will be entered to win Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, plus 5 mystery books from The Deep Dive. To enter, simply start a free subscription to The Deep Dive. No payment method required!

Bookish Goods

Haunted library shirt by ANWBookish

Haunted Library Shirt by anwbookish

I adore this haunted library tee. I need it ASAP! $35+

New Releases

Cover of Our Favorite Apples by Lin

Our Favorite Apples by Grace Lin (board book)

Grace Lin is back with more board books for the Storytelling Math series! In this one, Manny, Mei, and Olivia pick their favorite color apples and then need to decide how to split the multi-colored apples. Who Jumps More? also releases today. Lin has four other board books in this series. They were one of the first books my daughter read by herself!

Cover of They Hold the Line by Paley

They Hold the Line by Dan Paley, illustrated by Molly Mendoza (picture book)

This is a gorgeously illustrated and accessible nonfiction about firefighters. It examines wildfires, firefighter equipment, firefighter camps, and more. The illustrations depict a diverse array of firefighters and are incredibly vivid and lovely. It’s a well-researched, compelling examination of firefighters and their role in putting out wildfires. It’s essential reading, especially right now.

In my September new release list for the main website, I also review Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior, The Vanderbeekers Ever After (yay for Karina!), and Kin: Rooted in Hope, which release today. For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Okay, since fall is rudely approaching this weekend, I thought I should recommend some fall-themed picture books! We actually got all our fall books out of the closet a few days ago.

Cover of When Fall Comes by Bissonette

When Fall Comes by Aimée M. Bissonette, illustrated by Erin Hourigan

This picture book is the continuation of a nature-themed series by the author and illustrator. It opens with a grandmother and grandchild in a boat watching Canadian geese fly overhead. The story then follows the family of what appears to be a mother, son, and two grandmothers as they explore the changes fall brings outside, from watching beavers build to hiking among yellow larches. I think this is the first time I’ve seen two queer grandmothers in a picture book? Feel free to let me know if you know of others!

Cover of It's Fall by Kurilla

It’s Fall! by Renée Kurilla

I mean, does a cover get more adorable? This simple, rhyming picture book explores lots of classic fall scenes: pumpkin patches, trick-or-treating, pumpkin pie, and more. The orange and yellow-hued illustrations perfectly encapsulate fall feelings. It’s a playful, joyful read-aloud.

Cover of A Very Big Fall by Kastner

A Very Big Fall by Emmy Kastner

This picture book is my daughter’s favorite fall read. It’s about three leaves with a lot of personality-changing colors and falling as the season progresses. Birch is happy to see what comes next, Oak is worried, and Maple is excited and wants to be first at everything. However, she’s the last to change color and the last to fall. This is a fun one for kids and also a great read before doing any fall leaf crafts.

Cover of Amara's Farm by Brown-Wood

Amara’s Farm by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Samara Hardy

I adore JaNay Brown-Wood’s Where in the Garden? picture book series, which are compare/contrast stories that depict diverse children in gardens searching for a fruit or vegetable. In this one, the first book in the series, though every book is a stand-alone, Amara is looking for pumpkins on the farm. She’s got to find pumpkins before a potluck she’s hosting! Will the reader help her find them?

Marian as a cat witch

Marian has chosen her Halloween costume — a cat witch! She’s been some variation of a cat or witch or a cat witch for almost every Halloween. I appreciate her consistency! She knows what she likes, and she’s sticking to it. She has requested I be a crayon, but I don’t really want to be a crayon, ha! I might just wear a spooky T-shirt.

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

All the best,

Margaret Kingsbury