Guest post by JEN Garrett

As the leaves turn crisp and the apples ripen, it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate these fall holidays with picture books.


International Walk to School Day

(October 5th)

All over the United States, schools celebrate International Walk to School Day.

More recently, this has been renamed to include those who bike to school. Even if you don’t live within walking (or biking) distance of the school, you can celebrate by parking off campus and walking the rest of the way to school. Even home schooled children can celebrate by taking a walking “field trip.”

While you want to get to school on time, don’t forget to enjoy the journey as you walk. Be sure to notice your surroundings, and you might be surprised what you observe. After you arrive at your destination, record your findings in words or pictures. Continue the celebration with picture books such as And to Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss, Yoko Finds Her Way by Rosemary Wells, and Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña.

Dragonese Day (any day in October)

If you’re looking for a fun Non-Halloween way to decorate your classroom or library, Dragonese Day might be the answer!  

Based on the famous How to Train Your Dragon series by Carissa Cowell, this is a fun educational day that you can fit anywhere into your October schedule. The official website has so many ideas for your Dragonese Day celebration, that it might stretch into whole Dragonese Week!

The How to Train Your Dragon books target readers in 3rd through 6th grades, but even young readers can enjoy Dragonese day with picture books such as Oh No Little Dragon by Jim Averbeck and Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri.

Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day (Oct. 10)

I went to high school with real American Indians and Cowboys. I was neither. But from that experience I gained a great appreciation for the culture of both. There is some debate about whether Columbus Day should be rechristened “Indigenous People’s Day” and last year I wrote a whole post on what I think about Columbus Day.

Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, there are several children’s books on both. For a good overview of Columbus Day and ideas to celebrate, I recommend Columbus Day by Rennay Craats.

If you’d prefer to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, then Native American Myths by Diana Ferguson is a great way to learn about the traditional tales of those who have settled in America long before it was “discovered” by the Old World.

The one thing both holiday labels have in common is the celebration of exploration and appreciation for nature. You can celebrate these skills with Go Wild: Be an Explorer by Chris Oxlade and Eva Sassin.

Dictionary Day (Oct. 16)

If you love words as much as I do, you won’t want to miss Noah Webster’s birthday, Dictionary Day.

Start the celebration by learning more about the man behind the dictionary with Noah Webster and His Words by Jeri Chase Ferris and Vincent X. Kirsch.

What’s a celebration without games? Some popular board games that use words are “Balderdash” “Word Yahtzee” and “Scrabble.”

Or gather ideas from the amazing word facts in The Word Snoop by Ursula Dubosarsky and Tohby Riddle. The end of each chapter has a secret message for you to decipher. Then maybe create your own secret messages using the word tricks you’ve learned.

Explore the evolution of language like Nicholas does in Frindle by Andrew Clements and Brian Selznick. Many authors have created new words and new meanings for old words.

See if you can think of some words that weren’t in the dictionary ten years ago. Some examples might include webinar (noun), texting (verb), and emoji (noun).

Halloween (Oct. 31)

I love Halloween!

What other day can you put ‘candy’ and ‘spooky’ in the same sentence? I love the costumes, trick-or-treating, and Halloween picture books. A few of my favorites include Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace , and Dem Bones by Bob Barner.

If you’re looking for a holiday mash-up story like Disney’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” movie, then Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio and Scott Campbell is a must read.

JEN Garrett

JEN Garrett

JEN Garrett writes for, about, and around children all day. But sometimes she finds time to do the dishes at her home in Northern California. She also finds time to be the Critique Coordinator in her local SCBWI region, visit her local library regularly, query agents, and read mountains of books. How? We don’t know.

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