The best books about seasons

7 authors have picked their favorite books about seasons and why they recommend each book.

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Margaret's Unicorn

By Briony May Smith,

Book cover of Margaret's Unicorn

Margaret’s Unicorn is full of atmosphere and a feeling of place. From the golden, beautifully rendered light, to Margaret’s woollen sweater, the book is like a warm hug. The animal friend in this story is a young unicorn. Margaret, a girl who is adjusting to a recent move to the countryside, witnesses a ghostly, mysterious herd of migrating unicorns on her first walk exploring her new landscape. Moments later, she finds a baby unicorn who was mistakenly left behind. Over the year of waiting for the herd to return, Margaret looks after her little friend and experiences the seasons in her beautiful new environment. By the time she has to say goodbye, Margaret has settled into her new home and the unicorn is ready to return to his family.

I enjoy this book particularly for the lovely, convincing depiction of the countryside mixed with the touch of magic. Readers will…


Who am I?

I am an illustrator, author, and animator. When I write and draw, I hope to vividly bring characters and settings to life in the imaginations of readers. Mischievous dogs, mysterious old houses, and brilliant mathematicians are some of the subjects I’ve had the pleasure of putting on the pages of books. I love animals and art, so artistic picture books with animals at their heart, give me a lot of joy. Because the illustrations in a picture book tell stories, I look for artwork that expresses character, mood, and movement. The best picture books leave a mark in visual memory that connects to the feeling of a story.


I wrote...

Tricky

By Kari Rust,

Book cover of Tricky

What is my book about?

Tricky was my first picture book. It is about a pair of rascally troublemakers and what happens when one of them (a dog!) sees the error of his ways. It is a tale of revenge and reform told in a fun and lighthearted picture book. The story was inspired, in part, by some trickster dogs from my own life.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes

By Julie Fogliano, Julie Morstad (illustrator),

Book cover of When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

This is a very unique and beautiful book, all the way through. The poems are uniquely written. They present a unique perspective on their subjects. And the entire book is structured to read almost as diary entries – quite unique! Julie’s concept and execution are brilliant, with unusual wordplay and imagery (in springtime, “rushing daffodils / wished they had waited” and birds poke “a tiny hole / through the edge of winter”) and the varying tone of her poems – from joyful to contemplative to eager – keeps the collection fresh and keeps the pages turning. 


Who am I?

Ever since my parents gave me a copy of Dorothy Aldis’ The Secret Place and Other Poems, I have enjoyed a lifelong love of poetry. Now, as a traditionally-published children’s author, I have had numerous books and poems published over the years, including books that began as poems, like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) and Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021). My poems can be found in various anthologies including The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children's Books, 2015).


I wrote...

Flashlight Night

By Matt Forrest Esenwine, Fred Koehler (illustrator),

Book cover of Flashlight Night

What is my book about?

Flashlight Night is an ode to the power of imagination and the wonder of books. Three children use a flashlight to light a path around their backyard at night; in the flashlight’s beam another world looms. Our heroes encounter spooky woods, a fearsome tiger, a time-forgotten tomb, an Egyptian god, a sword-fighting pirate, and a giant squid. With ingenuity, they vanquish all, then return to their treehouse—braver, closer, and wiser than before—to read the books that inspired their adventure.

A First Book of Nature

By Nicola Davies, Mark Hearld (illustrator),

Book cover of A First Book of Nature

A gloriously illustrated mixture of nature facts, poetry, and things to do, this book is like my childhood squished between covers, taking in pond-dipping, caterpillar-hatching, rock-pooling, worm-watching and so much more as it guides you through the seasons. I would have loved this book as a child, and still love it now. 


Who am I?

I grew up in London, close to Richmond Park, where I got to know many of the characters who have since popped up in my stories. I bird-watched, caterpillar-collected, and pond-dipped, and my bedroom had a floating population of minibeasts. My first picture book, Fred and the Little Egg, was about a bear cub trying to hatch an acorn, and my stories have continued to reflect my love of nature. My Fletcher’s Four Seasons series follows a kind-hearted fox cub as he explores his wood through the changing seasons. I hope my books will inspire children to explore and care for the natural world too.


I wrote...

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

By Julia Rawlinson, Tiphanie Beeke (illustrator),

Book cover of Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

What is my book about?

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves was inspired by my son asking me to fix a fallen leaf back onto its tree. Fox cub Fletcher is worried when his beautiful tree starts to lose its leaves. He does everything he can to save them, but it’s just no use. When the final leaf has ‘plipped’ off, Fletcher feels all hope has gone… until he goes back the next day and a glorious sight awaits him.

This tender, uplifting tale of friendship and hope, with glorious watercolour illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke, is the first book in Fletcher’s Four Seasons series. Kindness, nature discovery, and a sparkling surprise ending!

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

By Leo Buscaglia,

Book cover of The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages

I first read this book as a 21-year-old woman who had just lost her father. Other than losing pets, this was my first experience with loss. The book Freddie the Leaf seemed like a children’s book, but its themes and messages were so relatable, even though I was a senior in college. I remember the simple way that the concepts of passing seasons and life and death were portrayed in such a comforting manner, and I was so grateful that someone gifted me with this book during the most difficult time in my life. 


Who am I?

Ever since I was a young girl, I always turned to writing to work through anything that was happening in my life, ranging from the first time I experienced loss to my parents’ divorce. I have since published three children’s books on tough topics as I have aimed to provide parents, children, and teachers with tools to discuss loss and change. My most recent book, Goodbye, Gus is specifically about the loss of a pet. My dad died when I was 21, and that was the first death (other than my dogs) that I ever experienced. I was able to experience first-hand the fact that the loss of my pets helped prepare me to cope with grief, and I also learned that we can all focus on what we did have and hang on to those memories forever. 


I wrote...

Goodbye, Gus

By Amy Lee Kite,

Book cover of Goodbye, Gus

What is my book about?

Goodbye, Gus: Exploring grief and finding hope after the loss of a pet is for children ages 2 – 8 although many adults have reported loving the book, as well. For many young children, losing a pet is their first experience with death. This book helps to ease their sadness, address tough questions that may arise, and comfort them with an honest and hopeful message. The book is helpful for adults, too as it not only provides a tool for their discussions with children, but it provides comfort and hope for them, too. 

A Kitchen in France

By Mimi Thorisson,

Book cover of A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse: A Cookbook

If you like to cook and love France this book with its wonderful photography is also a coffee table book. Just looking through it will transport you to the French countryside where I lived and worked and adore. The recipes are not convoluted and are simple and delicious.


Who am I?

Annemarie Rawson is a Francophile who lived and worked in France for several years with her husband, Steve, and has traveled to France many times. She loves the cities for the culture, history, and architecture but her heart is in the countryside where beauty is all around and where she met the genuine warmth and generosity of many who have little to give.


I wrote...

My French Platter: A Journey to a Dream Life in France

By Annemarie Rawson,

Book cover of My French Platter: A Journey to a Dream Life in France

What is my book about?

When Annemarie and her husband, Steve, leave their life in New Zealand to manage a 15th-century farmhouse in France, they have no idea they’ll end up homeless. No idea they’ll need to live in filth, rely on dilapidated equipment and deal with a belligerent boss. Will the mouth-watering food she creates, the wonderful people they meet and the glorious French countryside help them salvage their dreams of life abroad or will they need to rethink their future?

The Little Island

By Margaret Wise Brown, Leonard Weisgard (illustrator),

Book cover of The Little Island: (Caldecott Medal Winner)

This beautiful picturebook won the Caldecott Medal in 1947, but it’s as timeless as they come. It’s a shame you don’t see it around that much these days. It tells the story of an island throughout the four seasons, including crabs, seals and a visiting cat who can’t handle the island’s deepest secret. It seems like a simple book, but there’s a whole lot going on beneath the surface. The way the world appears is all to do with who’s looking at it.


Who am I?

Reading allows us to climb inside other people’s heads, to think their thoughts and feel their feelings. For children, in particular, books can be a way to understand new emotions. To name them and start to think about where they come from. As my son started to grow up, I wanted to write a story that helped him think about other people’s feelings. And that’s what The Hug and its follow-ups are all about.


I wrote...

The Hug

By Eoin McLaughlin, Polly Dunbar (illustrator),

Book cover of The Hug

What is my book about?

This book has two covers. From one side, it’s the story of a hedgehog and from the other it’s the story of a tortoise. They’re both looking for a hug. They ask all the other animals they come across but for some reason, no one will hug them. Until a wise owl explains: Hedgehog is too spiky; Tortoise is too hard. But don’t worry (SPOILER ALERT) they meet each other in the middle.


Eoin and Polly’s Hug books have twice been named ‘Books of the Year’ by The Guardian, called “an important historical record of the time” by The Times, and been nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal.

The Scarecrow

By Beth Ferry, Eric Fan (illustrator), Terry Fan (illustrator)

Book cover of The Scarecrow

The Scarecrow is an emotional story about the unlikely friendship between a scarecrow and a baby crow. The story explores loneliness and the value of friendship. The writing in this story is gorgeous and the illustrations are simply beautiful. This, like all of my other picks, is evergreen and a treat for children and adults alike.

Who am I?

I am a lyrical writer and have a passion for quiet, thoughtful books. I wrote A Home Again when I became an empty nester. When my husband and I were discussing downsizing our home, I was surprised by the reactions of my grown children. They absolutely did not want us to sell their family home. That led me to think about how our house would feel if we left. A new book was born. My friends, a gay couple, had just bought a new home and I thought it would be wonderful to make the second family in the story two dads. We need to show children there is a diverse array of families in the world—but what connects them all is love.


I wrote...

A Home Again

By Colleen Rowan Kosinski, Valeria Docampo (illustrator),

Book cover of A Home Again

What is my book about?

Home is where the heart is. While that phrase usually speaks to human feelings, in this lovely picture book, the sentiment takes on new meaning as a house reveals its own heart to the reader. By turns, the house feels joy, tenderness, and sorrow as its first family moves in, grows, and moves away. But the heart is a funny thing, and hope—and eventually love—prevail as a brand-new family arrives.

The house experiences a gamut of emotions, and I love the way the text and art gently evoke these and that a couple of different types of families are represented—one with a mother and father and their children and one with two dads and their daughter. I hope you enjoy this tale of a home’s heart.

In the Garden

By Emma Giuliani,

Book cover of In the Garden

The lift-the-flap format is often aimed at the board book crowd, but not in this beautiful book. Information under its flaps acts more like visual sidebars, uncovering secrets such as what’s inside a garden shed or what the inside of an onion looks like. The book shows us the passage of seasons and the activities of a gardening sister and her little brother at different times of the year, such as planting, composting, and raking. Children and adults will both like this one.


Who am I?

I love nature and feature it in many of my books, including a poetry collection about the ocean and a board book series about famous naturalists. As a gardener, I have trouble with outside plants thanks to the deer that live in the canyon out back. However, I have 50 houseplants and an herb garden in pots on the balcony. Our house is surrounded by trees, and one of my favorite places in the world is Sequoia National Park, with its green meadows and giant sequoia trees. We spent several summers there when I was a child.


I wrote...

Little Naturalists: The Adventures of John Muir

By Kate Coombs, Seth Lucas (illustrator),

Book cover of Little Naturalists: The Adventures of John Muir

What is my book about?

Even toddlers can learn about great naturalists like John Muir! The first of some dozen books in the BabyLit series about naturalists, this board book celebrates the life and contributions of the Father of the National Parks. In spare lines of rhymed poetry, we follow John Muir as he explores the mountains and forests that will become Yosemite National Park and other natural treasures.

Diary of a Young Naturalist

By Dara McAnulty,

Book cover of Diary of a Young Naturalist

Dara McAnulty is a young naturalist from Northern Ireland. He is autistic and writes about how he was badly bullied at school because of that. He has always found joy and comfort in the natural world, and this is a journal of his fifteenth year, recording outings to woodlands, coasts, and mountains. He writes so vividly, not only about the birds and other creatures he sees but also about the exhilaration of being in wild places. This was his first book, and I’m sure there will be many more from this gifted young writer.


Who am I?

I'm mainly known as an author of fiction for young readers, but animal awareness is an important part of my life and I decided to write about it.  I’ve been vegetarian for many years, and vegan for the last four: I decided long ago that no animal was going to die so that I could eat it. From early childhood, I loved animal stories, and as I grew older it baffled me that we care for our pets while thinking of other creatures as food. I spend a lot of my time campaigning for animals – for better treatment of farm animals, against bloodsports like fox-hunting and shooting, and for better awareness of the natural world and how we must look after it. 


I wrote...

This Book Is Cruelty Free: Animals and Us

By Linda Newbery,

Book cover of This Book Is Cruelty Free: Animals and Us

What is my book about?

My book is a guide to compassionate living. Every day of our lives we make choices – about what to eat, wear, use, waste, and throw away – and these choices affect animals and the environment in all sorts of ways. How can we choose better, and live more kindly? I look at food, fashion, pets, zoos, how to engage with nature, and much more, including how to campaign for a better world for animals. I hope this book will help you to feel confident with your decisions, to make positive changes, and maybe influence others too.

Abracadabra, It's Spring!

By Anne Sibley O'Brien, Susan Gal (illustrator),

Book cover of Abracadabra, It's Spring!

Abracadabra, It's Spring! shows seasonal magic at its height. The charming rhymes and lyrical nature of the text transports the readers on a magical journey of seasonal changes. Each page opens out to double the size by the addition of beautifully illustrated pull-out flaps. This is a great picture book for young children as it visually shows how the winter snow magically melts away to reveal the thrill and wonder of spring’s arrival.

I particularly like how it provides opportunities to discuss bird migration and the life cycle of birds and butterflies. You can also have fun brainstorming all the different activities they can do during the spring when the weather gets warmer. A great addition to a spring-themed bookshelf.


Who am I?

As a child I was always fascinated by nature, especially the way the trees changed throughout the seasons. This may be what stimulated my love of growing and caring for bonsai trees and why I have written many books about the seasons myself. Now as an author, ex-primary school teacher, parent, and grandparent I am aware of the importance of encouraging other children to have this same interest and fascination in nature and the ever-changing seasons. I believe it fosters an awareness of how the world is far bigger than themselves and everything is interconnected. I hope these books will inspire young mind’s love and understanding of the natural world.


I wrote...

Rabbit's Spring Gift

By Anita Loughrey, Lucy Barnard (illustrator),

Book cover of Rabbit's Spring Gift

What is my book about?

Rabbit’s Spring Gift has a theme of sibling rivalry set around the concept of spring. Rabbit wants to give her mum a thank you gift, but her brother tries to out-do her at every turn. The book intertwines family relationships and the changing seasons.

At the back of the book there are seasonal activities, crafts and discussion points to help develop a child’s understanding of the natural world. Rabbit’s Spring Gift can be used in schools, nurseries, and at home to support topics on the seasons and animals. The gorgeous illustrations give the perfect ahhh-factor.

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