It’s fall, so grab some pumpkin spice coffee and let’s talk about books to use this season. Spending the whole season talking about Halloween is probably not on your curriculum schedule, so why not focus on pumpkins? Pumpkin books for kids can spark curiosity about change, seasons, agriculture, and geographic traditions. Here are 15 pumpkin books to use across your curriculum:
Pumpkin Books for Lower Elementary School
1. Hello, Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher
While tired farmers and their families are in bed, the harvest moon silently climbs into the sky and starts working its magic. For some, it is the nightly signal to rise and shine. It is time to hunt, to work, or to play in the shadows. For a little girl and her cat, it is an invitation to enjoy the wonders of the night and a last flood of light before the short days of winter set in.
2. Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell
The first pumpkin Tim ever carved was fierce and funny, and he named it Jack. When Halloween was over and the pumpkin was beginning to rot, Tim set it out in the garden and throughout the weeks he watched it change.
3. From Seed To Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer
These Let’s Read and Find Out books are fantastic for helping kids learn the science in their daily lives. This one shows the life cycle of a pumpkin.
4. How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin by Margaret McNamara
“How many seeds are in a pumpkin?” Mr. Tiffin asks his class as they gather around the big, medium, and small pumpkins on his desk. Robert, the biggest kid, guesses that the largest one has a million seeds; Elinor, sounding like she knows what she’s talking about, guesses the medium one has 500 seeds; and Anna, who likes even numbers better than odd ones, guesses that the little one has 22. Charlie, the smallest boy in the class, doesn’t have a guess.
Counting pumpkin seeds is messy business, but once the slimy job is done, to everyone’s surprise, the smallest pumpkin has the most seeds! As Charlie happily exclaims, “Small things have a lot going on inside of them.”
5. Pumpkin Circle by George Levinson
It’s a circle without end. From pumpkin seeds to pumpkins to pumpkin seeds again! Amazing photographs show a backyard pumpkin patch move through its natural cycle––a bug’s eye and a bird’s high view of seeds sprouting, flowers blooming, bees buzzing, pumpkins growing . . .and then going back to earth.
6. The Ugly Pumpkin by David Horowitz
The Ugly Pumpkin has waited all through October for someone to take him home, but no one wants him. He doesn’t look like other pumpkins. So the lonely Ugly Pumpkin leaves the patch in search of a place where he’ll fit in. By the time Thanksgiving arrives, he discovers the truth about who he is–but it’s not what he expected!
7. Splat the Cat and the Pumpkin-Picking Plan by Catherine Hapka
When Splat goes to the pumpkin patch with Seymour, he’s determined to find the biggest pumpkin ever. But when he finally does, Splat finds out the real challenge isn’t the pumpkin picking—it’s how to get the pumpkin home!
8. Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins by James Dean
Join Pete as he rocks out to this cool adaptation of the classic Halloween song!
9. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll
Desmond the field mouse wants to carve the biggest jack-o’-lantern in the neighborhood with his pumpkin. Clayton the house mouse wants to win the Biggest Pumpkin contest with his. But when they discover that their choice pumpkins are actually the same one, Desmond and Clayton decide to work together to grow the biggest pumpkin ever!
10. Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington
Jamie plants a pumpkin seed in the spring and, after watching it grow all summer, carves a face in it for Halloween! But best of all, he saves some seeds that he will plant again next spring.
Pumpkin Books for Upper Elementary School
11. It’s Not About You, Mr. Pumpkin by Soraya Diase Coffelt
“It’s Not About You Mr. Pumpkin” shares both the historical and religious background of the holiday.
12. The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
This book explores how pumpkins grow, their traditional uses and cultural significance.
13. Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices by David M. Schwartz
Compost won’t mean the same thing after readers have seen the amazing transformation of Jack from grinning pumpkin to mold-mottled wreckage to hopeful green shoot. The story of decomposition is vividly told so that science comes to life (and death).
14. Plant Reproduction: How Do You Grow a Giant Pumpkin? by Cath Senker
This book is about competitive vegetable contests teaches readers about plant parts and plant reproduction.
15. The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold
Nearly all the sheep ranchers in Blue Gum Valley rode horses or drove jeeps to check on their sheep. But Joshua Summerhayes liked to run…with Yellow Dog trailing behind him.” So it’s no surprise when Joshua decides to enter a race from Melbourne to Sydney. People laugh when old Joshua shows up in his overalls and gumboots, calmly nibbling a slice of pumpkin for energy. But then he pulls into the lead, and folks are forced to sit up and take notice.
More Pumpkin Resources:
- 3 Clever Uses for Pumpkin Seeds in the Classroom
- The Great Pumpkin Challenge: 7 Projects to Try This Fall
- 6 Spooktacular Math and Science Projects with Pumpkins
What are your favorite pumpkin books to use in the classroom? We’d love to hear more recommendations in the comments.