All year long, things are changing. Daylight hours increase and decrease. Temperatures get hotter and then colder. Plants sprout leaves and then shed them. Our annual cycle includes many notable changes throughout the seasons that observant children will begin to notice.
Below are several books about the seasons designed to teach children from preschool through late elementary school about our changing seasons. Reading these books will teach children what changes to expect as we move from one season to another as well. Plus, children will learn the scientific explanation for our different seasons and how seasons are related to the tilted axis of the earth.
The Reasons for Seasons by Gail Gibbons
I’m a huge fan of Gail Gibbons’s books that present scientific information in a straightforward and accessible way for young children. This book is no exception. It explains how the tilt of the Earth in relation to the sun creates the seasons we experience as the Earth revolves around the sun during the year. The book also provides additional information about each season, including when it starts and what some notable features of that season include. Ages 4-8.
I’m also a big fan of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out books authored by Franklyn M. Branley. This book begins by discussing the important role the sun plays in warming the earth. It also explains how the earth rotates on its axis to create day and night, and revolves around the sun to create the seasons of our year. The book then shows kids how to use a flashlight, pencil, and orange to make a model of the sun and earth showing the movement of the earth in relation to the sun. It explains how the tilt of the earth on its axis helps to create the seasons. Ages 4-8.
A Tree for All Seasons by Robin Bernard
This book from the National Geographic Society features beautiful photographs of a maple tree throughout the four seasons. In each season we see what the tree looks like and learn a bit about what is really going on up close. For example, in the winter the tree looks dead, but it has buds that will open when the weather warms up and it houses squirrels in its holes. Ages 3-8.
The Four Seasons by Suzanne Slade
This book goes through each of the four seasons and discusses signs of the season (such as thawing ground in spring or hotter temperatures in summer) and life during the season (such as the return of birds from their winter migration in spring and vegetable gardens bursting with produce in the summer). The book introduces quite a bit of new vocabulary and includes a glossary with definitions in the back. Ages 8-12.
Four Seasons Make a Year by Anne Rockwell
This story takes place on a farm. The brief descriptions coupled with wonderful images show clearly how life on the farm changes from season to season throughout an entire year. Ages 4-8.
Secrets of the Seasons: Orbiting the Sun in Our Backyard by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
In this book, Alice and her friend Zack notice changes that occur throughout the seasons, from fewer daylight hours in the fall and winter to the robins returning to the trees in spring. The book provides a scientific explanation for why we have seasons, discussing how the earth spins on its tilted axis while rotating around the sun. Ages 6-10.
All Around the Seasons by Barney Saltzberg
This sweet book uses rhyming text and bright, cheerful illustrations to talk about the various things one might expect to see happen during each of the four seasons. Ages 3-5.
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
This story follows a boy named Arnold and his apple tree. Young readers will see how the tree changes throughout the seasons, from bees collecting nectar in the spring to the first green fruit appearing in the summer to the apple harvest in the fall. In each season we also see Arnold enjoy his apple tree for other adventures such as making flower arrangements with the apple blossoms and building a tree house to relax in. Ages 4-7.
Curious George Discovers the Seasons by H. A. Rey
This book is set in wintertime, when Curious George notices that there are no leaves on the trees, the temperature is cold, and water will freeze if left outside for a while. While the book takes place during the wintertime, Curious George continuously compares his experiences in winter with his experiences during other seasons of the year. Ages 3-5.
Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit a Book of Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na
The title of this book is a bit misleading, since the book does not just focus on rabbits, but instead discusses what many different animals do during the winter. It mentions the various ways that animals respond to the arrival of winter, and then briefly mentions the arrival of spring in the end. While this is a cute story and it features seasons as a backdrop, other books are more appropriate for explaining the four seasons. Ages 3-5.