The Best Books of Autumn

by | Oct 3, 2018 | Books, Reading | 6 comments

Following up in my post last summer called The Best Books of Summer, I’ve compiled a list of eight children’s/YA books that feel perfect for autumn, with the crisp days, drizzly rain, and apples galore. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

Depend on Katie John by Mary Calhoun
All of the marvelous Katie John books take place at least partially in the autumn, but this one feels the most like fall to me! Chronicling Katie’s experiences living in a crowded and chaotic boarding house, this sweet novel focuses on the importance of friendship and community. Definitely one of my childhood favorites!

Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace
I’ve already sung the praises of the Betsy-Tacy series on my blog, but today I’m highlighting the first high school book—probably my favorite in the whole series, and an ideal back-to-school story. Maud’s evocative descriptions of Midwestern Septembers and Octobers are such a treat to read! Betsy’s attempts to capture the attention of a certain Tall Dark Stranger only lead to heartache—but it’s a delightfully warm and funny story.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
A Newbery Honor winner in 2006, Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy is the first of a three-book series—but the original is definitely the best! This gorgeous fairy-tale has some of the most brilliant metaphors I’ve ever read.

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
The second in the beloved Penderwicks series, this novel is masterfully crafted; full of witty characterization and well-woven subplots. Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty Penderwick are four sisters who are perfectly content with life—until their widowed father decides to begin dating again! The ensuing hilarity always makes me smile.

Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery
Written partially as an epistolary novel, the fourth book in LMM’s immortal Anne series was actually one of the last of the series to be written (it was published in 1936). This lighthearted story depicts Anne’s three years as principal of Summerside High School, written in a pleasant episodic style and brimming with lovable characters.

Beany Malone by Lenora Mattingly Weber
I recently read this book for the first time—it’s a charming family story set at the end of World War II, and absolutely perfect for fall reading! I’ve read three books in the Beany Malone series now, and I’m eager to read more!

Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright
I just reread this one—it’s divine. Sprinkled with riddles and treasure hunts and humor, the fourth and final book in the Melendy Quartet is a splendid fall read, as much of the book takes place as the leaves change color and languid sunny days transition to cozy, rainy ones. Being a genealogist, I also love this book for its descriptions of lovely old rural cemeteries. J

The Haunted Attic by Margaret Sutton
The second volume of the Judy Bolton mystery series, The Haunted Attic (1932) is one of my favorites of the mysteries. Judy’s fascinating investigation into the strange noises she hears from the attic make for a gripping story with a heartwarming ending.


  1. Jennifer D-K

    Wonderful list!! I especially appreciate the shout-out to Judy Bolton, who’s lesser-known than her sister detectives Nancy and Trixie, and “Windy Poplars,” another less-popular book in the Anne canon, but one I especially enjoy. I will look for “Princess Academy” immediately! And I can’t think of anything better to do this weekend than hunker down with some hot cider and this pile of books. What bliss!!!

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Thanks so much for your reply, Jennifer! Judy Bolton is definitely my favorite vintage mystery series 🙂 “Princess Academy” is a beautifully-written book, although quite different than the others on the list! The characters are so much fun. Happy reading!!

  2. Linda Sherwood

    Windy Poplars is also one of my favourite Anne books. I also like the Beany and Betsy books

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Agreed, Linda! I can’t wait to ready the next Beany book 🙂

  3. Marion

    Anna I love your book list. I have read The Betsy-Tacy books,Anne Of Green Gables books and have Judy Bolton books. Have you ever read the Pat series by Lucy Maud Montgomery books.? They are my favorite ones by LMM.

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Thanks for your comment, Marion! I absolutely love the Pat series! I’m actually planning to do a blog post featuring them soon 🙂


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