Nonfiction Monday: Fall Into Leaves


Nonfiction Monday Participants:  Go ahead and “leave”  your links in the comments today.

I admit it, I love fall. The colors, shapes and textures of the different tree leaves motivate me to do art projects. Here are two books to use as jumping off points for fall leaf art activities.


Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors (Smart About Art) is a fun place to find ideas for a leaf collage art project. Jane O’Connor has summed up Henri Matisse’s life and art in a short, sweet and kid-friendly manner.  She explains Henri Matisse started doing paper collage when an illness left him too weak to stand up. He had assistants who painted the paper for him. He cut the shapes and then his assistants arranged the cutouts according to his instructions. When he was happy with the arrangement, the pieces were glued down. Take a look at La Gerbe by Henri Matisse, a copy of which is included in the book. Couldn’t that be a gorgeous swirl of fall leaves?

Activity:  Gather leaves with interesting shapes and/or show pictures of leaves. As a shortcut, provide colorful construction paper, although it might be fun to have the children paint their own paper (envision Eric Carle). Then it is time to do some “Drawing With Scissors.” Cut out leaf shapes. If appropriate, you can tie in the concept of symmetry. Arrange the leaf shapes on a larger piece of paper and glue down, or decorate a wall or window. Or they can use their leaves for the activity below.

leaf-manLeaf Man by Lois Ehlert is inspiring because the author is such a wonderful artist herself. In this book, we see leaf shapes with added plant materials that form a funny leaf man. When the wind comes up, who knows where the leaf man is going to go.

Activity:  Use actual leaves or the leaf shapes cut out in the above activity to create a self-portrait or maybe even a leaf animal. Gather some acorns, nuts or seeds to add as features. If you use real leaves, it will probably work better to dry them first in a plant press.

We’ve got a great turnout for the Nonfiction Monday roundup this week. Let’s see what everyone is reading and recommending.

Amanda at A Patchwork of Books found it is wise to Never Smile at a Monkey.

At In Need of Chocolate, Sarah discovered What Makes A Magnet? is another fine title in the Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science series.

Let’s welcome back Abby at Abby (the) Librarian, who reviewed several nonfiction books.

Where did our Halloween traditions and stories come from?  Great Kid Books looks at two interesting books for children ages 6 – 10.

At Lori Calabrese Writes! Lori reviews S.D. Nelson’s “Quiet Hero: The Ira Hayes Story.”

Shirley at SimplyScience has reviewed The WEE Book of PEE in memory of her father.

Amy says  My Light by Molly Bang shines at Hope is the Word.

The Wild About Nature blog has a review of Shrinking Days, Frosty Nights. As an added bonus, they also have an interview with the author, Laura Purdie Salas.

Jill is in today with James L. Swanson’s Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. Check it out at The Well-Read Child.

Let’s welcome Doret at The Happy Nappy Bookseller, who reviewed a biography, The Other Mozart: The Life of the Famous Chevalier de Saint- George.

Picture Book of the Day is reading Mighty MotoXers , and giving some suggestions for X-Game lessons.

Robin reviewed Winter’s Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again at Thebooknosher.

Tricia checked in today with a review of Don Brown’s historical book Let It Begin Here!: April 19, 1775, The Day the American Revolution Began at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Bookends has found two cool books and an audio story to tie into the PBS National Parks series.

Over at the The Stenhouse Blog, Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli review books that take kids to the Moon and beyond!

Freaky at 3T News and Reviews has a post about the Fantasy Chronicles from Lerner on mythical creatures, just in time for Halloween.

Dawn  reviewed Amazing Ben Franklin Inventions You Can Build Yourself, by Carmella Van Vleet, at Moms Inspire Learning.

Today Charlotte has How to Be a Genius: Your Brain and How to Train It at Charlotte’s Library.

Jenny writes about the verse biography I and I: Boy Marley at Biblio File. The book has been nominated for a Cybils award.

Wendie Old listed a few of her (many) favorite Nonfiction Halloween books at Wendie’s Wanderings.

Katie says  that today’s the anniversary of the completion of the Erie Canal! That’s what her post focuses on at Katie’s Literature Lounge.

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. For more information, stop by Picture Book of the Day.


If you are looking for scientific activities with tree leaves, try my Growing With Science blog.

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