We are excited to be hosting STEM Friday this week, a celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books for children. The theme is STEM books for autumn, so be sure to click through the link and check it out.


A wonderful new book to introduce youngsters to the changes that occur in fall is Awesome Autumn by photographer Bruce Goldstone.

Fall is more than simply leaves changing color, it is about getting ready for winter. Goldstone takes us through the how and and why leaves change color, of course, but then ventures on to also talk about the fall migrations and hibernation. At the end are instructions for fall activities such as roasting pumpkin seeds. If you are ready to jump into a pile of colorful autumn leaves, then you are ready for this book!

Edit: Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Activities inspired by Awesome Autumn:

How animals prepare for winter

1. Winter in temperate climates often means freezing temperatures and snow. The food for many types of animals becomes scarce. Some birds and butterflies, like the monarchs, are known to fly south in the fall to places that are warmer and/or have more food. This is called a seasonal migration.

Opportunities to study migration:

Journey North is a citizen science project targeting seasonal changes and migration of animals like whales, hummingbirds and robins.

The middle grade level book Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Philip Hoose is about a tiny shorebird commonly called a red knot that makes extremely long migrations. In the Appendix of the book, Hoose lists a number of child-friendly organizations and projects that welcome participation and promote education about birds and conservation issues.

Monarch Watch has extensive programs for tagging and monitoring monarchs on their migrations.

The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology also has educational and citizen science opportunities for studying birds.

2. Other animals eat a lot and build up layers of fat to get ready for spending the winter holed up underground, called hibernation.

The layers of fat serve two purposes. First, the fats are energy reserves that the animal uses to survive long periods without food. Second, the layers of fat insulate the animal against the cold.


  • Disposable gloves or a plastic sandwich bag
  • Bowl deep enough to place hands in without overflowing
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Vegetable shortening

Fill the bowl half way with ice and just cover the ice with water. Put the disposable glove or plastic bag over your hand and briefly plunge it into the ice water. Think about how it feels. Generously grease the outside of the glove or bag with shortening and put it back on your hand. Stick your covered hand back in the ice water. Does it feel the same as before?

3. See a previous post: Where do insects go in winter?

There are many ways to investigate science in autumn. Why not use Awesome Autumn by Bruce Goldstone and the other books recommended at STEM Friday as a jumping off place?

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (August 7, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0805092102
ISBN-13: 978-0805092103

Disclosures: The book was from our local library. Also, I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.