Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Why Do Leaves Change Color?


Why Do Leaves Change Color?, written by Betsy Maestro and illustrated by Loretta Krupinski, takes a fascinating look at why leaves change color and exactly what color a specific leaf will be in the fall.  Maestro thoroughly explains what process a leaf takes, beginning as a bud in the spring, through it’s journey to become a beautiful part of fall foliage.  She allows children to observe what various leaves will look like in the fall and how we can tell what color a leaf will become.  The science of physical properties and observation are heavily emphasized in this wonderful children’s book.  There are also a few wonderful activities in the back of the book along with a list of places where fall foliage can be seen at it’s best!

Curriculum Connections
Why Do Leaves Change Color?
could be used during an observation lesson on fall leaves and their characteristics.  Children could learn the physical properties of the life cycle of a leaf and then observe what various leaves look like once they have changed colors for the fall (1.1).  They also learn that no two leaves are the same.  Characteristics of deciduous leaves (1.4) and plant life cycles are discussed (1.7)  (Virginia SOL’s 1.1, 1.4, 1.7)

Additional Resources

  • Why Do Autumn Leaves Change Color? – Lesson plan that is labeled:  “Give children hands-on experience collecting, preserving, identifying, and examining leaves to deepen their understanding of how and why leaves change color in the fall.”
  • Falling Leaves – A science experiment with a nature walk and a leaf graphing worksheet.

Book: Why Do Leaves Change Color?
Author: Betsy Maestro
Illustrator: Loretta Krupinski
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 1994
Pages:  32 pages
Grade Range:  1-3
ISBN:  0-06-022873-3

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