一片叶子落下来 The Fall of Freddie the Leaf is a beautiful, comforting story about finding purpose and accepting the seasons of life. This simple-appearing picture book has a deeper meaning that children and adults of all ages can appreciate, definitely a favorite for me and daughter.
I’ll first share our review of 一片叶子落下来 Fall of Freddie the Leaf, including my 6-year-old daughter’s perspective. Then I’ll show a few hands-on activities that we have done to supplement the reading.
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一片叶子落下来 (The Fall of Freddie the Leaf)
- Title: 一片叶子落下来 (The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages)
- Author: 利奥·巴斯卡利亚 (Leo Buscaglia)
- Age level: All ages (preferably 5+)
- Where to buy:
- English / ISBN: 9780943432892
- Audio Narration: You can hear this story in Mandarin Chinese on Ximalaya FM here!
- Compatible with Luka Reading Robot which has high-quality narration and encourages children to read books independently!
Unfortunately, the traditional Chinese version ISBN 9789578302785 is out of print, but I hope that you might be able to find a copy at the library or used book sales.
一片叶子落下来 The Fall of Freddie the Leaf – About the book
Freddie the leaf and his best friend, Daniel, enjoy the beauty of spring, summer, and autumn. They dance in the wind and enjoy the company of the elderly and children in the tree’s shade.
However, as winter approaches, the leaves experience cold and wind. They begin to fear the inevitable: the end of life when they fall to the snowy ground.
Freddie’s best friend, Daniel, says:
We all fear what we don’t know, Freddie. It’s natural, yet, you were not afraid when Spring became Summer. You were not afraid when Summer became Fall. They were natural changes. Why should you be afraid of the season of death?
Daniel is first to falls off the tree and says goodbye to Freddie with a smile. Freddie is the last leaf remaining on the tree and feels comfortable when he eventually lands in the snow.
Our review of Fall of Freddie the Leaf
Last year, I bought 一片叶子落下来 The Fall of Freddie the Leaf when my children attended their first family funeral.
Although the subject of grief and death can be difficult with children, this book is reassuring in a relatable and practical way.
Even the Chinese translation is well done, with a number of poetic idioms that we learned through the book.
Recently, my daughter chose this book for a 1st grade book report. Although she speaks English in school, she shared with her class that she’s read it in Chinese as well.
The photo below shows the summary she presented to her classmates.
Fall of Freddie the Leaf: Comparison of English and Chinese versions
I don’t normally have books in multiple languages, but this one was worth getting in both Chinese and English.
Please note that the cover is very different between these language versions. However, the images appear similar in both versions, consisting of a few simple leaf illustrations and photographs of real trees at different times of the year.
Our English version has nice, large font, but the Chinese version has very small font.
Neither language version has page numbers.
Images from 一片叶子落下来 (The Fall of Freddie the Leaf)
Fall of Freddie the Leaf Book-inspired activities
1. Character role play with nature leaves
Since the images are sparse mostly photos of trees, my daughter was not used to reading a book without distinct images of the protagonists. When we first read it when she was younger, she was so determined to figure out which leaves were Daniel and Freddie!
To understand the protagonists and their dialogue, we wrote the Chinese names of some of the main characters (Freddie, Daniel, and Claire) on the leaves. This was a hands-on way to bring Freddie, Daniel, and Claire to life.
While reading the story, we would use the leaves to identify who was speaking and how they felt. (I should have made Daniel the biggest leaf to reflect the story’s description…oops!)
2. Story shoebox diorama craft
For a 1st grade book report, my daughter created a shoebox diorama of her favorite scene in the book. She imagined the colorful leaves providing shade to children and the elderly!
While I would have preferred that my daughter use real leaves for the book diorama, she selected materials from around our house:
- Cardboard shoebox
- Blue acrylic paint (sky)
- Stiff green felt (grass)
- Toilet paper rolls (trees, branches)
- Red, orange, yellow scrap paper (leaves)
- 5/8″ Leaf punch
- Tacky glue
- Hape Asian dolls
LEAF & NATURE ACTIVITY INSPIRATION
一片叶子落下来 (The Fall of Freddie the Leaf) reminded me of a conversation on Instagram between 2 of my favorite bloggers:
Happy Tot Shelf: (In reference to a framed nature leaf display) “Love this! How did you get the leaves to maintain their lovely colors?”
Mother Natured: “They haven’t, they’re fading. Slowly but they are. Eventually they will go brown. I’m fine with that though. I love that it changes every day. It’s important to me that they eventually biodegrade too. Everything in nature comes to an end.”
OTHER CHINESE CHILDREN’S BOOKS ABOUT DEATH AND BEREAVEMENT
- 最亲爱的奶奶 (Dearest Grandma) – A child says goodbye to her beloved grandmother
- 满月 (Full Moon) – A story about a young orphan who is loved by her adopted family
- 我永远爱你 (I Will Always Love You) – A child grows and bonds with his pet dog until he passes away
BOOKS ABOUT TREES AND AUTUMN
Chinese audiobooks for kids
For free Chinese audiobooks for children, check out:
- Free Chinese Audiobooks for Children on Ximalaya 喜马拉雅
- How to Use Ximalaya FM When You Can’t Read Chinese