Given that we live in a climate so mild that our girls talk about “going to winter” rather than winter being an actual season they experience at home, we tend to wait till after the holiday season to bust out winter books. It’s not like we need to read snow books while we celebrate the first snow or anything like that… But, since today is the first official day of winter, I figured I’d celebrate by sharing some of our favorite books about winter and snow with you!
Now, you may look at this list and wonder why some classic wintery favorites didn’t make the list… Have no fear, they’re definitely going to have space on our beloved front-facing bookshelf after the new year! But, I’m guessing most of you already know of (and hopefully love!) Owl Moon, The Mitten, The Snowman, and The Snowy Day. (Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright is such a favorite in our house that my girls can recite most of it even though we haven’t read it since last January, but I’m not sure I’d classify it as a classic like the afore-mentioned books). So, here are some of our current favorite wintery reads that you might not know:
bunny slopes written and illustrated by Claudia Rueda– This is an incredibly fun interactive book! Readers are asked to shake the book to make it snow, tilt the book to get the bunny going down the slopes, and more!
First Snow written and illustrated by Peter McCarty– Since snow is a relatively foreign concept to my girls (we have “gone to the winter” twice, but still…), we love reading about how Pedro experiences snow for the first time.
Before Morning written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes– Admittedly, this one makes the list more because of how much I love it than the girls’ interest in it. I always enjoy Krommes’s illustrations, and this tender invocation (with a little author’s note about wishes and invocations at the back) about slowing down gets me every time.
Bear and Wolf written and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri– Soft mixed-media illustrations perfect for the season, the kind and friendly sides of animals often depicted as scary and mean, and a bit of information about animals’ behaviors during the winter… So much to love about this one!
Blizzard written and illustrated by John Rocco– A story based on Rocco’s own experience as a 10-year-old during a blizzard, the humor and kindness mixed throughout the story make this one to revisit again and again. Be sure to check out the double-page-spread to see the path Rocco took from his house to the store!
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love written by Michelle Edwards, illustrated by G. Brian Karas– A lovely wintery story of kindness multiplying and returning ten-fold! If you know how to knit, there are even directions at the back so that you can make your own “Sophia hat!”
Bear’s Winter Party written by Deborah Hodge, illustrated by Lisa Cinar– Though this was published in 2016, I didn’t know it until a few weeks ago… and it landed very high on my list of favorite snowy stories! You get to follow Bear on a journey to make friends before he settles down for a long winter’s nap, and it’s written so well that you really feel as if you’re right by Bear’s side. And these illustrations are so unique!
Snow Sisters! Two Sisters, One Snowy Day written by Kerri Kokias, illustrated by Teagan White– A friend recommended this one to me, and it’s indeed delightful. I’m certainly biased because of having two daughters myself, but I could definitely see my own girls and their widely different personalities in these two girls! For anyone who actually does live somewhere snowy, this could also be a neat way to ignite interest in new and different snow-day activities.
Bear Can’t Sleep written by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman– You probably already know Bear Snores On by the same duo (also a great winter story, by the way!). Their newest Bear book, Bear Can’t Sleep, tells the story of how Bear can’t fall asleep at the beginning of winter and how sweetly his friends worry about him and help him.
Samson in the Snow written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead– I just love Stead’s books… And this tender story of a gigantic wooly mammoth who makes friends with a little red bird and a tiny mouse is just as delightful as so many of his other sweet friendship stories!
Bear Has a Story to Tell written by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead– I told you I love Stead’s books, and my favorites are always the ones his wife illustrates (hello, A Sick Day for Amos McGee!). Bear may be one of the kindest, most selfless friends that I’ve found in any picture book. I also love that this “winter book” isn’t too, too wintery that it can be enjoyed year-round.
(Did anyone else notice that there are a lot of wonderful winter books featuring Bear as a main character…?)
What are your favorite wintery, snowy reads? How do you use books to usher in a new season with your children?