Written by Meagan Ruffing; Photo: Fotolia.com
No doubt, reading with your kids is a great activity at any time of year. But for those who dwell in northern climes, the combination of a snuggly blanket, a cup of cocoa, and a good book is often pure magic. Kelly Harrison, bookstore owner and mother of two teens says, “Winter provides a good excuse for families to snuggle up close and read together. The days get dark early, and kids will often curl up and read the afternoon away.” So between stints of sledding, skating, and throwing snowballs, settle into your sofa cushions and share a story. Here are some suggestions with wintry appeal.
For the littlest munchkins (age 2 to 5):
- No Two Alike by Keith Baker. “No two snowflakes are alike, almost, almost… but not quite.” Two lively red birds flutter and spin through a snowy landscape. As they come across pairs of animals, tracks, and trees, they find that each is unique.
- The Mole Sisters and the Way Home by Roslyn Schwartz. The ever-curious and philosophical Mole Sisters find magical fun in an unexpected snowfall. Soft-focus illustrations delightfully render their adventures as they build snow moles, explore a cave, and take a quiet walk home.
- Red is Best by Kathy Stinson. A strong-willed little girl tells her exasperated mother why no other color will do. Red mittens make better snowballs! She jumps higher in red socks! A true-to-life preschooler’s opinion piece.
- The Thing About Yetis by Vin Vogel. Just like kids, yetis love winter: snowball fights, “sliding down hills on their bottoms,” and cocoa with a favorite stuffed animal. But yetis get cold and crabby too. The solution? Remember the sunlight, sand castles, and slip-n-slides of summer.
For younger elementary kids (age 5 to 8):
- The Snow Rabbit by Camille Garoche. Enchanting illustrations tell the wordless fantasy of a snow rabbit created by two sisters. As the story unfolds, the creature grows and transports them through a beautiful eerie winter forest... and home again.
- Perfect Snow by Barbara Reid. Jim and Scott’s big plans for the perfect new snow, can hardly wait for recess. But when they’re engulfed by a “crazy twister of kids” on the playground, the boys realize they’ll need everyone to make the “World’s Greatest Totally Massive Snowman Fort.”
- Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay by Peter Cumming. A little girl wanders onto the arctic ice and meets a polar bear cub to play with. Tension mounts as the parents (human and bear) find each other while searching for their missing children. A sweet tale of innocence, discovery, and friendship.
- Snow by Sam Usher. Eager to play in the new fallen snow, a boy waits impatiently for his grandfather to get ready. More and more people leave tracks as they walk by his house, and vibrant illustrations highlight the boy’s increasing restlessness. The end scene neighborhood snowball fight, complete with zoo animals, is a fitting conclusion.
Chapter books for upper elementary kids (age 8 to 12):
- The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel. This action-packed novel follows Will in his quest to save a trainload of riches from thieves, weaving history, fantasy, and folklore to tell his tale. The Boundless, the longest and most magnificent train ever built, thunders across Canada on her maiden voyage, and Will meets circus performers, villains, and a sasquatch. But whom can he trust? And will he survive the journey?
- The Adventures of a South Pole Pig: A Novel of Snow and Courage by Chris Kurtz. Flora the pig sets out for Antarctica to fulfill her dreams of becoming a sled pig. As she says to her ever-cautious mom, “If it’s unexplored, then it needs to get dug up.” But will her adventurous heart and nose for discovery put her in jeopardy when some see her more as ham than heroine?
More Books, More Worlds to Visit!
Looking for a book?
Monkeyshines Children’s Books
Provides lists of recommended books for kids of all ages: monkeyshinesbooks.com
Owl’s Nest Books
Sponsors book groups and readings for kids: owlsnestbooks.com
Tots and preschoolers (age 2 to 5):
- Flannel Kisses by Linda Crotta Brennan
- Snowy Bear by Tony Mitton
- Z is for Zamboni by Matt Napier
- Tracks in the Snow by Wong Herbert Yee
Younger elementary (age 5 to 8):
- Peter and the Winter Sleepers by Rick de Haas
- Winter Trees by Carole Gerber
- Outside by Deirdre Gill
- Hockey Morning, Noon, and Night by Doretta Groenendyk
- The Snowy Day by Anna Milbourne
- 50 Below Zero by Robert Munsch
- The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever by Rebecca Rule
- Winter Break Wipeout by Gilles Tibo
Upper elementary (age 8 to 12):
- Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
- The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson
- Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson
- Alone: A Winter in the Woods by Felicity Sidnell Reid
- Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Nonfiction Choices: Learn More About Snow
- All About Winter Weather by Kathryn Clay
- Sizing Up Winter (Math in Nature series) by Lizann Flatt
- It’s Snowing by Gail Gibbons
- The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes by Kenneth Libbrecht
- Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
- The Cool Story Behind Snow by Joe Rao
- A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison by Margriet Ruurs
- Curious About Snow by Gina Shaw
Ashley is a freelance writer, and a mother of two boys.