As someone who didn’t grow up seeing much snow, I’m prone to romanticizing winter and chilly locales. Okay, maybe quite a bit. Please forgive me if my list of winter novels for kids is a little skewed in that regard. When I think of snow, I see calm streets buried in gorgeous, fluffy white powder, always on a day when all you want to do is sit by a fire and read. (Of course, what else would you do in front of a roaring fire?) Unfortunately, that may not be the reality of living in a snowy environment, but there’s no harm in fantasizing about it.
I appreciate conjuring up those nice mental images by reading about winter and snowy regions now that I live in a place where snow has to be manufactured inside if it is to stay frozen at any time of year. Where I live, there is no crackling fire, but I can still enjoy a wintery environment without needing to add clothes or pull out my winter gloves, which I typically keep stashed in a drawer. Here are a few titles to add to your regular reading rotation if you’re looking for winter children’s books wherever you are in the world.
First Snow by Bomi Park
Park’s book is an excellent addition to your library of winter books for babies and toddlers. It has the same type of ethereal calm that I associate with a leisurely first snowfall when you have nowhere to go. Her graphics offer layers of depth and depict elaborate surroundings without overpowering the story’s tiny central figure.
Baby Penguin Finger Puppet Book by Chronicle Books and Illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Huang
The Baby Penguin finger puppet book by Huang is lovely and will appeal to both children and adults. You may follow baby penguin as she goes about her daily routine, complete with a plush puppet to add to the enjoyment as she cuddles up to her mama or peeps “Good morning!” You might also enjoy Huang’s other infant animal books, such as Baby Bear Finger Puppet or Five Little Ducks.
Soup Day by Melissa Iwai
Soup Day follows a small girl and her mother as they select out vegetables and cut them all up to make a wonderful soup to warm up with on a snowy day. While they wait for the soup to cook, they play, Mom adds spices and lets the young girl choose the noodles, and then they enjoy it with Daddy. At the end, there’s a recipe for “Snowy Day Vegetable Soup.”
The Last Marshmallow by Grace Lin
Grace and Mei have a serious issue: it’s freezing outdoors, and they only have two cups of cocoa. This appears to be a straightforward task. They do, however, have three marshmallows, which is one more than their cocoa cups. So, who gets the last and most essential marshmallow? As you might expect, the buddies split it evenly, and towards the end of the book, everyone is happy. I wish there were more things in life that were as simple and enjoyable!
Mouse’s First Snow by Lauren Thompson and Illustrated by Buket Erdogan
Poppa and Mouse go out to celebrate Mouse’s first snow by ice skating, making snow angels, sledding, and sculpting a small mouse twin out of the snow. This is a rhyming book with easy vocabulary that will appeal to young readers.
Little Owl’s Snow by Divya Srinivasan
This includes a sweet, attentive little owl that recognizes the seasons changing and watches his buddies, Bear and Raccoon, prepare for the winter. Despite the fact that this is a book about autumn and winter, it nevertheless manages to have a vibrant presentation that many readers will like.
Can Bears Ski? By Raymond Antrobus and Illustrated by Polly Dunbar
This is the first book that comes to me when I think about winter literature for youngsters. It contains a panel with Little Bear peering out the window at snow falling, and all it says at the bottom is “Shhhhh!” Little Bear has the impression that everyone around him is asking him, “Can Bears Ski?” He begins hearing therapy and lip-reading after seeing an audiologist. He also receives hearing aides, which alter his perception of the world in new ways. The image of Little Bear and the gentle falling snow particularly remained with me because this narrative is about listening and vibration. I enjoy reading this book over and over again, and I strongly advise you to purchase a copy.
Tracks in the Snow by Wong Herbert Yee
This is fantastic for all readers, but especially for those who have never experienced much snow. They may be unaware that when people or animals walk in the snow, footprints and other traces are left behind. Outside her window, the small girl in the story notices tracks and wonders who made them. She makes the decision to investigate these tracks. What will she discover? Who left these footprints, and where will they lead her?
A Coyote Solstice Tale by Thomas King and illustrated by Gary Clement
The American Indian Youth Literature Award was given to this work in 2010. Coyote’s anticipated feast with friends is abruptly disrupted by a tiny girl in this rhyming book. The animal pals get together to help the girl get back to where she belongs. They gain a better understanding of how humans live as a result of their efforts.
Cold and Hot by Jacqueline Sweeney and Illustrated by Anna Rich
This is a sweet story about a young child whose family simply wants him to be warm outside, so they make sure he is dressed appropriately. This appears to be a wonderful idea until he finds that all of his extra clothing are making him too hot. Definitely a fantastic pick for young children who will be able to relate to the simple language and situation of carefully dressed for a trip out in the snow.
Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper and Illustrated by Kenard Pak
Lina, the main character of this story, wakes up to a calm day of snow. Even though the city is eerily silent, she knows it’s werak anab (or grape leaf) day with her sitti (grandmother), so she goes out to pay her a visit. This was a fun novel to read, and the visuals were fantastic. If you appreciate Kenard Pak’s art, you should look into his book Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter or his illustration for Maui-based writer Ilima Loomis’ ‘Ohana Means Family (who is sadly no relation of mine as far as I know).
Thunder and the Noise Storms by Jeffrey Ansloos and Shezza Ansloos and illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley
Thunder, the primary character, is extremely sensitive to sounds and disturbances. Thunder’s grandfather helps him handle some of the sounds around him in a less stressful way without mentioning any specific cause of his sensitivity. Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley, an Ojibwe artist, created beautiful pictures for the story.
Barn at Night by Michelle Houts and illustrated by Jen Betton
In this lovely story of a wintery night on a farm, a father and daughter go out to the barn at night to observe who is awake and who is just emerging. The watercolor pictures, which depict not only the setting but also the animals that make up this universe, are accompanied by a simple narrative.
Little Moar and the Moon by Roselynn Akulukjuk and illustrated by Jazmine Gubbe
In the Arctic Circle, little Moar has fun with his friends. He discovers that he is terrified of the scary half-smile he believes he sees on the moon, and attempts to get home before it rises. However, there are plenty of fun things to do before winter arrives, so readers will have to wait and see if he makes it home in time.
Snow Song by A. K. Riley and illustrated by Dawn Lo
A book that gives a basic overview of different types of snowfall and how to enjoy it. There are several scenes of happy children playing and dawdling in the snow, which will appeal to younger readers in particular.
Santa in the City by Tiffany D. Jackson and illustrated by Reggie Brown
Obviously, it’s a Christmas book: Deja is looking forward to Santa’s annual visit and is counting down the days. Her companions, on the other hand, are skeptical about Santa’s existence, so Deja sets herself the task of remaining awake until he arrives.
If you enjoy this, you should read some of Jackson’s award-winning YA novels, such as Monday’s Not Coming and Grown.
The Real Santa by Nancy Redd and illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
This is for any readers who are truly Santa-obsessed (that’s a thing, right?). Another Christmas book for those who like the holiday, this is for any readers who are completely Santa-obsessed (that’s a thing, right?). The charming family in this book has a lot of heartwarming customs, such as sharing hot cocoa and having the grandparents stay for Christmas Eve.
If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy Redd’s Bedtime Bonnet as well.
Olwen Finds Her Wings by Nora Surojegin and illustrated by Pirkko-Liisa Surojegin
Nora Surojegin and Pirkko-Liisa Surojegin, a Finnish mother and daughter team, have created a wonderful picture book. Olwen is a newborn owl that is dissatisfied with her little size. She wishes to move like her other animal pals, but instead of imitating them, she will realize that she possesses a unique talent.
If you enjoy this, the authors have also published a Christmas novel, Otto and the Secret Light of Christmas, which includes elves, fairies, and a Lapland adventure.