Here are some of our favorite children’s picture books about winter. I’ll have a separate posts with books specifically about snow and snowflakes and arctic animals.
Winter Trees by Carole Gerber and Leslie Evans (3+): Striking graphic illustrations accented with mat silver accompany poetic descriptions of the silhouettes of trees in the winter. The jaunty rhyming text transforms the commonplace into the magical. Read this future classic, suitable for preschoolers through elementary school, and then head outside on a crisp day on your own winter’s stroll with your child.
Winter White, by Joanne Ryder (4+): Winter White is a classic trickster tale with the feel of a Native American legend. I recommend the book for picture book readers with longer attention spans. A year after we borrowed this book from the library, my kids noticed its absence from our cache of winter books. So, I’ve purchased our own copy to keep.
Snow Party, by Harriet Ziefert: A sweet and magical celebration of winter. We love the idea of seasonal creatures that take form on just one special night each year–just to vanish after their festival leaving almost no trace. The kids have fun looking for signs of these gatherings.
Sun Bread, by Elisa Kleven: We found this book after seeing the sun bread baked by Amy of Crunchy Domestic Goddess and can’t wait to make our own based on the recipe on the back cover. It is very cute the way the animals are all getting cabin fever but coming together as a community to bake the bread brings joy and light back to their world.
Winter Is the Warmest Season, by Lauren Stringer: A fresh take on the winter that encourages families to enjoy the slower pace of the season. My children enjoyed snuggling as we read about hot cocoa, cozy blankets, crackling fires, snuggly cats, and all the other warm joys of winter.
The Mitten, by Jan Brett: You may be familiar with this classic tale of the dropped mitten that becomes a home to various woodland creatures. The illustrations by Jan Brett make this edition extra special.
The Story of the Snow Children, by Sibylle Von Olfers: In this charming tale, the snow children take a little girl to the Ice Princess’s birthday celebration. The illustrations are delightfully old-fashioned and perfect for sparking imaginative play. As a parent, I also like that the young girl grows tired at the end is happy to return to see her mom and share tales of her adventure.
When Winter Comes, by Nancy Van Laan: A series of rhyming questions ask where our animal friends go during the winter. The answers, also shared in rhyme, are on the next page so children may guess, first. In each two-page illustration, the parents point out signs of animals migrating, snuggling, or migrating.
Winter Lullaby, by Barbara Seulling: Similar to When Winter Comes, this book asks where various animals go in the winter and the answer is presented in rhyming couplets. The text is a little more simple in this book and the illustrations crisper and more naturalistic.
The Big Snow, by Berta and Elmer Hader: The animals of the forest sense that winter is coming and chatter about their preparations. When a big snow comes, the animals must search harder for food. So, they are grateful for the food a couple shares with them. This gentle tale touches upon the science of migration and hibernation, explains how some animals continue to find food in the winter, and encourages people to treat animals with kindness. The illustrations remind me of 1950s decorative artwork.
Katy and the Big Snow Book, by Virginia Lee Burton: Capable and determined Katy digs Geoppolis out of a snow storm of epic proportions in the tale first published in 1943. My kids find the story exciting each time and I appreciate that Katy (K.T.) is a tractor with a female name. Illustrations showing Katy’s progress and make for good map-reading practice, too!
Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic: For each letter of the alphabet, a wintry word is chosen to form the spine of an acrostic. Acrostics are great fun for budding writers and your child may be inspired to create a few of his own!
Animals in Winter (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1): We love the vivid illustrations of this non-fiction picture book. The text is manageable for my preschooler but there is plenty of science to discuss with my kindergartner.
The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice, by Wendy Pfeffer: This book describes the ways people in other times and cultures have celebrated the Winter Solstice. There are fun experiments and activities for children, as well.
The Winter Solstice, by Ellen Jackson: A non-fiction summary of winter solstice celebrations throughout the ancient world. The text is accessible and draws nice parallels between the festivals of the past and present. In a few cases, the festivals are unnamed, a strange omission. There is a short Cherokee folktale at the end. My kids really enjoyed hearing about all the traditions and talking about the symbolic importance of light, evergreens, and being with friends and family.