When it is cold outside,
find a warm place indoors and curl up with a good book!
Blades, Ann. Mary of Mile 18. Tundra Books, 1971.
Brouwer, Sigmund. Winter Hawk Star. Orca Book Publishers, 2007.
Brooke, Lauren. A Winter’s Gift. Scholastic, 2007.
Bunting, Eve. The In-between Days. Harper Trophy, 1996.
Claire, Céline. Shelter. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2017.
A winter storm is on the way and all the animals are preparing. Gathering wood. Gathering food. Snuggling safely inside their homes. All except two strangers, who are wandering in the snow, seeking shelter. Who will help them? And how do they return that kindness? This beautifully written story – illustrated by Qin Leng – is warmly recommended for readers 5 to 11 years old.
Cordell, Matthew. Cornbread and Poppy. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2022.
Best friends – at least in stories – are often unalike. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. George and Martha by James Marshall. Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley. Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake. Cornbread and Poppy are also completely unalike. Cornbread has prepared for winter: food is harvested, preserved, and put away for the coming months. Poppy hasn’t. She has spent her time playing. But now the cold weather has arrived and she is not prepared. What should Cornbread do? Well, help her, of course. So the two little mice set off for Holler Mountain to forage for food for Poppy. And what an adventure! This 80-page little chapter book is perfect for readers ready for longer stories and for teachers ready to introduce literary elements to their students. Happily recommended!
Doyle, Brian. Spud in Winter. Groundwood Books, 2006, c1995.
Enright, Elizabeth. Spiderweb for Two. Square Fish, 2008.
Hader, Berta and Elmer. The Big Snow. Aladdin Books, 1948.
Hill, Kirkpatrick. Winter Camp. Puffin Books, 1995.
Hobbs, Will. Beardance. Aladdin Paperbacks, 2004, c1993.
Hobbs, Will. Far North. Avon Camelot, 1996.
Hopkinson, Deborah. The Story of a Story. New York: Holiday House, 2021.
Do you ever get stuck when you are trying to write a story or an essay or even a short paragraph? You might have ideas but how do you find the right words? Should you keep trying or simply give up and walk away? This beautifully designed picture book humorously presents the dilemma and offers a straight-forward solution. At the end, an outline is provided for readers ready to write their own story. Recommended without reservations for writers of all ages.
Jacques, Brian. A Redwall Winter’s Tale. Philomel, 2001.
Keats, Ezra Jack. The Snowy Day. Viking Press, 1962.
Kerr, Philip. The Winter Horses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Kalinka, a Jewish orphan girl, hides from Nazi soldiers during the winter of 1941. On the wind-blown plains of the Ukraine, she meets an elderly man and two wild horses who help her flee from danger. This fascinating story of the rare Przewalski horses will intrigue readers who enjoy historical fiction. While the novel is somewhat awkwardly written – as if the author is explaining the story rather than letting it come to life – it nevertheless provides a unique perspective on World War 2 and so is recommended for readers 11 to 16 years of age.
Kjelgaard, Jim. Snow Dog. Random House, 1980.
Lionni, Leo. A Busy Year. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021.
Two mice – twins – befriend a tree on the first day of a new year. Every month – as the seasons change – they visit her and care for her until it is winter once again. A charming board book – with a humorous Christmas surprise at the end – recommended for children 4 to 8 years old.
Lionni, Leo. Frederick. A.A. Knopf, 1995, c1967.
Little, Jean. Dancing Through the Snow. Scholastic, 2007.
Lo, Richard. After the Snowfall. Guilford, Connecticut: Muddy Boots, 2021.
A fox, eyes and ears alert, quietly walks through a snowy forest. He passes the ducks and river otters, a moose, the rabbits, and the crows, before returning to his family waiting in their den. An absolutely gorgeous picture book, beautifully designed with only a few words – in a gracefully simple font – on each page. Most highly recommended for young readers and artists of all ages.
MacGregor, Roy. Murder at the Winter Games. M&S Paperback Original, 2004.
Maclachlan, Patricia. The Poet’s Dog. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2016.
Are we really loved? Will will be remembered when we’re gone? Who will save us when we’re lost?
This short easy-to-read novel told from the point of view of an Irish wolfhound portrays the abiding bond between people and animals. It demonstrates the power of poetry and the mysterious connections that carry us through hardships. A philosophical novella highly recommended for readers and listeners 6 years old and up. [Blizzards; Brothers and sisters; Dogs Grief; Human-animal relationships; Loss (Psychological); Poets]
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Blizzard’s Wake. Scholastic, 2002.
Nuzum, K.A. The Leanin’ Dog. Joanna Cotler Books, 2008.
Oral, Feridun. A Warm Winter. Hong Kong: Michael Neugebauer Publishing, 2016, c2015.
Little Mouse needs more firewood to warm his nest. But he’s not strong enough to pull the pile of sticks back home. Maybe some friends can help? This heartwarming picture book from Turkey – translated into English – will delight readers and listeners up to 9 years of age.
Paulsen, Gary. Brian’s Winter. Laurel-Leaf Books. 1996.
Paulsen, Gary. How Angel Peterson Got His Name: And Other Outrageous Tales about Extreme Sports. Dell Yearling, 2004, c2003.
Paulsen, Gary. Woodsong. Aladdin Paperbacks, 2007, c1990.
Pausewang, Gudrun. Traitor. Andersen Press, 2004.
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. This World We Live In. Harcourt, 2010.
Reiss, Kathryn. Blackthorn Winter. Harcourt, 2006.
Riordan, Rick. The Titan’s Curse. Hyperion Books for Children, 2007.
Rundell, Katherine. The Wolf Wilder. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015.
“In the days before the Russian Revolution, twelve-year-old Feodora sets out to rescue her mother when the Tsar’s Imperial Army imprisons her for teaching tamed wolves to fend for themselves.” – FVRL. “A slightly different version of this work was originally published in 2015 in Great Britain by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.” – T.p. verso. This story of courage with the echo of a powerful myth is recommended for all readers 11 years old and up. [Historical fiction; Mothers and daughters; St. Petersburg (Russia); Surivival; Wolves]
Rylant, Cynthia. Snow. Harcourt, 2008.
Schmidt, Gary D. and Elizabeth Stickney. A Long Road on a Short Day. Boston, New York: Clarion Books, 2020.
Samuel and his papa set out on an adventure on a cold snowy day. All they have to trade for the cow needed to provide milk for the baby waiting in Mama’s arms is a knife. Will they succeed in their quest before nightfall drives them back to the safety and warmth of the indoors? A short 59-page novella illustrated by Eugene Yelchin highly recommended for readers 6 to 10 years old. Wonderful as a read-aloud or to share as a reader’s theatre story.
Schmidt, Gary D. and Elizabeth Stickney. One Smart Sheep. Boston: Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021.
Wilson is one smart sheep. And friendly. And handsome. Unfortunately, Wilson is also a little bit lonely so when he discovers his gate unlocked, he sets off on an adventure. Fortunately, Abigail notices that he has disappeared and sets out – withTippy her collie dog and Jeremiah her neighbour – to rescue him. This charming little novel – full of humour, elegantly designed with a large font and widely spaced lines, and softly illustrated by Jane Manning – is perfect for young readers. Highly recommended as a read-aloud.
Schmidt, Gary D. Almost Time. Boston : Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020.
A lovely picture book about a little boy waiting for the weather to get cold enough to tap the maple trees for syrup. Full-page illustrations by the award winning illustrator G. Brian Karas accompany a simple story told by an award-winning author and his late wife, Elizabeth Stickney. Highly recommended for readers 5 to 8 years old who have experienced the frustrations of waiting.
Schroeder, Kristen. So Much Snow. New York : Random House Studio, 2022.
Snow starts falling and falling until it covers the ground and all is white. The next week, the snow starts melting, streams start flowing, and it seems spring has arrived. But then….Could that be snow again? This delightful picture book, softly illustrated by Sarah Jacoby, depicts forest animals – foxes, rabbits, deer, and mice – adjusting as the weather changes over the course of two weeks in late winter. An excellent story to read to young children learning the days of the week.
Sidman, Joyce. Before Morning. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
Smelcer, John. The Trap. Henry Holt and Company, 2006.
Usher, Sam. Lost. Somerville, Massachusetts: Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press, 2022, ©2021.
A new day brings a new adventure despite the miserably cold weather. A little boy trots along with his grandfather and ends up on a grand journey through a snowstorm to find a lost dog. The combination of narration and conversation, the full-page expressive illustrations, the size and style of the font, the placement of sentences on the pages, the zany adventure, and the little bit of wisdom at the end all combine to create another brilliant picture book by Sam Usher. Highly recommended as a read-aloud for ages 4 to 9.
Watts, Bernadette. Varenka. New York: North South, 2022.
What is a miracle? What happens when we pray?
Varenka, a widow, lives deep in a forest, far from other people. But war is coming and she must decide: should she flee? She thinks. If she leaves, who will take care of the animals and feed the birds in winter? Who will take care of the people wandering through the woods? She decides to remain. People seeking shelter do arrive and soldiers with guns arrive. And a miracle occurs. Or is it a coincidence? An answer to prayer or pure good luck? Readers will have to decide for themselves after reading this beautiful picture book by an accomplished British author and illustrator. Highly recommended for all ages.
P.S. Readers who appreciate books by Brian Wildsmith, might like to know that this author studied under him for a time and might enjoy comparing the styles of artwork.
Wilder, Laura Ingalls. The Long Winter. HarperTrophy, 1940.
Woodson, Jacqueline. Feathers. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2007.
Yolen, Jane. Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep. HarperCollins, 2007.