10 picture books that will help you fall in love with winter

“Bear Snores On” by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman is one of 10 children’s books about winter that KSL contributor Megan Christensen recommends you immediately put on hold at your local library. (Margaret K. McElderry books)

Estimated reading time: 6-7 minutes

COZYTOWN – With winter in the air and COVID-19 still surging, we could all enjoy a little escape. And what better way to wait out the quarantine with the kids than with a cozy blanket, delicious snacks and a stack of beautifully illustrated and deliciously themed children’s books?

If you recently received positive coronavirus test results, or just want something fun and lighthearted to do with your kids during this dismal season, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 children’s books you should immediately put on hold at your local library.

“The Snow Globe Family” by Jane O’Connor (Photo: GP Putnam’s Sons)

This story features two almost identical families. Both have a mom, a dad, a boy, a girl and a baby. And they both yearn for a blizzard. But while one of the families lives in an ordinary house, the other lives in a snow globe inside this house.

While the family inside the house depends on the weather for a blizzard, the little snow globe family just hopes the other family will notice them so they can have their own blizzard. Let the smallest member of the family make the biggest difference.

“The Wishing Tree” by Kyo Maclear (Photo: Chronicle Books)

It is a book about adventure, imagination and service to others. Charles desperately wants to find a wishing tree. When his brother and sister won’t help him, he takes his trusty toboggan, affectionately known as the Boggan, through the snowy woods in search of the tree. Throughout the day, Charles can’t find the wishing tree, but he encounters many woodland animals that need his help. Without hesitation, Charles and Boggan lend a hand, and their good deeds do not go unnoticed by animal lovers, who help his dreams come true.

“Winter Sleep” by Sean Taylor and Alex Morss

“Winter Sleep” by Sean Taylor and Alex Morss (Photo: Words Pictures)

This is one of those great educational books that doesn’t read as educational but rather illustrates facts about hibernation through a story. It’s like giving your kids their gummy vitamins: nutritious and delicious all at once. In this book, a boy visits his grandmother — an adorable lady named Granny Sylvie — in summer and winter. He sees life flourishing and magic happening in summer, but he wonders where it all goes when winter comes. Enter Mamie Sylvie and her wisdom on earth.

'Learn to Ski with Mr. Magee' by Chris Van Dusen
‘Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee’ by Chris Van Dusen (Photo: Chronicle Books)

Mr. Magee has never skied before, but at 6:53 a.m. on a beautiful winter day, he and his dog, Dee, decide they need to learn. Instead of an instructor, Mr. Magee goes the self-taught route, and disaster, uh, I mean, adventure ensues. A curious moose and an ill-timed spruce are just the ingredients Mr. Magee needs to learn that skiing might not quite be his passion.

“Blizzard” by John Rocco (Photo: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

As Utahns, many of us have memories of massive snowstorms that delayed school, stranded us in our homes, and sent our cars crashing into snow banks. In this charming non-fiction picture book, John Rocco tells the true story of one of the craziest blizzards New England has ever seen.

It was February 1978, and the Rhode Island town of 10-year-old Rocco was blanketed in snow. School was canceled and no one could get to the grocery store. Enter our brave 10-year-old author who strapped tennis rackets to her feet and pulled her sled a mile through the snow to get groceries for her family and neighbors. You won’t regret trying this sweet story.

“A Loud Winter’s Nap” by Katy Hudson (Photo: Picture Window Books)

It’s cold outside, and all Turtle wants to do is sleep in the winter (because turtles don’t like winter). Unfortunately for him, the other animals around him have other plans… noisy. Turtle can’t seem to find a place to rest, but his bad luck turns to good fortune when he discovers that winter might have some magic after all.

“Bear Snores On” by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

“Bear Snores On” by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman (Photo: Margaret K. McElderry Books)

An international bestseller, “Bear Snores On” features great rhymes, cute characters and cozy winter vibes. In this story, a big brown bear hibernates in its den and nothing can wake it up. Not the mouse that sneaks into its cave to stoke a fire, not the hare that pops corn, or the badger that noisily chews honeyed nuts. A whole party begins in his cave, but the bear continues to snore. That is, until something makes him sneeze. This is when things get intense.

“Almost Time” by Gary D. Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney

“It’s Almost Time” by Gary D. Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney (Photo: Clarion Books)

If you’re looking for a book that reminds you that winter doesn’t last forever, this is the one for you. In “Almost Time”, Ethan waits for “sugar hour”, when tree sap flows and maple syrup is easy to find once again. But that will only happen when the nights get shorter and the days warmer. Ethan has to put up with pancakes and cornbread without syrup, but it’s only a matter of time before spring returns.

“Samson in the Snow” by Philip C. Stead (Photo: Roaring Brook Press)

The author dedicates this book to anyone having a bad day, and I can attest that it is a pick-me-up. Samson in the Snow tells the story of a woolly mammoth, a red bird and a mouse who find friendship through a mutual love of the color yellow, a dramatic quest through a snowstorm and many of heart. It’s the perfect story for someone looking for hope in a tough season.

“Above and Under the Snow” by Kate Messner (Photo: Chronicle Books)

This enchanting tale educates its reader on nature and life “on and under the snow”. Following the journey of a cross-country skier and her father, we discover the “secret kingdom” under the snow — like a black bear sleeping with its belly full of blueberries and October trout, bullfrogs dreaming of sunshine warmed up days, and voles seeking bits of summer feasts.

We also learn the survival instincts of animals above the snow, like the fox who can hear the mouse (which becomes his dinner) scratch-scratch under the snow. This book is a poetic teacher with beautiful prose.


About the Author: Megan Christensen

Megan Christensen is an avid reader, writer and language snob. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a major in journalism from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Megan is passionate about sharing inspiring stories in Utah, where she lives with her husband and two children. To read more of her articles, visit Megan’s author page on KSL.com.

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