Cold winter days demand great books, don’t you agree? When the snow is falling, the wind is blowing, and the temperatures are falling, it’s time to snuggle up somewhere warm with a great book (or two or three). Add something nice and warm to drink, and you and your kids could be set for hours!
Whether you are looking for books about winter for your kids to read or books to read aloud to your children, this list is sure to have at least one book you will enjoy! Even better, you can stay nice and warm while reading about others out in the cold and snow. Or, these winter-themed books may inspire you to go out and tackle the snow yourselves.
As with any list of books, always use your discretion. I have read and enjoyed most of these books and try to only suggest good quality books for you. You are certainly free to disagree with me.
Also, I have tried to list these books according to reading age or ability, but since all our kids are different, they may approach these books at different ages. Don’t let reading age suggestions limit the books your kids read!
So, here is the list of books about winter. Happy reading to you all!
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
Reading Age: 2-4 years
Katy is a tractor, a brave and hard-working tractor. During the summers, Katy pushes a bulldozer, but Katy pushes a snowplow in the winter. When a blizzard comes to Katy’s town, will she be able to clear the roads for the townspeople? A story of perseverance, endurance, and helping others, your young children will enjoy the story of Katy the tractor and the blizzard that buries the town. Does Katy need to visit your town?
A Home in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
Reading Age: 2-5 years
Margaret Wise Brown, author of children’s favorite Good Night Moon, has another lovely book for children – A Home in the Barn. How do the farm animals cope with winter? How do they stay warm? And who are all the animals that come to find shelter in the warm barn? Jerry Pinkney’s delightful illustrations will engage your child’s imaginative mind.
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Reading Age: Preschool to 5 years
Have your children ever lost a mitten? What about a special mitten? A red or blue mitten would be easy to find in the snow, but not a white mitten! What happens to Nicki’s white mitten after he loses it in the snow? Who finds Nicki’s mitten? Your children will be delighted to learn the story of this lost mitten!
The Berenstain Bears’ Winter Wonderland by Jan and Mike Berenstain
Reading Age: 2-6 years
What young children don’t enjoy the various adventures of the Berenstain Bears? In this book, the Bear cubs try a variety of winter activities. Which activity will be their favorite? And will Brother Bear ever get to have his snowball fight? This lift-the-flap book will add to your child’s delight with The Berenstain Bears’ Winter Wonderland.
Sugar Snow by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Reading Age: 2-6 years
Sugar Snow, part of the Little House Picture Book series, tells how the Ingalls family deals with a thick, heavy, late spring snowfall in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Why is this storm called a “sugar snow?” Children have been delighted with the Little House series of books; these picture books make the stories more appealing to even the youngest children. The lovely illustrations provide visual cues to what life was like for pioneer children in the upper Midwest.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Reading Age: 2-6 years
What do most children want to do when waking up to a new snowfall? Why, go outside and explore, of course! And that’s what Peter does. What types of tracks can he make in the snow? What happens if you hit a snow-covered tree branch with a stick? And can you keep a snowball in your pocket overnight? Note: this book was the first children’s picture book with an African American character to win a major literary award (Caldecott Medal).
It’s Snowing, It’s Snowing by Jack Prelutsky
Reading Age: 4-8 years
It’s Snowing, It’s Snowing is a book of poems about winter by favorite children’s poet Jack Prelutsky. The poems are about snowy things that children will relate to, such as snowflakes, snowmen, winter winds, ice skating, freezing, snowballs, etc. The illustrations by Yossi Abolafia will enchant your children as well.
White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt
Reading Age: 4-8 years
Another Caldecott Medal-winning book, this story looks at how different groups of people react to the snow. As the first snowflakes fall, the adults in the story start to do all the practical and responsible things. The children, however, laugh and dance in the snow and set out to enjoy the snowfall as much as they can! Your children will easily relate to the joys of snowfall as you read through this book together.
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Reading Age: 4-9 years
While this is a picture book, it is also a biographical story of the first man to take detailed photographs of individual snowflakes. His work gave rise to the concept that no two snowflakes were precisely alike. This book explains how a farm boy from Vermont became an expert on snowflakes and snowflake photography.
Winter Sleep: A Hibernation Story by Sean Taylor and Alex Morss
Reading Age: 5-7 years
This book provides a beautiful introduction to the idea of winter hibernation. As the snow begins to fall, where do all the animals go? What are the animals doing? The pages in this book offer cutaway scenes and illustrations to show your child what is happening to the animals underground, in dens or nests, or the hollows of trees. This would be a great book to include in a winter unit study.
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh
Reading Age: 5-9 years
This story was written by author Alice Dalgliesh, who also wrote The Courage of Sarah Noble. The author based her story on a tall tale from Pennsylvania. Are there bears on Hemlock Mountain? What would you do if you came across a bear? We discovered this book when my son Jonathan was learning to read. I think he liked it partially because the main character’s name was Jonathan. Your children will like this book because the story is told well, the simple illustrations support the story, and there is suspense!
The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
Reading age: 6-9 years
What do the animals in the forest do when winter comes? Where do they stay, and what do they eat? How do they stay warm? With gentle words and beautiful pictures, this book tries to answer those questions for children. The book also explains how humans can help the animals throughout the winter.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
Reading Age: 6-9 years
What would you do if a penguin came to live in your house? And then, what if your penguin gets a mate, and they have ten baby penguins? Where would you keep all those penguins, what do they eat, and what do you do with a dozen penguins in your house? Your children will enjoy this hilarious story about life with twelve penguins!
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Reading Age: 7-11 years
Book 6 in the Little House on the Prairie series, The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, tells the story of what happened to pioneer families when terrible blizzards cut off their community from their suppliers of food and heat. Read about what the Ingalls family and their neighbors do to make their supplies last through the long, hard winter. Learn about the pioneers’ bravery as some men face danger to try to find additional supplies. Historical fiction stories help children understand these pioneers and the strong character traits needed to survive hard times.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Reading Age: 8-11
I first read this book in 4th or 5th grade; it quickly became one of my favorites! (Meaning, I read it several times!) Why did this book interest me so much? I think adventure, independence, resourcefulness, and inventiveness made this an enjoyable read for me! Sam, the main character, is unhappy living with his large family in a small city apartment. So, he “runs away” (with his father’s permission) to his great-grandfather’s abandoned farm to make it on his own. Sam learns to find food, make a home for himself, and survive the winter alone. Your adventurous and independent children will probably love this story.
Journey of the Pale Bear by Susan Fletcher
Reading Age: 8-12 years
In 1252, King Haakon IV of Norway gave King Henry III of England a gift. This unique gift was a polar bear! The author of this story, Susan Fletcher, read about the known facts of the story – what happened with the bear after it arrived in England but wondered how the bear got to England. Who was the bear’s keeper? How did that all come about? And so we have the story of Arthur, a runaway who befriends a polar bear on board a ship from Norway to England.
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Reading Age: 8-12 years
An adventure story featuring a young teen girl, Julie of the Wolves is about a girl trying to find where she belongs. Torn between the old Inuit ways and modern Alaska, Julie seems to belong nowhere. Finding herself lost in the Arctic wild, Julie must depend on her strength and knowledge to survive. She then learns to coexist with a pack of wild wolves. The author, Jean Craighead George, did much research to learn about communicating with wolves before writing this story. Adventure, science, and courage all combine to make a great story.
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
Reading Age: 9-12 years
This book was one of my kids’ favorites that we read together. Another historical fiction book, Snow Treasure, tells the story of grade school children fooling Nazi soldiers and rescuing nine million dollars of Norwegian gold from the enemy. The plot involves sledding, snowmen, risks, and danger. This is an excellent story of resourcefulness, patriotism, and winter.
Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen
Reading Age: 10-13 years
In Gary Paulson’s award-winning book Hatchet, Brian, the main character, learns to survive independently in the wilderness. At the end of a summer of survival, Brian is rescued. But what if he wasn’t? What if he had to face a Canadian winter alone, with only a hatchet? This book answers that question. If your kids loved reading Brian’s adventures in Hatchet, they will enjoy this book! You better have some blankets and hot chocolate because the temperature is about to drop!
Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge
Reading Age: 10-12 years
First published in 1865, the story of Hans Brinker is a story of hardship, perseverance, kindness, helpfulness, dreams, and overcoming – all characteristics we would like to see in our children. This story will also give your children some cultural insight into life in Holland during the nineteenth century. Hans and his sister, poor children with a severely injured father, want to compete in the annual ice skating race. But their clumsy wooden skates won’t help them win at all! How will they compete, and who will win the race? And what about the injured father? Is there any hope for him? Read the story to see how the children overcome their obstacles.
So, which of these books about winter is first on your kids’ list of books to read? Or maybe first on your list? I have not read Journey of the Pale Bear – I need to look for that one; it sounds intriguing!
Have you or your kids found any new favorites? Did I leave any fabulous books off this list? I’d love to hear your favorites or suggestions! Tell me what I missed or which book is your new favorite!
Oh, and because there are always more books, here are some bonus suggestions for more books about winter:
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
- Dear America: The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory
- Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson
- Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
- Caleb’s Story (Sarah Plain and Tall #3) by Patricia MacLachlan
- Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John
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