Winter is here, and as you cozy up by the fire, it’s time for some great winter reads with your kiddos. There are so many amazing books that show the magic of winter. Here are our 18 favorite books about winter for kids!
During this chilly time of year, let your kids relish the joy of polar bears, snow falling on cedars, and walking in a winter wonderland, all while snuggled under a blanket with you. How? Through a good book!
The Magic of Winter
All of my memories of winter are from childhood – snow days, building snow forts out of plowed up piles, ski trips, and hot cocoa by the fireplace.
As an adult, I’ve largely been the northerner living in the South who scoffs at my Florida-born spouse and compatriots who complain about how cold 50 degrees feels.
While I was born and raised in Connecticut, I went to college in Atlanta and graduate school in Florida, so it has been a long while since I’ve lived in a place with proper seasons.
(In Florida, we have two seasons; the season where you put on your hoodie when you go outside and the season when you put your hoodie on when you go inside into the AC).
While Atlanta’s very public “Snow-mageddons” have garnered ridicule (closing the city down for less than an inch of snow!), we did get 9 inches of snow last year that the city with 4 snowplows was ill-equipped to handle.
But now I get to experience the magic of winter again.
The Magic of Winter in PITTSBURGH!
My family relocated to Pittsburgh this summer. Read about my experience moving with kids, plus specific tips and tricks for helping them (and you) cope!
When we were getting ready to move to Pittsburgh, everyone kept telling my son “It snows in Pittsburgh!” So many people said it so frequently that I’m pretty sure he was expecting there to be snow on the ground when we arrived in August! Poor little dude.
So now, as the weather slowly starts to turn cold and the first snow flurries swirl through the air, both Logan and I are getting excited.
Snowball fights! Snow angels! Beautiful snow-covered holiday lights! Building snowmen at night while we watch the joy of this time of year. And a chance to use his new red sled that he got for his birthday!
However, as an adult, I’m also pricing out my first set of snow tires and (re)-learning that I need to build in time to my work morning routine to start my car and scrape ice off the windshield.
Focusing on the Joy of Winter
In order to focus a bit more on the joy, I wanted to put together a book list for you all about our favorite winter picture books.
These books make excellent selections at the local library or winter holiday or birthday gifts. No matter the occasion, these books will help you revel in the best parts of winter and add some warmth to those cold evenings.
Dr. Fitz’s recommendation: Read under a warm lap blanket, with a cup of cocoa and your favorite toddler, preschooler, or elementary-aged kid!
My Favorite Books About Winter
These are a couple of my favorites that I remember from my childhood. I still read them regularly with Logan, which helps me share some of my own childhood joy with him.
I like this book so much I bought the stamps from USPS this year to send out my New Year’s cards!
In this book, Peter wakes up one morning and the whole city is covered in snow. He puts on his awesome red snowsuit and goes out to explore!
Fun Fact: Amazon has a short animated film adaptation of The Snowy Day that is available on Prime that is fun and appropriate for a similar age range. It sets the story at Christmas but features a diverse range of characters and some delightful additions to the story. If you are a Prime customer, this makes an excellent tablet download to take on long car trips or plane rides (and gives you a break from Frozen!)
Logan loves reading about Katy and her big snowplow! We read this story all the time but it is especially exciting to read when there are real snow plows out and about!
I also love that it gives him a window on a feminist story of a strong female-identifying tractor who saves the city with her strength and tenacity! (Read more about the importance of feminist books for boys here!)
Katy, a brave and untiring tractor, who pushes a bulldozer in the summer and a snowplow in the winter, makes it possible for the townspeople to do their jobs.
In this enduring winter favorite from the Caldecott Medal winner Burton, Katy the snowplow finally gets her chance to shine when a blizzard blankets the city and everyone is relying on Katy to help dig out.
The Mitten is perhaps the pinnacle of any early childhood winter theme. So much fun and so many opportunities for learning packed into one little book!
In The Mitten, Nikki loses one of his precious white mittens, which various winter animals discover. The playful tale is accompanied by rich, detailed illustrations that are so entrancing children stare at the pages, mesmerized, drinking it all in.
Logan’s Favorite Books About Winter
At age 3, Logan is starting to have very strong opinions about the books we read, especially when it comes time to choose his 2 bedtime stories. These are books about winter for kids he has come back to over and over again.
I am increasingly a fan of Kevin Henkes books! Each one we check out from the library is beautiful to look at and beautiful to read aloud.
In Winter Is Here, snow falls, animals burrow, and children prepare for the wonders winter brings. Caldecott Medalist and award-winning author Kevin Henkes’s striking text introduces basic concepts of language and the unique beauty of the winter season. Laura Dronzek’s expressive paintings beautifully capture the joyful wonders of winter.
Bear’s cave fills with animal friends as he sleeps. One by one, a whole host of different animals and birds find their way out of the cold and into Bear’s cave to warm up. But even after the tea has been brewed and the corn has been popped, Bear just snores on!
See what happens when he finally wakes up and finds his cave full of uninvited guests—all of them having a party without him!
“What if it starts to snow? What do you do? Where do you go?” So begins this winter story, as each animal–from a mouse to a bear–tells us what it will do and where it will go when the snow starts to fall.
Each takes cover in its own special home, except for one. Can you guess who?
New Picture Books About Winter
These are a couple of new releases about winter that have been popular in our house and on library visits! I highly recommend checking out these new picture books about winter.
It’s about a girl lost in a snowstorm. A wolf cub is lost, too. How will they find their way home?
Paintings rich with feeling tell this satisfying story of friendship and trust. Here is a book set on a wintry night that will spark imaginations and warm hearts. It’s clear why Wolf in the Snow was the 2018 Caldecott Winner.
As leaves fall from their trees, animals huddle against the cold, and frost creeps across windows, everyone knows―winter is on its way!
Join a brother and sister as they explore nature and take a stroll through their twinkling town, greeting all the signs of the coming season.
In a series of conversations with everything from the setting sun to curious deer, they say goodbye to autumn and welcome the glorious first snow of winter in Kenar Pak’s Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter.
Diverse Picture Books About Winter for Kids
I’ve written previously on Undefining Motherhood about why it’s really important to me to make sure Logan is reading books about diverse children and perspectives.
Seeing winter through the eyes of other people with different lived experiences from us is a valuable way to help him remain open to new perspectives and empathetic to friends who have different backgrounds.
Here are a few suggestions that feature diverse characters and experiences of winter.
Danilito and his family immigrated to the United States from their warm Caribbean home.
The family faces common anxieties of moving to a new country. Will the adults find work? How will they learn the language and adapt to the customs?
When it begins to snow, the novelty of experiencing snowfall for the first time lifts up everyone’s spirit and fills them with the hope of new beginnings!
Two children half a world away from each other are connected in an unexpected way.
Way, way up north in a snow-covered world, a young girl is surprised when, instead of a fish on the end of her fishing line, there is a small, brightly painted wooden bird. Day after day, her fishing pole brings up more colorful surprises. When visiting the fishing hole for the last time, she drops a little wooden bear into the water.
Far away, a young boy walks along a beach in the hot, hot sun. He throws a colorful object into the water. Then something catches his eye. A small wooden bear washed up on the beach.
Karin Littlewood has crafted a simple, affecting story of how individuals around the world connect and enrich each other’s lives. Her beautiful watercolor illustrations vibrantly depict the story’s shifting locations―from the frozen Arctic to the tropical shoreline.
A little girl follows tracks outside her window after a fresh snowfall, only to realize that the tracks in the snow are her own from the day before―and that they lead her home.
This diminutive and sweet picture book is as cozy as a cup of hot chocolate. Like Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day, this lovely celebration of snow and winter is just right for the littlest readers.
When a young girl named Kikko realizes her father has forgotten the pie he was supposed to bring to Grandma’s house, she offers to try to catch him as he makes his way through the woods. She hurriedly follows her father’s footprints in the snow and happens upon a large house she has never seen before.
Curious, Kikko peers through the window, and she is startled by a small lamb wearing a coat and carrying a purse. Even more surprising, the lamb speaks, asking her in a kind voice, “Are you here for the tea party?”
Suddenly, Kikko realizes her trip through the woods has turned into something magical.
Award-winning author and illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi has beautifully crafted an original fairy tale picture book that will delight and enchant.
Alive with swirling snow and lots of outdoor fun, the first ten days of winter bring special gifts for a special friend. This cumulative tale will have children chanting along as they discover all the trimmings needed for the most perfect snowman ever!
Science of Snow
The teacher in me is always wondering what kids can learn from the books they’re reading. I’m not exactly creating lesson plans with the books we read, but I like to know that Logan is learning as much as possible from the adventure of every book.
Snow is a great opportunity to talk about lots of different areas of science with little ones because so many concepts become visible!
- What happens to water when it freezes?
- What kind of tracks do animals leave?
- How do animals keep warm in the winter?
These books will help you introduce your kids to the science of winter!
How do snow crystals form? What shapes can they take? Are no two snow crystals alike? These questions and more are answered in this exploration of the science of snow, featuring photos of real snow crystals in all their beautiful diversity.
Perfect for reading on winter days, this book by a nature photographer and a snow scientist will inspire wonder and curiosity about the marvels of snow.
It also includes snowflake-catching instructions for aspiring young snow scientists!
From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that, one day, his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal.
Bentley’s enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike, and each one is startlingly beautiful.
His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist’s vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature.
Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal!
The woods are cold and desolate as Cammy and William hike through the snow, yet signs of animal life are everywhere.
Help them find the clues–a pellet of feathers and bones, a fish head by the brook, a patch of bark rubbed off the trunk of a birch tree, and more–and join in guessing, “Who’s been here?”
The book jacket aptly describes this book: “Over the snow, the world is hushed and white. But under the snow is a secret world of squirrels and snow hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals who live through the winter safe and warm under the snow.”
This book gives the reader a peek at what life under the snow is like. The back of the book provides more details about the animals depicted in the story.
Read the story and then learn more about what happens to the animals during winter. Where do they go? Do they hibernate or simply seek shelter somewhere?
Learn about how snowflakes form, where snow falls, and how to prepare for a snowstorm is this informational book about snow.
What are your favorite books about winter for kids?
Rebekah Fitzsimmons, PhD, is Undefining Motherhood’s expert on children’s literature. She has a PhD in English (Children’s Literature) from the University of Florida. She is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Professional Communication in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Rebekah’s book, Beyond the Blockbuster will be available through the University Press of Mississippi in April. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, mother-in-law, and awesome dog.