Monday, December 2, 2013

30 Great Picture Books for Winter !

There is no better way to usher in and savor a new season than to dive into a bunch of picture books and revel in that season's specialties.  Here are 30 of my favorites for Winter:

A Perfect Day by Carin Berger

I love Carin Berger's artwork and simple, poetic text.  Just like Little Yellow Leaf is the perfect Fall book, A Perfect Day is the perfect Winter celebration.

Red Sled by Lita Judge

This almost wordless picture book about a rollicking sled ride is my boys' favorite Winter go-to book.

The Reader by Amy Hest,
illustrated by Lauren Castillo

The story of a boy, a dog and a special book on a snowy day.  It's simple with a very classic feel.  Castillo's artwork captures the feeling and excitement of a blustery Winter day.  Best for younger children.

Bedtime for Bear by Brett Helquist

Bear just wants to go to sleep but his raccoon friends want one more round of fun with him before he settles in for the Winter.  I love Brett Helquist's artwork and that it ends with bedtime for bear...which makes it a great nighttime read.

Over and Under the Snow  
by Kate Messner,
illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Over and Under the Snow is one of my favorites.  I have a thing for section view illustrations, and in this book they are telling secrets, the story of things going on -- seen and unseen, over and under the snow.  I even learned that a queen bee hibernates deep in the ground.  Cool, huh?

Penguin's Hidden Talent  
by Alex Latimer

Alex Latimer won me over  with his first picture book, The Boy Who Cried Ninja.   I was so excited to find this one doesn't disappoint. Everyone has amazing talents for the talent show, except Penguin, who struggles to find what makes him special.  I love Latimer's artwork, adorable animals and the timing of his text.  He's the real deal.  He just released his latest work, Lion vs. Rabbit.

There was a Cold Lady 
who Swallowed Some Snow 
by Lucille Colandro, illustrated by Jared Lee

Though none of them live up to the Turkey one, all of the There Was a Lady books are a hit around here.  In this one the rhythm and rhyme are a bit more forced but the funny ending makes up for it.

by Chris Van Dusen

I don't always love books written in rhyming verse, but Chris Van Dusen has perfected the craft.  His retro-feeling illustrations combined with funny text are a joy to read and always get a laugh from my boys.

Snow by Uri Shulevitz

Snow reads like poetry.  Uri Shulevitz captured the simple joy and beauty of a snowfall ... especially the way a child routes for and revels in it while the rest of the world has other opinions.

by James & Joseph Bruchac, 
illustrated by Jeff Newman

Based on a Native American tale, my kids got a kick out of this stubborn, selfish rabbit and all the snow that came his way.  (They still think they can make it snow by sleeping in backward pajamas with a spoon under their pillows and ice in the toilet.  Oh the joy of youth!)

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, 
illustrated by John Schoenherr

Owl Moon is one of those must-own books that can pulled out each winter and read under blankets in the hush of the cold night.  This beautiful combination of text and pictures is an almost magical read.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Another classic for a reason.  Keats illustrations capture the quality of snow so perfectly -- innovative for its time.  I also love his use of patterns and the simple study of a day in the life of a boy in Brooklyn.

Brownie Groundhog and 
the February Fox
by Susan Blackaby, 
illustrated by Carmen Segovia

I included this in my Spring booklist also, but it's one of those books that bridges between seasons.  A desperate, wise groundhog outsmarts a fox as he uses his wits to save his life.  He may find a friend along the way.  The book creators just released another book, Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise .  Though I haven't seen it in person yet, I can't wait to check it out.

Stranger in the Woods: 
A Photographic Fantasy  
by Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick

As a Michigander, I love discovering picture book authors and artists from my home state.  Michigan natives Carl Sams and Jean Stoick are wildlife photographers who created a unique winter story through gorgeous photographs.

Snowflake Bentley  
by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, 
illustrated by Mary Azarian

We love to include non-fiction in our seasonal books.  The story of Snowflake Bentley is intriguing and engaging.  As most world-changers are, to the day of his death, Bentley was a man obsessed with capturing the intricate beauty of snow of film.

by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

If you liked the other Squirrel books by Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri, you'll like this one too.  I'm a little in love with ingenious squirrels, so I can't help but laugh at their antics.

Another non-fiction book that we've read over and over and over again.  It makes science of snow fun and accessible to kids.  

Froggy Gets Dressed  
by Jonathan London,
illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz

Froggy Gets Dressed is the first Froggy book I ever read, and it's still my favorite.  Froggy is so excited to play in the snow that he forgets a few necessary items before rushing outside.  At his mother's bidding ("Froggggggy!") he keeps coming back in to add important layers, all with Froggy song-effects ("Zwat" "Zwit" "Zum").  

Backyard Birds of Winter  
by Carol Lerner

The best thing we did last Winter was invite Winter birds into our yard.  I can't recommend it highly enough.  We hung several feeders from the evergreen near our front window and were endlessly entertained through the dull days of the season.  This book was the catalyst.  We later added a state bird book to our collection, so we could identify each new species as we spotted them. We learned tons about the migratory patterns of our local birds, and all the hilarious behaviors particular to each one.  Plus you get the side effects of equally funny squirrel antics.  We are looking forward to the fun again this year.

by David Soman and Jacky Davis

The Ladybug Girl franchise continues to stay true.  Ladybug Girl has just as much fun in the snow as you would expect she would.  My favorite part: a series of snow animal creations.  We feel inspired now and can't wait for the first big snow.

No Two Alike by Keith Baker

A celebration of the individuality of each snowflake.

The Mitten by Jan Brett

A classic winter book that we read for the first time a couple years ago -- now it's a favorite.

Snow Sounds: 
An Onomatopoeic Story  
by David A. Johnson

My dad has a thing for onomatopoeia, so it's a word I learned young.  My kids have been indoctrinated as well.  Snow Sounds is filled with wonderful onomatopoeia fun.  Everyone will have fun making the sounds of Winter.

One Winter's Day  
by M. Christina Butler,
illustrated by Tina Macnaughton

A cute story about a generous hedgehog -- fuzzy touch-and-feel winter garments make this one fun for younger children.

Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic  
by Steven Schnur, illustrated by Leslie Evans

Part of a set of seasonal books, Schnur's acrostic poems and Evans' linoleum-cut artwork are a treat for every season.  

This Place in the Snow  
by Rebecca Bond

This Place in the Snow celebrates the simple joys of playing in the snow and collaborating in community.  I love the blue glow of the snow and  the  happy colorful snow gear.  Bond (almost) made me want to go out and play in the snow myself.  Also check out: The City Christmas Tree.

by Sebastian  Meschenmoser

Meschenmoser's sketchy pencil drawings are gorgeous.  Young squirrel desparately wants to stay awake for the first snow of winter.  Soon all the animals are waiting with him.  A perfect December book.

Snowmen at Night  
by Caralyn Buehner,
illustrated by Mark Buehner

My boys love all the Snowmen books.  While they aren't my personal favorites, I love reading books that make my kids excited.  The magic of the secret life of snowmen is impossible to resist.

White Snow, Bright Snow 
by Alvin Tresselt,
illustrated by Roger Duvoisin

I am in love with the limited (but surprisingly bright) color palette of these Caldecott winning illustrations.

Bear Snores On
by Karma Wilson, 
illustrated by Jane Chapman

A Winter booklist wouldn't be complete without this wintry classic.  Karma Wilson's rhythm and unexpected vocabulary choices paired with Jane Chapman's sweet creatures are an irresistible combination.  

Also, don't miss out on:
20 Picture Books to Celebrate Christmas!


  1. What a beautiful list! And you've given me some books to check out. It's so hard to choose favorites, but I love Waiting for Winter so very much.

    1. As of today I have a new winter favorite: Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol , illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.


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