Winter can be cold and gray, yes, but it can also be a magical time, especially when you’re a kid. It’s full of snow forts (or blanket forts), hot chocolate, and sledding. There’s ice skating, winter sports (soon the winter Olympics!), and cozy days spent inside cuddled up with the family. One of the best ways to enrich your child’s relationship with winter is by reading books. Here are some of the best winter-themed books for kids that you can read aloud together.
Funny winter-themed books for kids
- Sneezy the Snowman–Maureen Wright and Stephen Gilpin
This book is full of silliness that’s sure to get your kids giggling. It follows the journey of a chilly snowman who just wants to get warm. Unfortunately, every time he succeeds, he melts, and he needs to be rebuilt again. What’s a snowman to do?
- The Mitten–Jane Brett
A young boy desperately wants a pair of white mittens, so he convinces his Grandmother to knit them for him (even though she’s sure he’ll lose them in the white snow). Of course, as Grandma predicted, he loses a mitten. The story focuses not on the boy’s search for the mitten but on the creatures that find it and try to claim it as their own. This funny, heartwarming story is great to read aloud with your kids.
Best winter-themed books that capture the feeling of winter
- Ten Ways to Hear Snow–Cathy Camper and Kenard Pak
This story follows a young girl and her Grandmother on the day following a massive blizzard. The young girl focuses on the sound of the snow as she travels through a winter wonderland to her Grandmother’s home. This book will encourage you and your kids to slow down and see winter in a new and magical light.
- Owl Moon–Jane Yolen
A father takes his young daughter out into the winter woods to go “Owling.” Eager, the young girl quietly follows her father in hopes of catching a glimpse of a Great Horned owl. Your kids can hoot along with the book as they experience what it feels like to be in the woods on a cold winter night.
- Katy and the Big Snow–Virginia Lee Burton
This classic winter tale shows the magic of winter from the eyes of a female tractor. When a blizzard blankets the town in snow, only Katy can dig the townspeople out. It’s a unique and heartwarming story your kids are bound to love.
- The Snowy Day–Ezra Jack Keats
Peter, the young boy in this story, wakes up one day to find that the world has been turned white with snow! You and your kids can follow along with Peter as he gets into his red snowsuit and goes out to explore. As an added bonus, Amazon recently put out a short movie adaptation of this book that does an excellent job bringing this classic story to life.
Best winter-themed books about animals
- Over and Under the Snow–Kate Messner
This nonfiction story is incredibly informative, but it’s still a lot of fun. Throughout the book, you learn how different plants and animals cope with and survive the winter.
- In the Snow: Who’s Been Here?–Lindsay Barrett George
This story follows a pair of young children as they walk through the quiet woods. Even though it seems empty, their sharp eyes pick up on signs of wildlife such as missing bark, tracks in the snow and owl pellets. You and your kids can help them discover clues and find the answer to the question, “Who’s been here?”
- Bear Snores On–Karma Wilson
A big bear lays slumbering in his den in the middle of a winter storm, and little animals slowly creep in to get out of the cold. As the number of animals increases and their party grows louder, you wonder, what will happen when the bear wakes up? This is a fun story, and its rhythmic flow makes it a fantastic read-aloud book.
Educational winter-themed books
- Snowflake Bentley–Jacqueline Briggs Martin
This biography tells the tale of Wilson Bentley, the first meteorologist to discover that each snowflake is unique and all have gorgeous patterns. Snowflake Bentley brings magic to the science of snowflakes as it teaches about passion and perseverance.
- The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder–Jon Nelson and Mark Cassino
This book is an excellent accompaniment to Snowflake Bentley! The authors showcase gorgeous photos of snowflake crystals as they explain the science behind their unique shapes. The section on setting up a snowflake station and how to best capture your own flakes will have you and your kids jumping into your winter gear at the first sign of snow.
Best winter-themed chapter books for kids
- Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow–Jessica Day George
The young protagonist in this story, Lass, must journey with a polar bear and survive for a year and a day. She goes on this journey to save her family as she’s been promised that they will receive great wealth if she succeeds. However, not all is as it seems, and the polar bear she accompanies is holding onto a big secret.
- Odd and the Frost Giants–Neil Gaiman
Odd is a young boy living in ancient Norway who has the worst luck. As he journeys through the woods, he meets three animals who tell him the story of the Frost Giants. After hearing their tale, he travels to the land of the Gods to save them from the evil Frost Giants.
- Nancy and Plum–Betty MacDonald
Written in 1952, this story follows two young orphaned sisters who deal with their challenging boarding school mistress, interact with their wealthy uncle and celebrate Christmas. It’s a comforting, classic read in which you know bad people will be punished and good will prevail.
So many more books could make it on this list of the best winter-themed books for kids. However, this is a great start, and I have no doubt that you and your family will love each and every one of them.