The best picture books about snow and snowmen

Who am I?

The world opened to me in a safe space when I learned to read as a child, and by 6th grade I regularly hauled home stacks of books from the library and, inspired by Jo March, hoped to be an author. I put aside my dream of writing and pursued other career goals until my marriage to Mark Buehner. It was his career as an illustrator that opened a path for me to write, and together we have created many picture books, including the Snowmen at Night series. I’ve learned that stories are told with pictures as well as words, and beautiful picture books can be savored at any age.


I wrote...

Snowmen at Night

By Caralyn M. Buehner, Mark Buehner (illustrator),

Book cover of Snowmen at Night

What is my book about?

One wintry day a child builds a snowman, only to notice the next day that the snowman’s grin is a little crooked, and his arms are drooping down. This dishevelment makes him wonder... what do snowmen do at night? Perhaps they slip away to the park for a night of merrymaking and winter fun. The joyful, rollicking snowmen in this bestselling book not only bring smiles and laughter to the reader, but Mark Buehner has hidden a cat, rabbit, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Santa face in every illustration. 

The books I picked & why

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White Snow, Bright Snow

By Alvin Tresselt, Roger Duvoisin (illustrator),

Book cover of White Snow, Bright Snow

Why this book?

Both the poetry and prose of this beautiful book speaks to my heart; these are words I would have liked to have written myself: Softly, gently in the secret light/Down from the North came the quiet white./Drifting, sifting, silent flight,/Softly, gently in the secret night. After the first poetic introduction, the book moves into a perfect description of a neighborhood before, during and after a big snow, beginning with the first flakes of snow the children catch on their tongues, to the postman pulling on his boots; the snowfall so deep that the farmer must dig his way to the barn. In the night the stars come out when the snow stops. The next morning, bright light fills the barn where the farmer milks his cow, and children build a snowman, a snow fort, and have a snowball fight. The melting snow drips into icicles, as the neighborhood warms into spring.

Written some 70+ years ago, this Caldecott winner is a still a beautiful and evocative read.

White Snow, Bright Snow

By Alvin Tresselt, Roger Duvoisin (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White Snow, Bright Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* Caldecott Medal Winner * ALA Notable Book *

The classic Caldecott Medal–winning picture book about a neighborhood transformed by a delightful snowfall, from the legendary picture book duo Alvin Tresselt and Roger Duvoisin.

When the first flakes fell from the grey sky, the postman and the farmer and the policeman and his wife scurried about doing all the practical things grown-ups do when a snowstorm comes. But the children laughed and danced, and caught the lacy snowflakes on their tongues.

All the wonder and delight a child feels in a snowfall is caught in the pages of this book—the…


The Snowy Day

By Ezra Jack Keats,

Book cover of The Snowy Day

Why this book?

A Caldecott medal recipient in 1963, this is one of the most loved and celebrated children’s books. In this simple story, Peter wakes up to a snowfall and spends the day playing and experimenting with this outdoor wonder. I remember seeing this book as a child and being fascinated with the patterns in Ezra Jack Keats’ collages, but also with Peter, who, as an urban child, lived a much different life than I, in my neighborhood where neighbors had orchards and there were no sidewalks. Yet the sensory descriptions resonated; the crunch of the snow underfoot, the wetness of the melting snowball, and the sheer joy of being alive on a snowy day.

The Snowy Day received attention at the time of publication not just for the use of collage, but because the main character, Peter, is Black, something unusual at the time in picture books (Keats would go on to do six more books about Peter, in which he grows and matures) I love how Keats explained his choice: “My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along.”

The Snowy Day

By Ezra Jack Keats,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Snowy Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The magic and wonder of winter's first snowfall is perfectly captured in Ezra Jack Keat's Caldecott Medal-winning picture book. This celebrated classic has been shared by generations of readers and listeners, a must-have for every child's bookshelf and a perfect gift for the holiday season.

New York Public Library's #1 book on the list of "Top Check Outs of All Time"

In 1962, a little boy named Peter put on his snowsuit and stepped out of his house and into the hearts of millions of readers. Universal in its appeal, this story beautifully depicts a child's wonder at a new…


Snowflake Bentley

By Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Mary Azarian (illustrator),

Book cover of Snowflake Bentley

Why this book?

My memories of childhood are of white winters and deep snowfalls. Like anyone in a perfect snowstorm, I have often looked at the flakes on the shoulders and sleeves of my coat and wished I could preserve that perfect crystal. I also wondered if the saying was true—that no two snowflakes are alike—and how anyone could possibly know.

I had no idea as a child that a Vermont farmer, Wilson Bentley, studied and photographed snowflakes for years, leading to discoveries about these six-sided, fleeting jewels. In Snowflake Bentley (another Caldecott recipient), Jacqueline Martin introduces us to a time “In the days when farmers worked with ox and sled,” and a boy “who loved snow more than anything else in the world.” A fascinating, educational,  and true story to explore.

Snowflake Bentley

By Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Mary Azarian (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Snowflake Bentley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the time he was a small boy, 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.…


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost, Susan Jeffers (illustrator),

Book cover of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Why this book?

I was in second grade when I first read this Robert Frost poem in our classroom textbook. There was one magnificent illustration of a horse in a dark, snowy forest, with big snowflakes falling that captured my imagination. I was entranced by the language and images and remember memorizing the poem to recite. In 1978 Susan Jeffers illustrated the poem as a picture book, with evocative gray and white drawings. A later edition added some color. In this case, the beauty of the text is such that no illustrations are needed, but it is lovely to see the snowy village, the narrator stopping to make a snow angel, and the snow-laden tree branches. A great introduction to the poems of Robert Frost, who called this poem “my best bid for remembrance.” (Just FYI, you can listen to a recording of Robert Frost reading this poem on YouTube.) 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost, Susan Jeffers (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

From the illustrator of the world’s first picture book adaptation of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” comes a new interpretation of another classic Frost poem: “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Weaving a simple story of love, loss, and memories with only illustrations and Frost’s iconic lines, this stirring picture book introduces young readers to timeless poetry in an unprecedented way.


If Picasso Painted a Snowman

By Amy Newbold, Greg Newbold (illustrator),

Book cover of If Picasso Painted a Snowman

Why this book?

Local to me, I’ve been familiar with the gorgeous poster and mural art of Greg Newbold. More recently he has teamed up with his wife Amy to create a series of picture books showcasing the styles of renowned artists. This first book takes snowmen and imagines what they would look like if painted by artists such as Van Gogh, Dali, Picasso, O’Keefe, and others. An excellent introduction to the painting styles of famous artists, with informative text to reinforce the idea that “not all artists paint the same.” 

If Picasso Painted a Snowman

By Amy Newbold, Greg Newbold (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If Picasso Painted a Snowman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From that simple premise flows this delightful, whimsical, educational picture book that shows how the artist's imagination can summon magic from a prosaic subject. Greg Newbold's chameleon-like artistry shows us Roy Lichtenstein's snow hero saving the day, Georgia O'Keefe's snowman blooming in the desert, Claude Monet's snowmen among haystacks, Grant Wood's American Gothic snowman, Jackson Pollock's snowman in ten thousand splats, Salvador Dali's snowmen dripping like melty cheese, and snowmen as they might have been rendered by J. M. W. Turner, Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee, Marc Chagall, Georges Seurat, Pablita Velarde, Piet Mondrian, Sonia Delaunay, Jacob Lawrence, and Vincent van…


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Interested in snow, poetry, and painting?

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