The best books about winter

8 authors have picked their favorite books about winter and why they recommend each book.

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Frederick

By Leo Lionni,

Book cover of Frederick

Frederick is a classic that continues to speak to me. Frederick is a creative mouse who gathers beauty from the world—he’s a daydreamer and a poet. His talents aren’t appreciated by the other mice at first. By the end of the story, though, they realize that his talents are essential to their survival. I love how this book celebrates creativity and difference.


Who am I?

I’m a writer and illustrator of picture books who is always seeking magic in the world around me. I love to daydream, wander, wonder, and get lost in nature as much as possible. I’m also an avid reader of books that celebrate the natural world, animals, and imagination. Happy reading!


I wrote...

Do You Believe in Unicorns?

By Bethanie Deeney Murguia,

Book cover of Do You Believe in Unicorns?

What is my book about?

Is believing in magic the key to seeing a unicorn? If you keep your eyes open to wonder, the possibilities are endless. Look closely as you read. Is that a horse wearing a hat? It’s definitely not a unicorn in disguise—that would be ridiculous, right? It’s probably just a horse that’s having a bad hair day. Or trying to keep the sun out of its eyes. Follow it long enough, and maybe you’ll finally know for sure. It’s all a matter of perspective in this story about seeing magic in the everyday.

If Winter Comes, Tell It I'm Not Here

By Simona Ciraolo,

Book cover of If Winter Comes, Tell It I'm Not Here

I’m a big fan of Simona Ciraolo, and the cover of this book is so perfect! Every spread is filled with brilliant moments of the four seasons. Especially the rainy day spreads are my favorites. It makes you anticipate rainy days even though you’re not a rain person.


Who am I?

I hate rainy days, I check the weather forecast diligently to make sure I don’t have to go out on a rainy day. However I became a mother of two boys and with little kids, I had to go out rain or shine. My kids don’t get bothered by the rain, they rather love it, so I learned to enjoy the rainy days just like the grumpy old man from RainI And we enjoyed rainy day activities like drawing, reading about rainy day stories while cuddling on the sofa. These books remind me of those happy rainy days and they will certainly brighten up your rainy days.


I wrote...

Puddle

By Hyewon Yum,

Book cover of Puddle

What is my book about?

One rainy day, a little boy is upset because he can't go out and play. His mom comes up with a way to keep him entertained--by drawing a picture of herself and him going outside, playing in the rain, and splashing in a giant puddle. They have so much fun drawing themselves that they decide to venture out and make the most of the rainy weather.

Over and Under the Snow

By Kate Messner, Christopher Silas Neal (illustrator),

Book cover of Over and Under the Snow

From my first glide into the “frosted fresh and white” woods of this book, I fell in love with Kate Messner’s expertly crafted, sensory text that reveals the “secret kingdom” hidden under the snow—the subnivean zone, where animals and critters of all kind scuttle and nest. Neal’s spacious woodcut-like illustrations capture the experience wonderfully but don’t crowd the story out with unnecessary detail—a quality I especially admire as an illustrator. This book is one I return to again and again to experience the real-world beauty and wonder of nature. 


Who am I?

Growing up with the four seasons in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota has influenced my writing and illustrations more than just about anything else. Pairing reading with hikes and outdoor play is something I loved in childhood, when my grandma Marvel would read picture books and take us grandkids on walks in nature to reenact them, along with recounting her own childhood stories of surviving in the north woods of Wisconsin. To this day I love to take reading along on walks, in hammocks, while canoeing, and by the campfire; to escape into story worlds while basking in the great outdoors.


I wrote...

Home in the Woods

By Eliza Wheeler,

Book cover of Home in the Woods

What is my book about?

A tar-paper shack deep in the woods doesn’t look like much of a home to six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their newly single mother, but it’s all they have. Starting over in this new place feels like a struggle at first, but each season in the woods reveals wonderous resources and marvelous delights. The family works together through hard times and discovers that good things take root when nurtured and given time to grow. This picture book pays homage to a family’s resilience as they discover the meaning of home. 

The Way Past Winter

By Kiran Millwood Hargrave,

Book cover of The Way Past Winter

From the moment I opened this book I could feel the prickling tension of something about to happen. And when it does, prompting Mila and her sisters to set off on a quest through this wild and wintry world, you just know it’s going to be epic. With treacherous terrain and overwhelming odds, The Way Past Winter fully lives up to its promise of grand adventure.


Who am I?

I’ve always been drawn to epic journeys. From Jules Verne’s stories exploring the lengths, depths, and breadths of the known world, to little hobbits trekking across vast fantasy scapes in order to steal from dragons, something about the huge proportions of these grand adventures has always drawn me in. Perhaps it was no wonder, then, that my first book Nevertell was set in Siberia: a place so big that its sheer size tested the limits of my imaginings. If you, too, are drawn to sprawling, epic journeys, then these five fabulous recommendations are for you.


I wrote...

Nevertell

By Katharine Orton,

Book cover of Nevertell

What is my book about?

Born in a Soviet prison camp, Lina has never seen the world outside until the night she escapes with her best friend, Bogdan. As the pair journey across a snowy Russian wilderness, they are pursued by a vengeful sorceress and her pack of shadow wolves. The children will need every ounce of bravery - and a little sorcery of their own - if they are to survive…

Lemonade in Winter

By Emily Jenkins, G. Brian Karas (illustrator),

Book cover of Lemonade in Winter: A Book about Two Kids Counting Money

This sister-brother duo decides to earn money by having a lemonade stand, but how can they make their venture a success on an icy winter day? Advertising, entertainment, and a supportive neighborhood all come into play, but what will happen if the two don’t turn a profit? This sweet, citrusy book is especially engaging for kids learning coin values and addition.  


Who am I?

I have never picked a peck of pickles, but I have been a crossing guard, pet-sitter, and professional gift-wrapper. I’ve worked in department stores, banks, libraries, colleges, and even a middle school cafeteria. Every job has taught me about the value of hard work, allowed me to pursue a passion, and inspired me to connect with all kinds of people. My current job - picture book author - is my favorite! I write to empower and inspire readers with new ideas and encourage them, like my characters, to succeed by maintaining a positive attitude and a growth mindset!


I wrote...

Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle

By Cathy Ballou Mealey, Kelly Collier (illustrator),

Book cover of Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle

What is my book about?

Slow, sleepy Sloth and speedy, spunky Squirrel want to buy a tandem bicycle so they can go fast on fun adventures together. But the fancy bike is expensive! The two loveable, unlikely friends get jobs to earn bike money, but find they need lots of pickle packing practice. Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle celebrates teamwork and ingenuity, offering many opportunities to discuss perseverance and growth mindset with humor and heart.

Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring

By Kenard Pak,

Book cover of Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring

The unique style of this picture book is a pleasure to read aloud. You can use different voices as the young boy walks through the countryside with his dog and says goodbye to each of the signs of winter and then how the seasons reply. In effect, you get this wonderful conversation between nature and the boy from the birds chirping in the branches, to the ice melting on the babbling brook.

Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring is the ideal book for highlighting the dramatic contrasts between the season of winter and spring. The perfect choice for a fun storytime themed around the seasons.


Who am I?

As a child I was always fascinated by nature, especially the way the trees changed throughout the seasons. This may be what stimulated my love of growing and caring for bonsai trees and why I have written many books about the seasons myself. Now as an author, ex-primary school teacher, parent, and grandparent I am aware of the importance of encouraging other children to have this same interest and fascination in nature and the ever-changing seasons. I believe it fosters an awareness of how the world is far bigger than themselves and everything is interconnected. I hope these books will inspire young mind’s love and understanding of the natural world.


I wrote...

Rabbit's Spring Gift

By Anita Loughrey, Lucy Barnard (illustrator),

Book cover of Rabbit's Spring Gift

What is my book about?

Rabbit’s Spring Gift has a theme of sibling rivalry set around the concept of spring. Rabbit wants to give her mum a thank you gift, but her brother tries to out-do her at every turn. The book intertwines family relationships and the changing seasons.

At the back of the book there are seasonal activities, crafts and discussion points to help develop a child’s understanding of the natural world. Rabbit’s Spring Gift can be used in schools, nurseries, and at home to support topics on the seasons and animals. The gorgeous illustrations give the perfect ahhh-factor.

Stína

By Lani Yamamoto,

Book cover of Stína

This is a book that communicates a sense of childhood resilience that I adore, the style of illustration is paired-back and minimal with an aesthetic that is evocative and nostalgic. The story of a child who can’t bare the cold speaks to my own aversion to cold weather. Yamamoto depicts a child who is inventive and brave and overcomes her aversion by creating her own solutions to the challenges she faces and eventually she goes on to embrace the world. With diagrams and recipes, this book is a wonderful way of promoting intelligence and the creativity to solve one’s own problems.


Who am I?

I adore depictions of the natural world, I've always been fascinated by how humanity interacts, describes and catalogues birds and animals. I’ve collected books on birds for as long as I can remember and sought solace in the golden hues of the gardens and parks of my childhood. My own book is a reflection on what can be described as ‘queer nature writing’, the exploration of an environment that does not judge our identity or gender. The motivation of all my work is to challenge injustice in subtle and surprising ways and my ongoing mission to share my work from Pansy Boy, The Pansy Project, and Birds Can Fly


I wrote...

Pansy Boy

By Paul Harfleet,

Book cover of Pansy Boy

What is my book about?

Pansy Boy is a picture book told in rhymed couplets, a young boy tackles homophobia in school by planting pansies at the site of homophobic attacks, taking strength from the natural world and flowers he loves. The power of his actions empowers his school to value what is delicate and different. The book comes to life in vivid graphic art and comes complete with a personal field guide to the flowers and birds included in its pages.

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

By Joyce Sidman,

Book cover of Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

Narrowing down just one of Joyce Sidman’s poetry collections as ‘their best’ is truly a monumental task, but Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold is certainly high on the list! Whether it’s Tundra Swans dreaming of “ice-blue sky and yodel of night” or a leaping, laughing snowflake with “lace sprouting from fingertips,” all the subjects of Joyce’s poems are rendered in elegant yet relatable text while Rick Allen’s linoleum print illustrations capture the ethereal tone of the book.


Who am I?

Ever since my parents gave me a copy of Dorothy Aldis’ The Secret Place and Other Poems, I have enjoyed a lifelong love of poetry. Now, as a traditionally-published children’s author, I have had numerous books and poems published over the years, including books that began as poems, like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) and Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021). My poems can be found in various anthologies including The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children's Books, 2015).


I wrote...

Flashlight Night

By Matt Forrest Esenwine, Fred Koehler (illustrator),

Book cover of Flashlight Night

What is my book about?

Flashlight Night is an ode to the power of imagination and the wonder of books. Three children use a flashlight to light a path around their backyard at night; in the flashlight’s beam another world looms. Our heroes encounter spooky woods, a fearsome tiger, a time-forgotten tomb, an Egyptian god, a sword-fighting pirate, and a giant squid. With ingenuity, they vanquish all, then return to their treehouse—braver, closer, and wiser than before—to read the books that inspired their adventure.

The Thing about Yetis

By Vin Vogel,

Book cover of The Thing about Yetis

You’ve never seen a Yeti as cute as the one in Vin Vogel’s charming The Thing About Yetis. Everyone assumes that Yetis love winter and cold weather activities, but what do they do for the rest of the year? Readers will learn all sorts of things they never knew about these mysterious creatures in this cozy read. When deciding between a Yeti, Bigfoot, or a Sasquatch in If I Had a Gryphon I went for the Canadian option (Sasquatch), but I’m so glad to see a great Yeti book!

Who am I?

When I worked at a children’s bookstore I noticed there were tons of books about dragons and unicorns, but not a lot of picture books about other kinds of mythological creatures. I thought this was strange, especially since Harry Potter was so popular and those books were full of magical creatures. I have always loved pets and mythology, so I thought maybe I could write a primer on magical pet care. I also noticed how much the kids at storytime loved rhyming books, so I put all of these things together and If I Had a Gryphon was born!


I wrote...

If I Had a Gryphon

By Vikki VanSickle, Cale Atkinson (illustrator),

Book cover of If I Had a Gryphon

What is my book about?

Dragons and unicorns get a lot of love in picture books, but what about gryphons and krakens and chupacabras? This delightful picture book imagines what it would be like to take care of 20 magical creatures drawn from mythology and lore from around the world. When a kitten sneezes it’s adorable, but when a dragon sneezes? DISASTER! Kids and adults will love this primer on magical pet care featuring clever rhyming text and hilarious illustrations.

Winter, White and Wicked

By Shannon Dittemore,

Book cover of Winter, White and Wicked

It is hard for me to pick only one character from this book that I’d recruit for my crew because they each bring something different to the table. Sylvie’s tenacious spirit, Kyn’s sweet loyalty, Mars’s passion, and Hyla’s bravery all could prove useful. This book was a wild ride set in a world so different from most fantasies I’ve read, but it left me with four new friends in these characters.


Who am I?

I once thought I was broken, because I became so invested in the characters I read about. I carried them with me out into the real world, where their struggles kept me from focusing on my own tasks. Then I learned this connection is a feature of reading, not a bug. While some people collect book boy/girl-friends–and I do enjoy swooning over a love interest–I am more drawn to those characters I’d want to share a rum with or meet for a beer. Authentic characters show us we’re not alone and inspire us to grow. They become so much more to us than mere words on the page.


I wrote...

On These Black Sands

By Vanessa Rasanen,

Book cover of On These Black Sands

What is my book about?

An awkward stowaway. A troubled pirate captain. Is she the key to his quest or will she be his ruin? 

In a world of secrets and legends, a lost dagger may be the key to saving a nation. But it will take far more than wit and a cutlass to retrieve it. Can a runaway heir and a pirate work together--or will their secrets drown all hope? An enchanting tale of deceit, magic, and love on the high seas perfect for fans of Adrienne Young, Tricia Levenseller, and Danielle L. Jensen.

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