Winter really is the reader’s season, isn’t it? There’s nothing better than being snowed in with a stack of books and a cup of hot cocoa! Each year I enjoy filling our book basket with our favourite winter picture books, as well as adding fun new finds.
If you are looking for ideas for great winter picture books to enjoy with your children, check out what we’ve been enjoying this winter!
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Brave Irene – William Steig
When Irene’s dressmaker mother is too sick to deliver a gown to the duchess in time for the ball, Irene bravely volunteers to weather a snow storm in order to save the day. She faces many difficulties and trials on her errand, making this is a great story of perseverance!
Big Snow – Jonathan Bean
We loved Jonathan Bean’s account of his homeschool life in This is My Home, This is My School, and we love Big Snow too!
Around the Year – Elsa Beskov
This is a lovely book of poems centred around the months of the year. It’s so beautifully illustrated!
The Hat – Jan Brett
Jan Brett has quite a few snowy books that are great for winter, including some lovely Christmas themed ones. The Hat and The Mitten (listed below) are definitely my favourites though. The Hat is the story of a hedgehog named Hedgie (who also appears in another of Brett’s books that we love, Hedgie’s Surprise) who gets his head stuck in a wool sock that has blown off a clothesline. Poor Hedgie is then laughed at by his many animal friends, but Hedgie never misses a beat and simply pretends that the sock is his new hat — you’ll have to read the story to find out Hedgie ends up having the last laugh in the end!
The Mitten – Jan Brett
The Mitten is a beautifully illustrated and adapted version of a Ukrainian folktale featuring Nicki, a young boy, who loses the snow white mittens his grandmother knit for him. The mitten is then found one by one by a whole menagerie of animals who think it makes the perfect cozy spot and all squeeze in.
Katy and the Big Snow – Virginia Lee Burton
Lovers of trucks & transportation and fans of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel will enjoy this story about Katy the snow plow who saves the day by digging the city out after a blizzard.
The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats
This children’s classic is a must read for preschoolers! It features Peter, a young boy who enjoys a day of adventure in the snow doing all the winter things that preschoolers love best: making bootprints and snow angels in the snow, hitting a tree with a stick, and even trying to put a snowball into his pocket to save for the next day! While the story looks and sounds very ordinary to parents of preschoolers today, it was actually quite ground breaking in the 1960’s when it was first published as it featured both a black child and an urban setting, which was quite uncommon (or even unheard of) in picture books of the day. If you love this book, you might enjoy reading more about Ezra Jack Keats and the creation of The Snow Day in the book A Poem for Peter.
Knitty Kitty – David Elliot
This cute book was new to us this year, and my toddler loved it. It is light on text, so good for short attention spans! Its about a mama kitten who knits warm woollens to keep her little kittens warm and toasty — what will keep them warm after they use up their hats & mittens on the snow man? Knitty Kitty will!
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost
Beautifully illustrated edition of Frost’s famous poem. Check out this chalk art tutorial inspired by the art in this particular edition and have some fun with it!
The Selfish Giant – Oscar Wilde
There are quite a few illustrated versions of this classic tale, and while I haven’t seen all of them, we really enjoyed the one illustrated by S. Saelic Gallagher.
Owl Moon – Jane Yolen
This lovely picture book is written almost as a poem, and tells the story of a young girl who goes for a night time walk with her father in hopes of encountering an owl. We really loved the illustrations of winter landscapes in this book, and now we want to go owling too!
Snowflake Bentley– Jacqueline Briggs Martin
This is a children’s biography of a scientist who photographed and studied thousands of snowflakes. Its a great inspiration for both scientific inquiry and a love of nature.
The Secret Life of a Snowflake – Kenneth Libbrecht
This book was written by a professor of physics and is full of breathtaking photographs of snowflakes. It is full of information on how snowflakes are formed, the states of water, the geometry of snowflakes, and even the right way to make a paper snowflake!
The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder – Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, Ph.D
This is another great book for exploring the science of snow. Learn all about snow crystals, and even how to catch your own for observation using this book.
Stranger in the Woods: A Photographic Fantasy – Carl S. Sams & Jean Stoick
This story is illustrated with amazing photographs of animals in the woods.
Winter Story (Brambly Hedge) – Jill Barklem
First of all, if you haven’t gotten your hands on the Brambly Hedge books, you really need to! There is a book for each season, featuring the mice of the hedge who live within the roots and trunks of trees. These little mice are always very busy, and the details of the illustrations show rows of jams, pickles and preserves stored for the winter months. It’s a darling book!
Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow – Phoebe Gilman
Phoebe Gilman is always popular around here, and her Jillian Jiggs books are no exception! These books have a pleasant cadence and with their rhyming words are fun to read. Join Jillian in her adventures while she and her friends create a whole new world out of the freshly fallen snow — all the while Jillian slowly loses her warm winter clothing! What will her mother say?!
The Gruffalo’s Child – Julia Donaldson
My toddlers, preschoolers, and even older kiddos have LOVED The Gruffalo & The Gruffalo’s Child! Simple, rhythmic text that is fun to read and recite from memory, I often hear someone repeat “Aha! Oho! A track in the snow! Whose is this track and where does it go?” when someone discovers animal foot prints in the fresh snow.
Sadie and the Snowman – Allen Morgan & Brenda Clark
This is one of my personal favourite winter picture books, and my kids love it too! Brenda Clark is the illustrator of quite a few of our favourite Canadian picture books. Sadie and the Snowman is the story of a little girl who tries to make her beloved snowman last through the winter while animals continually eat the pieces off of his face and the sun gradually works away at melting the snow. Sadie shields her snowman from the sun, and keeps remaking him from the snow that is left until she discovers the secret to making her snowman last through the summer to the next winter.
Do you have any favourite winter picture books that I’ve missed? Share them in the comments below, I’d love to check them out!