Kiddosphere: Snow Day Stories: Winter Books
With the winter season being officially underway, there’s no better time to break out my favorite new and not-so-new books about winter:
It’s always a happy day in Warrenton Youth Services when a new April Pulley Sayre book is on the shelf. Her magnificent photo-rich picture books have made her a favorite in our team (her non-photo books are also fantastic!). Best in Snow celebrates the wonder and beauty (and science!) of a winter wonderland, from birds resting on branches, the winter water cycle and more. Her most recent book, Full of Fall, was a patron and staff favorite (fans will be delighted to know that she has TWO photo-illustrated books coming out in 2018!)
In the Snow is a charming board book about all the fun you can have in the snow, including sledding and making snowmen!
One of my favorite 2017 reads (saving those for a future post!) is the recently published biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. While Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder is not perfect, it’s an intriguing, eye-opening, heartbreaking, maddening, and even occasionally funny exploration of Wilder, her legacy, the truths and fictions of her series, her Libertarian politics, and her contentious relationship with her daughter, who shaped and edited the series (more on all this in the future!). After reading it, I longed to reread The Long Winter; although I’m not an unconditional fan of the series for several reasons, there are a few books in the series that I do enjoy. It’s hard to say that I *enjoy* The Long Winter, because it describes such a harsh and dismal period. On the other hand, it (to me) represents a noticeable growth and maturity in Wilder’s writings, and remains a highlight in the series.
The Poky Little Puppy series was introduced in 1942, but its popularity (and adorableness) is timeless. The Poky Little Puppy’s Wonderful Winter Day was originally published in 1982 and was recently republished with new illustrations for the character’s 75th birthday (it was out of print for several decades); this fun little story about the puppy and his siblings romping in the snow is a sure bet for toddlers and preschoolers.
If you have a toddler or preschooler transportation fan, you need to check out Ride the Big Machines in Winter. This large board book follows a young boy as he drives a snowplow, salt truck and even a Zamboni!
There’s lots to do on the farm before winter comes! From planting and growing crops in the spring, dealing with the heat in the summer, and reaping the harvest in the fall, a farm is busy year round. Finally, it is winter, and things slow down just a bit. Sleep Tight, Farm: A Farm Prepares to Winter is a great read for a quiet winter read aloud.
You can’t have a post about winter books without including The Snowy Day. First published in 1962, this Caldecott Medal classic represents a milestone in children’s literature, as it was rare to have an African-American child featured in a picture book published by a mainstream press. This darling story of a young boy making snow tracks, snow angels, snowballs, and eventually returning to his mother and his warm home continues to entertain young listeners. A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day is a beautiful companion read for older children and adult fans.
Joyce Sidman is one of my favorite poets currently writing for children; her collections combine evocative poetry, illustrations and scientific facts that make them stand out in a very crowded field. Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold focuses on how animals survive winter and the curious life that can be found in the deep snow.
Winter Dance is one of my favorite 2017 picture books, and tailor made for winter story times and curriculum tie-ins. A fox asks other animals how they are preparing for winter; unfortunately, their ways would not be very useful for the fox! Finally, he meets another fox, who helpfully (and playfully) demonstrates how foxes deal with winter. A great read aloud and superb illustrations–what could be better?
For program highlights and staff suggestions for children and young adult readers, make Kiddosphere your source for all the latest on what to read and what to do for kids!
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library