I had a hard time with this list because there are many sub-categories of winter which could fill out their OWN Top 10 lists. I could have lists on snow, on winter animals, or winter sports. There’s just a lot of fun to be had in this season. And let’s not forget some of the fall books that overlap here for super great reading like Snowsong Whistling or Waiting for Winter. Be that as it may, we have to start somewhere, so here I go. Books that try to be fairly general on the season:
Winter Story by Jill Barklem. As always, Jill Barklem’s Brambly Hedge books top my list of seasonal must-haves. The Snow Ball is coming!! Enjoy the fantastic preparations…
I Like Winter by Lois Lenski. Why is it that all the best books are out of print?! Like Barklem, Lenski’s seasonal books deserve to be on your shelf. Keep your eye out while you’re thrifting around!
Grandmother Winter by Phyllis Root. A new find for me this year and one I love oh so much! Old Grandmother Winter (in person) is creating a beautiful winter quilt to wrap around the world. Such awesome illustrations here!
The Mitten by Jan Brett. Jan Brett really shines in winter. It’s because all her Scandinavian art and detail are in full glory. The Mitten is probably her best-selling book and comes in a board version as well. Don’t forget to check out The Hat, Trouble with Trolls, the Gingerbread stories etc. I love the peekaboo frames that reveal the upcoming plot.
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. If I would’ve filled out a Top 11 Author/Illustrators, Burton would have filled out that last slot. I really, really love and appreciate her books; my boys do too. What’s more, the treasury Mike Mulligan and More: Four Classic Stories by Virginia Lee Burton, has got to be one of the best bargains ever in children’s books. For a little more than what would be $3 a book, you get four of the best stories that AREN’T abridged, with complete artwork, in one nice hardback cover.
Snow Moon by Nicholas Brunelle.
We discovered this one last year and we loved it! The story is super simple and solemn and lovely. And there’s a touch of whimsy at the very end that makes you wonder whether it was all just a dream or what. Very nice…
The Tomten and the Fox by Astrid Lindgren. The author who brought us Pippi Longstocking has quite a name in the picture book world too. This book, like it’s companion The Tomten are wonderfully told in slow, somber, quiet voices… it’s almost as if you can feel the snow falling outside when you do it this way… isn’t that right Reynard?
Ollie’s Ski Trip by Elsa Beskow. Good old Beskow delivers again. I love the weepy gray thaw lady who is trying to elude King Winter and Ollie on his brand new pair of skis.
The Race of the Birkebeiners by Lise Lunge-Larsen. This is a fantastic story with fantastic Mary Azarian woodcuts. Something about winter makes us want to drink up everything of Nordic countries we can… this is a historically accurate book that has adventure slipped all through it.
The Story of the Snow Children by Sibylle von Olfers. I admit that my boys didn’t really jump with joy over this book; they listen to it just fine and don’t complain, but what really makes it special is something that little girls will see: a birthday tea party, princesses, a Snow Queen, oh yeah… they’ll eat this up.
“Circling the moon, they brushed off the light with a touch of their wings.”