Kid Picks: Picture Books for Snowy Days
Updated: Apr 28
We finally got a little snow in my part of the country! While it wasn't exactly a winter wonderland, it was enough to cover the ground and to shape into some miniature snowmen and a few snowballs. My family enjoyed our morning in the cold before coming inside to warm up with hot cocoa-- and winter-themed books, of course!
I love the beauty of winter, whether I'm looking at pristine blankets of snow across a field or inspecting the delicate intricacy of a single snowflake. One thing all of the children's picture books I'm highlighting today have in common is gorgeous illustrations that capture some of the magic of snow, ice, and the winter season. Through photography, watercolors, and other mediums, the authors and illustrators create the wintry world on the page for you and your family to enjoy.
In Snow by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lauren Stringer, we feel the fun and fascination with a snow day through the eyes of a young girl, her friend, and her grandmother. This book really captures the excitement of stepping out into the snow for a winter adventure.
Winter Eyes, written and illustrated by Douglas Florian, is a collection of poems all about the coldest of the seasons. The 28 poems, some funny, others more serious, explore how we use all of senses to experience the best parts of winter (sledding) and the less desirable aspects (runny noses).
The next book on my list is a favorite. No Two Alike, written and illustrated by Keith Baker, is a delightful story told in rhyming verse. Two bright red birds discover that snowflakes are not the only unique creations in their snow-filled forest.
The Big Snow, written and illustrated by Berta Hader and Elmer Hader, is a classic children's book. The winner of the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 1949, The Big Snow shows how all of the animals of the forest prepare for a long winter. This picture book has a bit more text so may be better for slightly older children, but all kids can enjoy the detailed pictures.
Animals also take centerstage in Best in Snow by April Sayre. This book features amazing color photos of woodland creatures in snowy landscapes. The non-fiction work features simple rhyming text for the littlest readers as well as more thorough passages explaining the science of nature in winter.
Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold also combines poetry and prose. The collection of poems by Joyce Sidman appears alongside lovely print illustrations created by Rick Allen. The 12 poems about how animals survive the winter months both above and below the snow are paired with expository text explaining the scientific terms for what the animals are doing.
I did not know the story of Wilson Bentley, the first known photographer of snowflakes, until I read the Caldecott Medal winner Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian. This biography shares how Bentley turned his childhood fascination with snow and winter into a lifelong passion and calling.
Caldecott Medal honors were also bestowed on the wordless picture book Wolf in the Snow written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Readers follow the story of a little girl and a young wolf pup who each get lost in a snowstorm and need help from their families-- and each other-- to find their way home.
I'll wrap up with a couple of well-known classics still deserving of a spot on your winter bookshelves. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is also a wordless picture book which lets the reader imagine the details of a delightful adventure. A little boy builds a snowman which comes alive at night. The boy shows the snowman around his house, then the snowman takes the boy on a magical journey through the night sky.
And one of my favorite winter-themed books of all, The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats. This Caldecott Medal winner is about a young boy named Peter who goes out to explore his neighborhood after the season's first snowfall. The simple story has captured the hearts of generations of readers since it came out in 1962.
Fans of The Snowy Day can learn more about its creation and its creator with A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney. This picture book is a biography of Ezra Jack Keats and tells how he overcame personal hardship to reach artistic success and to become the author who wrote the first mainstream book to feature an African American child.
These winter-themed books are some of my family's favorites, but this list is by no means exhaustive! What are some titles that you and the children in your life enjoy during this snowy season? I'd love to hear what you're reading! Use the Log In/Sign Up button at the top of the page to receive email alerts about new blog posts and to share your comments. You can also follow me on Instagram @kara.c.white. I post there frequently about new blog entries and all things bookish. Best wishes for further reading!