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  • Writer's pictureKara C White

13 Picture Books for Snowy Days

Kid Picks for the Winter Season!

I love the beauty of winter, whether I'm looking at pristine blankets of snow spread 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.

Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper, illustrated by Kenard Pak, calls on the reader to listen to the sounds and silence of the season. On a walk to her Grandma's house on a snowy day, Lina discovers ten ways to pay attention to what could easily be missed in the world around her. This story of a modern Arab American family invites mindfulness, reflection, and empathy.

In Snow by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lauren Stringer, we feel the fun and fascination of 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.

Poetry in two languages appears together in Iguanas in the Snow: And Other Winter Poems/ Iguanas en la Nieve: Y Otros Poemas de Invierno by Francisco X. Alarcón, illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez. A family frolic in the snow reminds the poet of the iguanas playing by his grandmother's house in Mexico. This book is the final installment of Alarcón's The Magical Cycle of the Seasons series.

Two Ojibway sisters set off to see the SkySpirits' midnight dance in Sky Sisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose and illustrated by Brian Deines. It's not easy to listen and wait, but the arrival of the northern lights fills the night sky with wonder. The richly colored illustrations provide a luminous background for a powerful story of family and sisterhood.

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.


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Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold 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 about it! Best wishes for further reading!


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