winter books for kids, winter picture books, winter chapter books, winter novel in verse

Top 10 Winter Books for Kids

Winter Books and Activities for Kids

We are in the midst of a blizzard so it made sense to pull out all our winter books as we are trapped inside for two days. I’m not a fan of winter themed books. You know, the books that are tagged as winter and are usually boring with a lot of hibernation going on.

Nemo, blizzard,



I’d rather read a book that just happens to include winter but has a way of inveigling its way into my mind and heart. Books you remember long past when winter is over. These books do that for me. I remember some from my own childhood. Others have special associations. What are your favorite winter books? Please share!

Favorite Winter Books From Readers

Thank you so much to readers who offer up their very favorite winter books for kids!

Jen Fischer recommends Snow Sounds and Trouble with Trolls.


MaryAnne of Mama Smiles loves Red Sled. (Wouldn’t you know it? There are two Red Sled books. One is by Lita Judge, the other is by Patricia Thomas. I am guessing it’s the one by Patricia Thomas).


Susan Marx of Read Aloud Guide suggests Lois Elhert’s Snowballs. She says, “Engaging text and illustrations makes a snow family come alive in Lois Ehlert’s “Snowballs”. Young children learn how to make a snow family using many different objects. This book is sure to foster children’s creativity as well as encourage them to bundle up and spend fun time outside during the winter. See “Help Me Get Ready To Read” for other wintry Happy Reading Aloud!”


@granolasusan on Twitter recommends Cynthia Rylant’s Snow.

 Catherine of Story Snug loves Bear Snores On and One Snowy Night.


Bernadette from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas loves Snow by P. D. Eastman.

Erica of What Do We Do All Day recommends chapter books Icefall and Breadcrumbs.


Favorite Winter Books for Kids

1. Best Winter Inner City Picture Book

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Hands down, this is our favorite winter picture book. Never has the inner city seemed more appealing. Since two of my kids spent a few years in the city, this is especially fun for us to see Brownstones and snow piled high. Life was like this during the big storm when we lived in the South End of Boston.

2. Best Rhyming Winter Picture Book

Snow by P. D. Eastman and Roy McKie

As my kids get older, sledding is one of the great pleasures of winter. These days we live near a perfect sledding hill. Snow not only conveys the joys of winter for kids, but does it in exuberant rhyme!

3. Best Winter Suburban Picture Book

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

We love Burton’s picture books, particularly Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, but even more so now that I’ve discovered we lived in the same town! Check out her biography. I can just imagine Katy or other bulldozers like Katy shoveling our suburb out, much like Katy did for Virginia nearly a hundred years ago in Newton Centre too!

4. Best Explore Winter Picture Book

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Yolen’s picture book reads like poetry, describing a magical time looking for owls at night as a father/daughter outing. May all fathers be inspired to do special father/daughter dates like this one!

 5. Best Snowman Picture Book

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

At our first Boston Pops Holiday Concert for Kids, a special guest — a soprano — read The Snowman aloud while images of each page were projected onto a huge screen. She sang too, of course.

6. Best Winter Novel in Verse

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

Rose’s debut novel in verse is stunning. May is a young girl who gets hired out to distant neighbors. She is forced to survive a snowstorm alone in a tiny sod house with hungry wolves nearby. Think Laura Ingalls Wilder but more honest and raw. In verse too!

7. Best Old Fashioned Chapter Book

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

My girls refuse to read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books which kills me. I loved them as a child. The Long Winter seemed so foreign to me as a child growing up in Southern California, both the concept of winter and the bygone era of homesteading in the 1880s. Imagine seven months of blizzards! We can barely make it through two days!

8. Best Unforgettable Biographical Chapter Book

The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia by Esther Rudomin Hautzig

A haunting true story of Hautzig’s family who was forced into exile in Siberia during WWII for being Jewish. They were the lucky ones, in retrospect, though life wasn’t easy. On every biting cold day as I zip up my winter coat, I remember the scene in The Endless Steppe where Ester is packing up to leave and decides to stuff in her winter coat even though her suitcase is stuffed full. Imagine life in Siberia without it.

9. Best Animal Winter Chapter Book Turned into a Movie

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

Some old-fashioned chapter books have, thankfully, managed to stay in my kids’ good graces. This is one of them. If you’ve seen the movie, know that it deviated tremendously from the book and should be considered a crime. Mr. Popper’s Penguins was named a Newbery Honor Book in 1939 and won the 1940 Young Reader’s Choice Award.

10. Best Newbery Wintry Chapter Book

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

In homage to Jean Craighead George who passed away last year at 92, I offer you her Newbery winning book. Jean grew up with the Kennedy clan but her life was less about politics and scandal and more about nature and adventure. Here’s a tribute to her:

“Julie of the Wolves,” which was also a finalist for the National Book Award, centers on a 13-year-old Eskimo girl, Miyax, or Julie as she is known in English. Fleeing an oppressive arranged marriage, she strikes out to live alone in the Alaskan wild. Her survival is aided by a family of wolves, with whom she learns to communicate via sound and gesture, much as Ms. George did during a trip to the Arctic to research the book. from The New York Times

I read this book in elementary school and I still remember it. The fiercely independent characters like Julie (or Miyax) and Sam Gribley of My Side of the Mountain greatly appealed to me, though I grew up in a suburban beach town. I wasn’t the only one who was inspired by her books. It seems that Robert Kennedy, Jr. became an environmental attorney due to her influence.

To view any book at Amazon, please click on image or go here to see at Barnes and Noble.

winter books for kids, winter picture books, winter chapter books, winter novel in verse

Rhododendron Thermometer

I use our Rhododendrons outside to gauge the weather. The tighter te leaves are curled up, the colder it is. This is a weather indicator my kids use. The leaves below mean coats, but not necessarily zipped up, hats and mittens optional … or at least this is how my kids dress for 30 to 40 degree Fahrenheit weather.

Rhododendron temperature thermometer, winter books for kidsThis is our Rhododendron in about 20 degree Fahrenheit weather.

Rhododendron temperature thermometer, winter books for kidsHere is about 40 degrees. Both the plant and my kids seem to think this is warm.

Thankfully, we haven’t had much sub-zero or single digit weather lately. When it’s that cold, the Rhododendron’s leaves are curled up tight.

animal snow tracks,

My husband sent me these tracks he found in our yard. What do you think? Rabbit tracks? We’re not sure …

Other winter activities for kids:

Cup Stacking 

Keeping Kids Active in Winter, Part 2

Keeping Kids Active in Winter

winter books for kids, kids winter books, winter picture books, winter chapter books

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Great list! Have you read “Red Sled”? That’s another favorite – perfect for little kids!
    maryanne recently posted…Teaching Kids Emotional IntelligenceMy Profile

  2. Wow you have a lot of snow !!! So many of these are our favorites, especially the Snowman and Owl Moon. I haven’t heard of Endless Steppe and look forward to reading it. Hope you thaw out soon. 🙂 I’ll be tweeting and google plussing this. Great List !! thanks Mia.
    Valarie recently posted…Family Book Festival: An Interview with Author/Illustrator Chris RobertsonMy Profile

  3. Thankyou for this great list, we also like The Snowy Day ( a friend just lent it to us, I didn’t know it before) and The Snowman.

    We love One Snowy Night and also Bear Snores On – both have lots of sleepy animals in 🙂
    Catherine recently posted…Bear Snores On by Karma WilsonMy Profile

  4. That is a lot of snow, but the rhododendrum thermometer is something new to me, but good o know. And you have included some of my favorite books here. I love it.
    Alex Baugh recently posted…WOW! An Award and…My Profile

  5. This is a fabulous list!

    Thank you!
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…With My Daughter to See Hilary Hahn at the Kennedy CenterMy Profile

  6. Erika

    Great list! I just purchased Owl Moon for my husband to read to our little girl. She’s only 6 months, but I know lots of owl walks are in our future!
    Erika recently posted…Five Unlikely but True Love Stories From the Animal KingdomMy Profile

  7. Alexandra

    To be honest I don’t know any English book for/about winter…The list you have provided sounds really good though so maybe next year I will read them with the little ones. Now I am sick and tired of winter and I want it to go away!!! 🙁
    Alexandra recently posted…Toothbrushes dramaMy Profile

  8. Great collection of books Mia, I see some favorites and also some new ones to read to my kids.
    Emily recently posted…Monday Meal Plan Feb 18My Profile

  9. Engaging text and illustrations makes a snow family come alive in Lois Ehlert’s “Snowballs”. Young children learn how to make a snow family using many different objects. This book is sure to foster children’s creativity as well as encourage them to bundle up and spend fun time outside during the winter. See “Help Me Get Ready To Read” for other wintry Happy Reading Aloud!

  10. Jeanette Nyberg

    I’d just really rather read about winter and look at the beautiful pictures than live in this coldness. Okay, I’m just saying that because today was miserable here in Chicago. This is a fun list, though, and I especially enjoyed looking up the word inveigling.
    Jeanette Nyberg recently posted…Hooray for Crayon Rubbings!My Profile

    • Hi Jeanette,
      We are a little tired of winter here too in Boston. Especially of snow removal!!! But if we have to live through winter, I’d rather be curled up inside snuggling and reading a book so I’m hoping my kids will too! They actually love winter and snow. Well, make that 2 out of 3. My son hates the cold. I hope your winter takes a turn for the better! Do you think we are half way through yet??! I heard we are getting more snow at the end of the week. No more snow days though please! We are already ending school during the last week of June!!!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Family Vacation in BostonMy Profile

  11. Great list, something for everyone and I am thrilled to see “The Long Winter” and “The Endless Steppe” made the cut. If I remember correctly you had a lot of suggestions to include “The Long Winter” and I suggested “The Endless Steppe” although maybe others did as well. Keep brave and warm as you face the rest of Winter – I am writing from Sunny Sydney!

    • Hi Emma,
      Was that you who suggested The Endless Steppe in our Google + KidLit communities? I wanted to thank you! I remember reading The Long Winter as a kid and everyone talked about Ingalls back then (The Harry Potter of its generation for girls) but I always felt like NO ONE read The Endless Steppe because we never discussed it and yet it really stuck with me. I have more vivid memories of The Endless Steppe (their potato party!) than I do of The Long Winter. So thank you! I felt like I was the only one who really loved The Endless Steppe back then! It was such a faded memory too, it felt almost like perhaps I had dreamt it. It’s nice to find kindred spirits who love the same books!!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Family Vacation in BostonMy Profile

  12. Great list–I love the individual themes within winter! I saw some old favorites, but also some that I’m not familiar with. I’m looking forward to checking the new ones out!
    Katrina recently posted…Local Event!! Stitching Resistance: The History of Chilean ArpillerasMy Profile

  13. Ann

    Great list! I am forgetting it is winter down here in sunny Florida! I love winter books! A chapter book in verse! I think I must check that out!!!

    Interesting about the Rhododendron leaves. I think I have noticed that the curl up in the cold!
    Ann recently posted…Favorite Books with FlapsMy Profile

    • Hi Ann,
      May B. is great! You’ll love it! I wish I took a photo of the Rhododendron in sub zero or single digit weather. Usually I am quite miserable and not in the mood to remove my gloves to get the shot but I shall do it the next chance I get to put that photo alongside. The leaves are so curled up they look like they are protesting the cold too! And the 40 degree leaves look practically like the 80+ degree leaves! Ready to party!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Family Vacation in BostonMy Profile

  14. For middle grade I also like Icefall and Breadcrumbs. Thanks for sharing at The Children’s Bookshelf. P.S. Your blog load speed is soooo much better!

  15. Awesome list. We love Owl Moon. I like how you have so many Vintage books on your list.
    Bethany recently posted…Zombie Kids Go Green Free TodayMy Profile

  16. What a great book list! I am going to pin this to remember! I have a Saturday linky party that I would love to have you participate in if you have the chance.
    KAryn recently posted…Why Homeschool? Guest Post Series~ JoelleMy Profile

  17. This is a great round-up of winter books! Thank you for sharing this with us. We wanted to let you know we will be featuring your post tomorrow on Share It Saturday at We will also be sharing with our Facebook followers. If you would like to stop by, here is the link:
    We always love to see your ideas on Share It Saturday!
    Colleen at
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