Winter. When the temperature drops and the icy wind howls, there is nothing cozier than snuggling up under a blanket with your children and reading stories together. Add in some candles or twinkle lights? Gezellig!
I usually start our day with picture books and read-alouds, and we all treasure these sweet times together. Especially when it’s too cold to go outside. Which is often, by the way, since despite living in Canada, I think that anything below freezing is too cold. Winters stretch long around here.
In anticipation of the cozy season ahead, I’ve compiled a list of more than 100 winter and holiday themed picture books (plus a handful of wonderful novels), organized by theme/occasion. These books are perfect to read aloud together!
- Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre
- No Two Alike by Keith Baker
- Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
- The Snow Knows by Jennifer McGrath
- Tracks in the Snow by Wong Herbert Lee
- Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart and Constance R. Bergum
- Who’s Been Here? A Tale in Tracks by Fran Hodgkins
- Winter Is Coming by Tony Johnston – This is one of my all-time favourite picture books in the history of ever. My girls also beg to read it again and again. It’s a sweet story about a little girl and her nature journal and the animals she observes in the forest.
- Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft – This is such a wonderful book about what happens to the animals in wintertime.
- Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak – We love all of Kenard Pak’s books. The illustrations are gorgeous.
- Owl Moon by Jane Yolen – We already loved this book, but after I went owl banding last year, I fell in love with it even more!
- Before Morning by Joyce Sidman
- Big Snow by Jonathan Bean
- First Snow by Nancy Viau
- Snow by Marion Dane Bauer
- Snow Day by Margaret McNamara
- Snowflakes Fall by Patricia MacLachlan
- The Biggest Snowman Ever by Elizabeth Bennett
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- Snowball Soup by Mercer Mayer – My girls love this book.
- Bunny Slopes by Claudia Rueda
- Penguin’s Skating Party by Dana Regan
- Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester
- The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier – A Canadian classic!
- The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden – This is living history at its best. It’s the Second World War and Piet has an important task: leading two neighbour children safely over the border of Holland into Belgium. I can’t read this book without crying.
Christian Books about Christmas
- Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
- Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer
- Joy to the World by Tomie DePaola
- Mary’s Christmas Story by Teresa Olive
- Stable in Bethlehem: A Christmas Counting Book by Joy N. Hulme
- The Berenstain Bears and the Christmas Angel by Mike Berenstain
- The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus’ Birth by Dandi Daley Mackall
- The King’s Christmas List by Eldon Johnson
- The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie DePaola
- The Stable Cat’s Christmas by Christina Vrba
- The Perfect Christmas Pageant by Joyce Meyer
- The Very First Christmas (The Beginner’s Bible)
- The Very First Christmas by Jan and Mike Berenstain
- The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado – This is such a sweet story.
- The Joy of Giving by Jan and Mike Berenstain – My girls quote this book all year long.
- The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston – This is another one of those books that always makes me cry!
Secular Books about Christmas
- A Whisper in the Snow by Kate Westerlund
- Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
- Clifford’s Winter Holiday Readers (set of five books)
- Finding Christmas by Lezlie Evans
- Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
- Lucy’s Christmas by Donald Hall
- Night Tree by Eve Bunting
- Snow by Walter de la Mere
- The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree by Jan and Mike Berenstain
- The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale About the Rockefeller Center Tree by David Rubel
- The Christmas Visitors by Karel Hayes
- The Christmas Wind by Stephanie Simpson McLellan
- The Great Spruce by John Duvall
- The Money We’ll Save by Brock Cole
- The Perfect Christmas Present by Alexa Tewksbury
- The Poky Little Puppy’s First Christmas by Justine Korman
- The Twelve Days of Christmas by LeUyen Pham
- A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert and Anita Lobel – This book is included in our “20 Favourite Picture Books” list, which you can find here.
- Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder – Because we love all things Little House!
- Frosty the Snowman by Steve Nelson – This is my four-year old’s pick.
- The Berenstain Bears’ Old-Fashioned Christmas by Stan and Jan Berenstain – We love Berenstain Bears. And old-fashioned things.
- Biscuit’s Hanukkah by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
- Chanukah Lights by Michael J. Rosen
- Light the Menorah by Jannie Ho
- Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon and Tanya Simon
- Story of Hanukkah by Susanna Davidson
- The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes by Linda Glaser
- The Night Before Hanukkah by Natasha Wing
- P. Bear’s New Year’s Party: A Counting Book by Paul Owen Lewis
- Squirrel’s New Year Resolution by Pat Miller
- The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen – This book is on my wishlist!
Chinese New Year
We usually head to Toronto for Chinese New Year. This year, we’re looking forward to reading these books and learning more about the celebration. I can’t wait to write all about it in February!
Once upon a time, we went to Wiarton and saw Willie. Willie’s the little rodent who predicts spring around these parts. Although I don’t put much stock in his weather forecasts, it was pretty neat to see him. If you want to learn more about Groundhog Day, here’s a list of books to read aloud:
- Groundhog Day by Gail Gibbons
- Groundhog’s Dilemma by Kristen Remenar
- Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather by Bruce Koscielniak
- Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub
- Grumpy Groundhog by Maureen Wright
- Arthur’s Great Big Valentine by Lillian Hoban
- Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
- Fancy Nancy Heart to Heart by Jane O’Connor
- Happy Valentine’s Day, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz
- Happy Valentine’s Day, Curious George by H.A. Rey
- Little Critter: Just a Little Love by Mercer Mayer
- Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda
- Snowy Valentine by David Petersen
- The Berenstain Bears’ Funny Valentine by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- The Berenstain Bears’ Valentine Blessings by Mike Berenstain
- The Berenstain Bears Valentine Party by Jan and Mike Berenstain
- Valentines are for Saying I Love You by Margaret Wummer and Amy Sutherland
- Clifford’s Valentines by Norman Bridwell – My girls adore Clifford.
On our wishlist:
- The Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting – This looks like such a sweet book!
Other Favorite Books for Winter
- A Surprise for Tommy by Ella Grove
- Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows
- Three Orphan Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown
- Winter on the Farm by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Our very favourites:
- Owl at Home and Frog and Toad All Year, both by Arnold Lobel – I love the quirky characters and the sweet illustrations in Arnold Lobel’s books. We read these two books over and over again.
- Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews – This book is included in our “20 Favourite Picture Books” list, which you can find here.
- A Little House Christmas Treasury by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodges
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
- Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner – On our wishlist.
- The Light at Tern Rock by Julia L. Sauer
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – A classic!
- The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
What are YOUR favourite winter-themed books? Feel free to share in the comment section below!