Winter can be a magical time of the year. There are amazing changes in our world, holidays to celebrate and snow! Did I mention snow? Kids love winter and if you ask them why their answer almost always includes the word snow. Why not use the natural love for winter to engage your kids in reading some wonderful books. Here’s my list for the best winter books for kids.
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The Best Winter Books About Snowmen
Since snow is what kids find so magical, and since building snowmen is what kids love to do in the snow – then its only fitting to have some great books about snow and snowmen!
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
Delightful is the best word I can think of to describe this book. Snowmen at Night takes you into the world snowmen and what they must do at night when we are all asleep. This book is a wonderful example of rhyme, without being over-the-top. There are also hidden pictures on each illustration which adds an extra special dose of fun when reading this book.
Students of all ages love this book! It’s a great introduction for a creative writing project too. After reading, students can create their own snowman and write about what he does at night.
If you love Snowmen at Night, then don’t miss the coordinating books that take snowmen into different seasons and activities. Snowmen at Work, Snowmen at Play, and Snowmen All Year are just as delightful.
If Picasso Painted a Snowman by Amy and Greg Newbold
This next snowman themed book is absolutely amazing! When we can connect one topic to another we can help our students build connections in their world. When you can use reading to connect to another area of your curriculum you’ve created a natural focus for a new lesson. This book, If Picasso Painted a Snowman, is wonderful way to engage children in learning about the art style of some very famous artists. The illustrator, Greg Newbold, does a brilliant job creating artistic snowmen in the styles of 12 different artists.
By imagining how famous artists would interpret a snowman, this book beautifully illustrates how we all see things a little differently. A fantastic book to connect your students to art history. I can see some amazing snowman art projects being created as a result of this book!
The Best Winter Picture Books
Whether you teach young students or older students, picture books are a wonderful way to engage your students in reading and lessons. While we tend to think of picture books as being for beginning readers, this is not the case. In fact, most picture books are written at a 4th – 6th grade reading level. Here’s a few of my favorite picture books for kids of all ages!
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
If you are looking for a mentor text to teach students about visualization or writing with details then you must read Owl Moon. Jane Yolen has an exceptional way of describing the setting and actions that transport the reader into the story. A classic for kids young and old!
Snow by Uri Shulevitz
Another wonderful sinter picture book is Snow by Uri Shulevitz. This sweet story of child-like faith shows what one single snowflake can turn into.
Blizzard by John Roco
Blizzard by John Rocco is a wonderful example of a personal narrative. Remembering the blizzard in his home town when he was a young boy, this story based on a real life events has a way of making you feel as if you were there.
This book would be a wonderful example as you teach your students about using words and word pictures to tell the stories of their own experiences. A great example of how fun it can be to write personal narratives.
The Best Winter Novels
Just as we tend to believe picture books are for younger children, we also tend to believe that chapter books or novels are only for more advanced readers. This could not be further from the truth. While more advanced readers can read novels independently, younger children love listening to good books. The listening skills of a child are often more advanced that their reading skills, which makes novels the perfect read aloud.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
I would be remiss if I did not include this classic novel as one of my top 10 books about winter. This well loved book by C.S. Lewis is the most famous of the books from The Chronicles of Narnia series. Your children and students will love being whisked into the winter world of Narnia as they walk through the doors of the wardrobe with the children in the story.
Caleb’s Story by Patricia MacLachlan
Like many of our students, Caleb doesn’t think he has anything to write about. But when he is given a journal and a directive from his sister to write about everything that happens while she is gone, he finds stories all around him.
Inspire your students to write with this wonderful book by Patricia MacLachlan. Caleb’s Story is sure to engage your students as they jump into the daily life with Caleb.
This would be a great story to read as a class before handing each student a new notebook to use as a writing journal. It would be a great way to begin writing a short time each day. As students see what Caleb finds to write about, they are sure to discover their own stories too.
One more wonderful chapter book brings the funny and whimsical winter world of penguins to life in this classic, award winning book. Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a great book for kids of all ages. You can’t help but fall in love with Mr. Popper and his zany penguins.
This book was also made into a movie a few years back. Reading the book and then watching the movie is a wonderful way to practice comparing and contrasting. It’s also a great discussion starter for reading skills like visualization as student talk about what images they created in their head during reading and what the movie director created in the film.
The Best Non-Fiction Books About Winter
Non-fiction books about winter are a wonderful way to connect reading and science. So much happens in the world around us when winter comes, that there are many great science concepts to teach during this time.
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
When it comes to what we know about snowflakes, there is one man to thank – Wilson Bentley. When most people just saw the same fluffy white flakes, Snowflake Bentley took his camera to capture the microscopic details. It’s thanks to him and his wonderful pictures that we know so much about the different shapes of ice crystals and snow flakes. This non-fiction text is part science and part biography and a perfect addition to your winter reading.
You can also find a book that is a collection of the beautiful snowflake images Wilson Bentley captured. Snowflakes in Photographs is a wonderful book to dig even deeper into Mr. Bentley and his fascinating work.
The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson, Ph.D.
The story of snow is a well done non-fiction text about the science behind snow. A great way to engage your students in winter science in an easy to understand format. There’s more than just cold weather that creates snowflakes. Help your students learn all about the snow cycle to understand this amazing phenomenon. Your students will love learning about what happens in nature that leads to the beautiful, white fluffy snow.
Using Books to Create a Unit
Connecting non-fiction books with fiction books on the same topic is a wonderful way to build a unit of study. A very common winter theme for young children is animal adaptations. Lower elementary classrooms often use books like The Mitten and Animals in Winter to teach students about how animals adapt and survive during the winter months.
But it is often hard to find a topic for older children that will engage them at a higher level. Then I found the non-fiction books above and an in-depth science study about snow and snowflakes took off. Using the non-fiction books and connecting them to some of the other books listed above, you can create a snow unit that covers reading, writing, science, history and art. A unit that your students won’t soon forget.
Whether its animals or snow, a read aloud or a full unit, I encourage you to use books to engage your students in learning, thinking and discovering more about winter.
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