Ahhh, winter! Festive days, earlier evenings, a warm hearth or cozy blanket and a favorite book or two. We’ve culled a list of wintry reads to get everyone in the hygge spirit. With special thanks to Rona from The Ivy Bookshop and JoAnn from The Children’s Bookstore, for sharing their insights and book wisdom and for letting me dawdle amongst their bookshelves in search of winter’s favorite reads. Grab a warm mug of your favorite beverage, hunker down and read on!
Look Closer: Into the Arctic by Roger Priddy. This unique, transparent-paged board book illuminates a winter wonderland of animals and forest life on every page and builds on previous wintry scenes as the clear pages overlap, taking the board book genre to a new, artistic level. Animals such as the gyrfalcon, pine marten, redpoll, raven, red-backed vole and lemming, in addition to ravens, foxes and your good ol’ polar bear, are on full display for our littlest readers.
The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnnell. This witty, clever ABC book introduces an alligator who joins up with a bear, followed by a cat … more zany characters join the fray, beginning with the next letter of the alphabet, layering letters with friends and adventures.
Mice Skating by Annie Silvestro. Teagan White, Illustrator. This is the story of a friendly, curious and slightly rebellious mouse who forgoes staying inside during the winter in exchange for the excitement and discovery of the wintery wonderland outside his den.
Arctic White by Dana Smith. Lee White, Illustrator. When you live on the Arctic tundra, everything is a form of white — or the absence of color and warmth. While on a walk with her grandfather, a young girl wonders aloud if she will ever experience an environment with color and vitality, and is eventually rewarded with an exquisite answer.
The Big Book of Snow & Ice by Stepánka Sekaninová. Niké Papadopulosová, Illustrator. This book about ice and snow covers just about everything: what snow is, how mythology perceives its existence, how people interact with it, how to use it as a building material … virtually everything you wanted to know about what it is and why it exists, and also what to do with the fluffy stuff. Let it snow!
Snow Beast Comes to Play by Phil Gosier. This sweet story features Snow Beast, an oversized, socially awkward, too loud, and yet earnest snow monster. Snow Beast’s attempts to meet new people backfire until a little girl, noticing his loneliness, invites him to play. The retro-style illustrations go hand in hand with the simple, straightforward dialogue.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Once a year, a baby is left alone in a forest as an appeasement to the witches who threaten to destroy a nearby village. Xan, the forest witch, feels tenderness and compassion for the babies left as a sacrifice and rescues, nurtures and continuously returns them to the village. Her kindness and actions set off a chain of events, leading the reader to ultimately decide where compassion, magic and good versus evil reside. This book won the 2017 Newberry Medal.
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. This highly anticipated (17 years!) prequel to the Golden Compass Trilogy has finally arrived. In what has been described as the first book of a new trilogy, this is the story of a boy named Malcomb and his mixture of curiosity and ethics, and the quest for justice that takes him on an extraordinary journey filled with intrigue.
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green. A beautiful story, told with vivid characters and relatable, honest dialogue, revolving around 16-year-old Asa, who stumbles upon a local mystery which boasts a handsome reward. In tandem with her childhood BFF, they attempt to solve the puzzle, while Asa attempts to balance the complex expectations that come with being a good friend, daughter and student, in addition to the confusing thoughts and emotions running through her head. This book illuminates — without judgment, conclusions or a tidy ending — what it’s like to live with mental illness. It’s a book for teens and adults alike.