It’s beginning to look a lot like… winter! And there are many new picture books to celebrate all of the beauty that comes with this time of year. Did you know that in Iceland, they have a tradition called Jólabókaflóð, where they give books to loved ones on Christmas Eve, and then spend the rest of the evening reading together? The best way to help your child learn to read is by reading together, ideally with an arm around them! Then when they are adults, as they read, they will associate the love of reading with the love of sharing a book with you. So why not start this Icelandic tradition in your own home, and get cozy with one of the following picture books that will bring both joy, wonder, and love to the littlest ones in your life this holiday season.
by Yuval Zommer
This whimsically illustrated book poetically explores the origin of the Northern Lights from the perspective of the lights themselves and their fleeting journey from space to Earth. As the lights dance over seas and forests, they weave a special magic for the animals and people living in the frozen lands below. “A miracle of winter… we are the lights that dance in the night.”
If you are fascinated by the northern lights, and want to learn more, watch What Are the Northern Lights a clip from Ready Jet Go!. Or this CBC clip, 3 Cool Facts about the Northern Lights, where Janaye goes to the Yukon to find out all about the Northern Lights.
by Hyunmin Park
This nearly wordless picture book captures the imagination of kids and adults alike, especially on the days when it seems like the snow will never end! In this story, two children awake in the morning and want to go outside to play, but a shovel isn’t even close to being enough. It’s SO MUCH SNOW!
I suggest watching this very short story, Ethan and the Snow, from Between the Lions before reading the book, and talk about what Ethan might find when he gets outside. To learn more about snow, watch this episode of Dinosaur Train, where the Pteranodon family visits the North Pole.
by James Yang
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner James Yang hops on a speeding sled with this hilarious and easy-to-read picture book, perfect for beginning readers! What could be more exciting than a thrilling sled ride? Maybe when a few unexpected creatures join the adventure? Before long, there’s a bunny, a moose, a snowman, and even a baker with cakes on the sled, and more surprises are headed their way. The laughs and surprises keep coming until the very satisfying end.
Join the Wild Kratt gang in this clip, Sledding Otter-Style, as they go sledding with an otter, a natural sledder! Next, explore the tradition of dog-sledding and Native culture in the 11-minute animated story “Tooey’s Hero” from the PBS KIDS series MOLLY OF DENALI™.
by Justin Roberts
Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
From 4-time Grammy nominee Justin Roberts comes a heartfelt picture book about the lengths a father will go to in order to comfort and protect his child. On a wintry walk in the twilight, a father and child’s antics come to resemble those of playful polar bears. Tender illustrations and delicate verse create a playful and warm book that will help parents show their children that even through ups and downs, they will always be there.
In this clip Polar Bear Snow Day, keeper Susan Purtell shares polar bear facts and fun behaviors as they enjoyed snow enrichment at the San Diego Zoo. For your dose of adorable, watch polar bear cubs learn how to walk through snow and over ice in this video segment, Animal Adaptation: Polar Bear Claws, from NATURE.
by Megan Litwin
Illustrated by Nneka Myers
Whether it’s the moon in the crisp, cool sky, flickering candles in a neighbor’s window, or the dazzling lights strung up about town, winter is a time of glowing warmth and cozy closeness. Twinkle, Twinkle, Winter Night captures this charm, making it perfect for bedtimes and sing-alongs on days when the sun goes to sleep early—and winter wonders shine bright.
Turn your home into a winter wonderland with these festive activities, videos, and interactive games for grades PreK-12. Explore different winter holidays, investigate snowflakes using math and science, create winter-themed crafts, and boost your students’ energy levels during the colder months!
If you like games, try Grover’s Winter Games. This one is great for number recognition, patterns, and working memory while ice skating, snowboarding, and skiing!
by Kim Norman
Illustrated by Toshiki Nakamura
A new spin on the classic song “Hush, Little Baby,” this truck-themed lullaby follows a mother and child as they discover different vehicles, from a bulldozer to a front-end loader. Kim Norman’s gentle rhyming text, paired with Toshiki Nakamura’s imaginative illustrations, makes this picture book a great option for bedtime read-alouds.
This video segment from Between the Lions is an animated poem about a snow plow pushing snow all over the city. If your little one loves vehicles, this is a great little addition to your winter storytime lineup.
Explore how snow, a form of precipitation, affects cities and towns in this animated song from PLUM LANDING™ Plows and trucks work to pick up the snow and carry it away, clearing the walks and streets in this catchy tune.