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16 Wonderful Children’s Books About Winter for Elementary Teachers

Read this list to find wonderful children's books about winter

Picture books are an amazing way to learn about the world and can be an invaluable tool for introducing children to the changing seasons. This list of wonderful children’s books about winter is compiled of 16 titles that introduce seasonal signs, animals in winter, and the water cycle to your students. By reading some of these books to your students you are supplementing your science instruction with children’s literature. This technique can help generate interest and motivation, provide context, encourage communication, and connect science information in real-world context (Mahzoon-Hagheghi, 2018, 41). Read this list of children’s books about winter to get some amazing titles to introduce the season to your students!

Picture Books About Signs of Winter

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak

Reading age: Preschool – 2nd grade (4-7 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-ESS2-1

Kenard Pak brings to life the seasonal transition from fall to winter through the eyes of a young girl and her brother taking a walk through the forest and town. They spot signs of the turning seasons such as cooler weather, birds heading south, longer evenings, frost, and more. Written as a conversation between the main characters and everything they encounter, this is a wonderful book to share with your early childhood readers. *Bonus- Like this book on the children’s books about winter list? This book belongs to a series that includes all of the seasons children experience during their school year!

The Shortest Day by Wendy Pfeffer

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer

Reading age: 1st – 4th grade (6-9 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): 1-ESS1-2, 3-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-2

Wendy Pfeffer shares the arrival of winter with a focus on the shorter days and longer nights in this picture book about winter. She shares the reason for the seasons including the tilt of the Earth. Pfeffer also explains how the Northern Hemisphere experiences winter starting in December. She mentions different ways that animals survive the long nights and bitter temperatures of winter. Included in her writings are the history of festivals, cultural customs from around the world, and more in this lengthy, but thorough book about winter. *Bonus- Like this book on the children’s books about winter list? This book belongs to a series that includes all four seasons of the year!

Winter is Here! by Heidi Pross Gray

Winter is Here! by Heidi Pross Gray

Reading age: Preschool – 3rd (2-8 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-1

Heidi Pross Gray simplifies the signs of the winter season in this repetitive and relaxing story. She includes characteristic signs of winter such as bare branches on trees, sleeping animals, frost, building snowmen, and more. This is a great introduction to the winter season for your early childhood learners and the pictures are absolutely lovely! *Bonus- Like this book on the children’s books about winter list? This book belongs to a series that includes all four seasons of the year!

It's Winter! by Linda Glaser

It’s Winter! by Linda Glaser

Reading age: Kindergarten – 3rd grade (5-9 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-2

Linda Glaser shares the cycles of nature through this winter picture book. She shares signs of winter similar to the other books on this list such as snow, making snow angels and snowmen, and sleeping animals. Glaser also introduces less frequently discussed signs such as woodpeckers tapping, frozen nose hairs, different regions’ winter weather, hibernating bats, and huddling honeybees. If your focus is on the patterns of weather and its effects on plants and animals, this book is a great option for elementary children of all ages. *Bonus- Like this book on the children’s books about winter list? This book belongs to a series that includes all four seasons of the year!

The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer

The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer

Reading age: Preschool – 3rd grade (4-8 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-ESS2-1, 1-ESS1-2

This story is a fable about the winter solstice. The animals of the forest are worried that the sun will not return on the longest night so each animal boasts about a special characteristic that it can use to bring the sun back, except for the chickadee who does not brag. The crow, the moose, and the fox all try to bring the sun back but do not succeed. Then the chickadee sings its spring song which brings the sun back. This is a fun and inspiring read for early childhood learners that could be read in addition to a factual book about how the winter solstice happens.

Picture Books About Snow

Snowy by Cynthia Rylant

Snow by Cynthia Rylant

Reading age: Preschool – 3rd grade (3-8 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-1

Rylant uses descriptive words to introduce different kinds of snow to the reader. This fictional story follows a little girl as she experiences peaceful snow in her yard, fat and fluffy snow at school, and heavy snow that covers cars and trees. The words she uses to describe what snow looks and feels like and what it can do to your surroundings are easy for children to relate to. The illustrations by Lauren Stringer are gorgeous and make you feel a part of the story.

The Snowflake by Benji Davies

The Snowflake by Benji Davies

Reading age: Preschool – 3rd grade (3-8 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-1

This fictional story follows a snowflake that didn’t want to fall from the sky, while also following a young girl, Noelle, watching for signs of snow. The storyline switches back and forth from their perspectives, following each of the characters through an evening. Both characters notice Christmas trees through windows and yearn for one. Their storylines converge at the end of the book in this holiday-related read.

Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper

Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper

Reading age: Preschool – 3rd grade (4-8 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-1

The story follows a little girl named Lina on her way to Sitti’s (her grandma) house on a snowy day. She describes ten ways that she hears snow on her journey including scraping of snow, crunching snow while walking, a blue jay knocking snow off a limb, and more. This is a book full of wonder, observation, and sensory words and experiences. It is also a wonderful way to include characters of minority in your classroom as Lina and her family are portrayed to be of Arabic descent.

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, Ph.D.

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson Ph.D.

Reading age: Kindergarten – 3rd grade (5-8 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-ESS2-1, 2-ESS2-3, 3-ESS2-1

This non-fiction book introduces the water cycle and how snowflakes are made in the atmosphere. Related to the change in temperature, the types of clouds the snowflake is forming in, and other weather conditions, this book brings together weather and the water cycle to show how interconnected nature is. There are examples of different types of snowflakes and what conditions are required to make them. There are also snowflake photographs sprinkled throughout the book.

Curious About snow by Gina Shaw

Curious About Snow by Gina Shaw

Reading age: 1st – 3rd grade (6-8 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): 2-ESS2-3, 3-ESS2-1

This non-fiction Smithsonian book explains how snowflakes are made, their crystal structure and more. It goes into detail in length and is definitely for older children with longer attention spans, or read during multiple readings for younger children. Shaw introduces the temperature and conditions required for snowflakes to form hexagonal shapes that lead to snow crystals. There’s also information about Wilson A. Bentley who studied snowflakes for much of his life. Shaw also shares how the different shapes of snowflakes are formed including dendrites, hexagonal-plates, stellar plates, needles, and columns. She also includes states of water vocabulary such as “water vapor”, “evaporates”, “freezes”, “humidity”, “melt”, and more.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Reading age: Preschool – 3rd grade (4-9 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-ESS2-1, 2-ESS2-3, 3-ESS2-1

This biography is about Wilson (Willie) A. Bentley and his interest in snowflakes. The story covers his fascination with snowflakes and his attempts at documenting their shapes for other people to see. This story has information about snowflakes but it can also be used to inspire your students to never give up on something they are passionate about and to pursue their dreams. “Snowflake” Bentley made many mistakes, but thanks to persistence, he was able to take thousands of pictures of snowflakes that have helped science throughout the years.

Picture Books About Animals in the Winter

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Reading age: Preschool – 3rd grade (3-8 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-1, 1-LS1-2, 2-ESS2-3, 3-LS3-1

Messner shares the affects of snow on animals by sharing what is happening in winter. The story is from the perspective of a young girl out skiing with her dad and the observations she makes about the animals around her. Her dad tells her about the subnivean layer, a secret kingdom under the snow. The storyline proceeds with the little girl narrating what is happening over and under the snow. Some examples of things happening include a great horned owl keeping watch over the snow while a shrew moves along a tunnel under the snow. There’s evidence of animals huddling together for warmth, animals changing colors, animals sleeping, animals hunting, and more.

Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Gelder

Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Gelder

Reading age: Preschool – 3rd grade (4-8 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-1, 1-LS1-2, 2-LS2-2, 2-ESS2-3, 3-LS3-1

This non-fictional text begins with signs that fall is ending and winter is beginning. There are vocabulary words with kid-friendly definitions to share what animals do to prepare for winter including migrating, hibernating, and different ways that animals adapt their body and behavior. Some of the animals that are used as examples in this story include migrating monarchs, hibernating bats, foraging rabbits, and hunting foxes. The book ends with ideas on how people can help the animals that are active in winter until the signs of spring begin to show.

Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming

Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming

Reading age: Preschool – Kindergarten (2-5 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-1

This fictional story is an introduction to different kinds of animals that sleep through the winter. It begins with a bear that recognizes that winter is on its way from the smell in the air. Before she goes to sleep, she decides to tell snail, who tells skunk, who tells turtle, who tells woodchuck, who tells ladybug, who ends the story when she goes to tell bear. Other clues that winter is on the way include frost on the grass, leaves changing colors, the days growing shorter, the leaves falling from the trees, and geese migrating.

Not a Buzz to Be Found by Linda Glaser

Not a Buzz to Be Found by Linda Glaser

Reading age: 2nd – 4th grade (7-10 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): 2-ESS2-3, 3-LS3-1

This wonderful book is all about the unique ways that insects survive winter. Although it is a little lengthy, it is stuffed full of wonderful information. Techniques that are introduced in this story include migrating monarchs, woolly bear caterpillars sleeping in the leaves, ladybird (ladybug) beetles hiding under logs in groups, honeybees huddling together and eating honey, mourning cloak butterflies creating an antifreeze-like chemical in their body to help them sleep under bark, and more. Although this gem is out of print, it is worth tracking down at the local library or buying second-hand from a thrift shop or online book supplier.

Going Home by Marianne Berkes

Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration by Marianne Berkes

Reading age: Kindergarten – 4th grade (5-9 years)

Related Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS): K-LS1-1, 1-LS1-2, 3-LS3-1

This book focuses on the many reasons and ways that animals all over the world migrate. The storyline follows prose with rhyming and rhythm to share each animal species’ migration journey. There are also asides on each page for more facts about each species. Animals included are Loggerhead turtles, monarch butterflies, Manatees, Ruby-throated hummingbirds, Pacific salmon, Canada geese, Caribou, Arctic terns, and Emperor penguins. I like the fact that it gives examples of reptiles, mammals, and insects that migrate and not just birds.

Hopefully after reading this list of children’s books about winter you have found a wonderful book (or two or three…) to read with your class this season. If you’re already familiar with Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day but are looking for activities to use alongside it, check out this article “The Snowy Day Ezra Jack Keats: 15 Fun Activities for Early Childhood Learners.” Enjoy this wonderful season with snow, beautiful landscapes, and enjoyable holidays; it is sure to be one of your students’ favorite times of the year!


Bibliography

Mahzoon-Hagheghi, M.; Yebra, R.; Johnson, R. (2018). Fostering a Greater Understanding of Science in the Classroom Through Children’s Literature. Texas Journal of Literacy Education, 6(1), 41-50. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1183979.pdf


Have amazing children’s books about winter that weren’t listed? Include your favorites in the comments!

16 wonderful children's books about winter for elementary teachers
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