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  • Writer's pictureMara Shanahan

Our Favorite Winter Themed Nature Study Books

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

We are a nature-loving family, but Winter is not my favorite. Given that we live in a cold climate and the opportunities to venture outside are quickly becoming more limited as we head toward the shortest day, we've been feeding that love and wonder and discovery with an ever-growing collection of books. Today I'd like to share with you our favorite winter themed books. We have some fiction, some non-fiction and some wonderful poetry that all pair perfectly with a cup of hot cocoa at the table!

Snow, by Uri Shulevitz

A Caldecott Honor Book, this whimsically illustrated story of few words perfectly captures the excitement of a boy and his dog as snow is about to descend on the town, turning it into a winter wonderland, even as the adults around them insist that it won't come.

The Mitten, adapted by Jan Brett

This classic Ukrainian folktale, retold and beautifully illustrated by Jan Brett, tells the tale of a boy and his lost mitten, and what happens when the forest animals come upon it.

Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen

A Caldecott Medal recipient, Owl Moon is another wonderfully illustrated and beautifully told story of a small girl and her father, who venture out into a cold, bright winter night in search of an owl sighting, just for the thrill of catching a glimpse of the magnificent bird.

Wolf in the Snow, by Matthew Cordell

Another Caldecott Medal recipient, Wolf in the Snow is a story that is told without words. It is a story of bravery, compassion, and companionship that is masterfully told through Cordell's brilliant illustrations alone.

Over and Under the Snow, by Kate Messner

This is a tale of a girl and her father cross-country skiing through the woods, as she learns about all of the animals that are overwintering and living under the snow and in the forest around them.

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold, by Joyce Sidman

Twelve enchanting poems, with equally enchanting illustrations by Rick Allen, these verses beautifully describe the goings-on of forest creatures as they live and thrive, truly capturing the drama of surviving the cold winter months.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost

What kind of New Hampshirite would I be if I didn't introduce my kid to our favorite New England poet? This classic poem is the only one featured in this particular spine, as it is sprawled through the book and each line is accompanied by calm and lovely illustrations of New England scenery by Susan Jeffers.

Snowflake Bentley, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Willie Bentley was in love with snow from as early as he could remember, and spent his life venturing to capture the perfect images of snowflakes in photographs. This Caldecott Medal recipient is a short biography of Wilson Bentley, who was born in Jericho, Vermont in 1865 and tells the wonderful story of his lifetime of snowflake nature study.

The Story of Snow - The Science of Winter's Wonder, by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, Ph.D.

A perfect selection for any budding nature scientist in your life, this book by a nature photographer and a snow scientist will inspire wonder and curiosity about the marvels of snow.

The Shortest Day, Celebrating the Winter Solstice, by Wendy Pfeffer

How could I write a post about winter books without including one about the very first day of winter? This one chronicles all that happens surrounding the science of the Winter Solstice, as well as the history and cultural celebrations surrounding the season, and explains it all in a very kid-friendly manner.

The Tomten, by Astrid Lindgren

This classic Swedish folktale of The Tomten is about an ancient elf-like man that has lived on and taken care of an old farm for centuries. He patrols the farm at night and talks to the animals in his silent Tomten language, promising them that the warmth and abundance of Spring is soon to come.

There are so many more inspiring and brilliant books out there to celebrate the winter season. We've collected these over the years, and would love to collect more. There's no such thing as too many books, I say! I would love to know what your favorite winter books are. Share your recommendations in the comments!

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