The magic of Christmas and the excitement of winter can be felt in so many picture books. Many children's books about winter can also be enjoyed during this time of year without any reference to Christmas. Here is a selection of my favourite winter picture books for the classroom and library!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything through them, I will get a small referral fee and you will be supporting me and my blog at no extra cost to you, so thank you! You can find more information here.
Winter Picture Books for the Classroom
It's hard to believe, but winter is just around the corner. Soon the days will be shorter and colder, so it's time to start thinking about winter picture books for the classroom. This great selection of children's books about winter will take your students from autumn to winter.
These winter picture books explore characters dealing with winter, from the funny to the more realistic. The vivid winter imagery includes falling snow, ice skating, building snowmen, sledging, hibernation and evenings spent indoors with the family.
Bird House by Blanca Gómez
A grandmother and granddaughter find an injured bird on a snowy day. Together, they nurse it back to health. They set the healthy bird free, respecting that it belongs in the wild. The grandmother teaches the young girl that the bird is not theirs to keep, but is welcome to visit the birdhouse they built.
Use the book to reinforce a caring attitude, intergenerational relationships and respect for living things.
Black Dog by Levi Pinfold
A family is afraid of a large black dog outside their home. As they each spy a dog through their window, it grows in size and menace. It is the smallest member of the family who discovers the dog is not what the rest of the family imagined.
A book to promote a growth mindset, open-mindedness, risk-taking and courage.
Blizzard by John Rocco
John Rocco uses his own experience of a blizzard that brought over 50 inches of snow to his home in Rhode Island in 1978. A family is snowed in for 5 days. As food runs low, the young boy takes action. He puts tennis rackets on his feet and makes his way to the store for his family and neighbours. Use to discuss persistence, problem-solving, setting and personal narratives.
Emmett and Caleb by Karen Hottois
Emmett and Caleb are best friends, next-door neighbours, and do everything together. Despite their close relationship, they have very different personalities, leading to misunderstandings. They give each other time and space before patching things up when this happens.
This translated book promotes discussion on forgiveness, communication, friendships, and tolerance.
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Annabelle finds a box of colourful yarn, which never runs out no matter how much she knits. When an evil archduke steals the yarn, its magic no longer works. When the yarn finds its way back to Annabelle, the magic continues.
Promotes determination, integrity, perseverance, respect and being a risk-taker.
Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak
Two siblings explore nature and watch for the signs of winter, from the setting sun to a curious deer and the first snowflakes of the new season.
Hedgehog by Ashlyn Anstee
Winter is on its way, and animals are looking for somewhere to live, but Hedgehog is unwilling to let anyone into his hedge. He makes signs, puts locks on the door and even builds a fence. Will it be too late before he learns his lesson?
Hortense and the Shadow by Natalia O'Hara
Hortense tries everything to leave her shadow behind. Finally, she escapes it by slamming the window to cut it off. When the shadow returns to scare off bandits, Hortense realises her shadow is indispensable to who she is.
Hush Hush, Forest by Mary Casanova
Observe as the forest animals spend autumn getting ready for winter. The lyrical text tells the reader about the owl in flight, a bear preparing to hibernate, a doe and fawn getting ready to sleep, a hummingbird taking one more sip and a beaver sawing wood for its lodge.
Lines by Suzy Lee
In this wordless book, a girl creates lines as she skates across the ice. As she makes more lines the paper crumbles, which the illustrator flattens. More and more skaters join the girl, helping her create new friendships and beautiful patterns across the page.
Little Dog Lost by Mônica Carnesi
The fast currents of the Vistula River in Poland carry a dog towards the Baltic Sea. The crew of a research vessel bravely rescue the dog and it still lives on board. This true story promotes courage, compassion, and resilience.
Little Fox in the Snow by Jonathan London
A little red fox investigates a woodland on a snowy day to find food. It encounters a mouse, hare and wolverine before returning to the safety of its den. Promotes curiosity, risk-taking and nature.
My Father's Arms Are A Boat by Stein Erik Lunde
A grieving boy looks to his father for comfort. His father answers questions about when will his mother wake up. As they walk into a snowy night the father reassures his worried son as he holds him close.
Reinforces themes of bereavement, self-management, fears and resilience.
My Footprints by Bao Phi
Thuy, a Vietnamese American girl, is bullied at school. She walks home in the snow and imagines herself as different courageous animals. Thuy recreates the animal’s footprints all the way home and into the comforting arms of her mum.
Use in the classroom to discuss bullying, courage, perseverance, prejudice, and identity.
The Red Prince by Charlie Roscoe
When strangers invade the city of Avala, they capture a young prince. Imprisoned far from home he escapes but his red pyjamas against the snow make it easy for the jailers to see him. The prince finds great kindness from those living in his kingdom as they defeat the captors by wearing red to hide the prince.
Singing Away the Dark by Caroline Woodward
A brave girl narrates how she walks a mile to the school bus stop every day. She travels through the morning darkness, with sights and sounds that frighten her. Instead of being afraid, she sings away the dark and her fears. Use to discuss courage, fears and, resilience.
SkySisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose
Two Ojibway sisters hike through the snow to see the Sky Spirits, the Northern Lights. They hear the call of the great coyote as they reach the top of Coyote Hill. The sisters dance and make snow angels before watching the Sky Spirits move across the sky.
Small in the City by Sydney Smit
In this practically wordless book, a girl searches a large, desolate city covered in snow while her mother waits at home. Initially, it seems she is talking to the reader, explaining how to survive in the city, but we later find out she is talking to her lost cat. Use to promote different perspectives and points of view.
The Snow Knows by Jennifer McGrath
In this poetic picture book, the snow knows the journey of different animals. Follow the footprints and discover the clues of the domestic and wild animals that enjoy the snowy wilderness.
Snow Sisters! by Kerri Kokias
Two sisters react differently to a snowy day. One rushes outside to play in the snow while her sister is too wary to leave the house. As her curiosity rises she goes outside to retrace her sister's footsteps in the snow. In a role reversal, the other sister, exhausted, spends the rest of the day indoors.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
A wordless classic that illustrates the friendship between a boy and snowman who comes alive on Christmas Eve. The two go on an adventure exploring each other's homes which ends with some sadness when the snowman melts.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
A young boy is captivated by the first snowfall of winter. He walks around the city, wondering how he can capture the wonder he feels. Promotes curiosity, retelling a story and making connections.
Stina by Lani Yamamoto
Translated from Icelandic. Stína lives in Iceland but does not like the cold. She loves being at home and is inventive in keeping warm. She curiously watches children playing in the snow and wonders how they deal with the coldness of the snow. Stina soon finds out and makes new friends in the process.
Reinforces themes of courage, friendship, ingenuity, creativity and isolation.
The Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies
Noi’s father goes out for one last fishing trip before the ice makes it impossible. But when his father does not return Noi goes out to find him only to discover his empty boat stuck in the ice. Noi becomes lost and is contemplating a freezing night on his dad's boat. But to his delight, the Storm Whale returns with its whole family helping him return home and where he finds his father.
A Symphony of Whales by Steve Schuch
When Glashka discovers a pod of stranded beluga whales in Siberia she gathers the townspeople to help free them. While waiting for a Russian Icebreaker to arrive the people break the ice so the whales can breathe.
This true story promotes teamwork, compassion and community.
The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
In the snow, Kikko carries a pie to her grandma’s house. In the distance, she sees a figure approaching a strange house. Inside, Kikko finds a tea party of woodland animals who welcome and share their food with her.
Reinforces themes of kindness, curiosity, and questioning.
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell
In this wordless book, a girl gets lost in a snowstorm on her way home from school. She discovers a wolf cub separated from its pack. Will they find their way home? A story of friendship, trust and courage.
You're Snug With Me by Chitra Soundar
In a frozen landscape, two bear cubs are born. They express curiosity about what lies beyond their den, deep underground. Mama Bear teaches them about the land of snow and the ocean full of ice. She whispers to the cubs that they will always be snug with her.
National Geographic Kids’ Youtube channel has a playlist of videos about winter.
I would love to know what your favourite winter picture books are. Are they classics you read over and over, or do you prefer to read new books to your class? Let me know in the comments!