Books for a snowy December

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One of the joys of December evenings is to curl up with kids, and books to read out loud.

In our city (San Francisco) it rarely snows, and in the tropics or southern hemisphere, December is warm and sunny. But reading these books, discover the poetry of a snowy night, Welsh children waiting in the garden with piles of snowballs, adventures in the world’s coldest places, a train ride to the North Pole, and gifts that last a lifetime.

  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, Susan Jeffers. Discover the beauty and silence of snowy woods on the shortest night of the year, as a woodsman in his horse-drawn sleigh stops to watch the snow falling, make a snow angel, listen to the wind in the trees, and deliver food to the forest animals. After reading this book, look outside your window and expect to see it snowing. (Picture book)
  • Babar and Father Christmas by Jean De Brunhoff. In the kingdom of the Elephants, children wish Father Christmas would visit their country. They send letters, but no reply. Babar goes on a delightful journey to find Father Christmas, and lost in a snowstorm, Babar accidentally finds Father Christmas in his warm underground palace. Father Christmas is touched by Babar’s request, and from then on, every year Father Christmas returns. A multi-generational family favorite. (Picture book)
  • Adventures in Cold Places by Lonely Planet Kids. Go on a worldwide adventure to the coldest places – Harbin China, Sahara Desert, Lake Baikal Russia, an ice hotel in Sweden, meet penguins in Antarctica, huskies in Alaska, mountain goats in Switzerland, with puzzles games, over 250 sticks, and 3D iceberg. (Activity book)
  • A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, Edward Ardizzone. Warm, humorous story of a family Christmas by the famous Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. “December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeer. But there were cats.” This is a gem. (Chapter book)
  • The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett. Way up in the far north, three polar bears, snug in their igloos, go out for a walk. A young Inuit girl, stranded after her huskies float away on an ice floe, discovers the igloos, and finds a warm place to nap. Meanwhile, what do the polar bears find …? Beautifully illustrated Arctic animals in parkas and a snowy frozen landscape. (Picture book)
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. On Christmas Eve, a boy looks through his window and sees a puffing steam train in front of his house. “All aboard to the North Pole,” and the conductor pulls him onto a mysterious train filled with children in pajamas. The Polar Express races north, rolling over snowy peaks to the North Pole, where Santa awaits, and the gift of single sleigh bell. Spellbinding two-page illustrations. (Picture book)
  • Winter Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow. Go on a walk to explore outdoors in winter – snowflakes, icicles and snowmen, bare trees and evergreens, tiny chickadees fluttering around bushes and branches, red winter berries, flowers and plants that thrive in the cold, foxes and deer slipping through the trees, and if you’re lucky, kids might see a white snowshoe hare. (Picture book)
  • A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck. Mrs. Dowdel lives in the last house at the edge of a small Midwest town, and next door, the new family needs her help. Though she’s not apparently neighborly or church-going, Mrs. Dowdel harvests the fruits of her haunted melon patch, bakes and brings Thanksgiving dinner to cranky people, and with melon patch profits, she secretly pays for much-needed new windows in the church. Mrs. Dowdel’s gifts are so many they wouldn’t fit under the biggest Christmas tree, ones that last a lifetime. (Chapter book)
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