Seasonal Favorites from the Children's Staff
A recent poll of Children’s Services librarians netted a number of seasonal favorites that we thought you all might enjoy too. Check them out, and post your favorite winter-themed children's books in the comments!
Ron Freeman, Trails West:
I return every year to Snow Day! by Lester Laminack because it's a book with a great ironic ending. You think the narrator is a child who is watching it snow, imagining school being cancelled and all the fun he's going to have. The next morning he realizes that there wasn't much snow and school won’t be cancelled and the family is rushing trying to get to school on time. Then you realize the story isn’t about a kid, but about a teacher! Who knew teachers hope for snow days too?!
Clare Hollander, Central:
At the top of the list must be The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories by O. Henry. The Gift of the Magi is still powerful for me, even though I know how it ends. Reading it aloud, it just flows, and everybody still loves listening to it at my house, even though they know how it ends.
Speaking of reading aloud, Clement Moore’s poem The Night Before Christmas still satisfies for its rhythm and rhyme, and of course, story. My favorite version continues to be Jan Brett’s, the exquisite illustrator whose pages are always loaded with intricate and beautiful artwork.
Anna Francesca Garcia, Outreach
I like Winter Lights: A Season in Poems and Quilts by Anna Grossnickle Hines because the pictures are gorgeous and the poems use spare language to cover a wide range of holiday and winter experiences.
Jamie Mayo, Central: I am delighted by Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner (illustrated by Mark Buehner). In this wonderful picture book, a boy notices that the snowman he built is looking a little worse for wear when he wakes up the next day. It sets him to wondering what it and the other snowmen in the neighborhood might have been up to after they boy had gone to bed. He imagines them up to all kinds of mischief, from drinking ice cold cocoa to making snow angels.
I also enjoyed A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck. Even though it is set a bit before my time -- believe it or not -- it put me right into a nostalgic reverie for my own childhood in the small town I grew up in, surrounded by family and neighbors who knew me and took an interest in who I was and who I might become. One of Peck's favorite characters from A Year Down Yonder plays a role in this story of a preacher's son and his family trying to make a place for themselves in their new hometown.
Sandra Jones, Southeast:
One of my favorites for this year is Snow Puppy by Marcus Pfister. Come along and find out what happens when Sophie goes shopping with her parents, and her puppy Rascal has to stay home all by himself. He feels like he has been treated mean. Then Rascal notices something unusual outside his window. Something white is falling and floating down from the sky. Find out the various experiences Rascal has with the snow, and how he is reunited with Sophie. Children are sure to enjoy this delightful story.
Another book I enjoyed was It's Snowing by Gail Gibbons. In this informative book typical of Gibbon’s work, the concept of snow is discussed. What exactly is snow and how does it form? This informative and detailed book about one of winter's most magical wonders also includes important information on how we can prepare when a snowstorm is approaching.
Nancy Stegeman, Central
One of my favorites is Truffle's Christmas by Anna Currey. Truffles is a medium-sized mouse in a large family of mice. When the mice write letters to Santa, Truffles has trouble deciding which to ask for: a blanket for all of his siblings to share in their drafty house, or a hoola hoop all for himself? Finally, he makes a decision, but later changes his mind. How will he get word to Santa? I love this book because it has all the elements of family life that can get magnified at holiday time: things happening in a hurry, a bossy big sister, tender younger siblings, needing to share everything, yet wanting something all his own. The story has a happy ending, with a generous Santa puzzling out the answer as to what is the right gift.
Some other wintry titles you might enjoy:
Winter Poems, selected by Barbara Rogasky and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Gingerbread Baby, by Jan Brett
Snow, by Uri Shulevitz
Snowflake Bentley, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The Snow Globe Family, by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by S.D. Schindler