Ah, another episode of We Recommend, in which we attempt, by hook or by crook, to find the absolutely perfect book for people who write in. Got a kid in your life who needs a recommendation? Write us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com with the age, reading tastes, favorite books, and any other relevant (or irrelevant) information, and we'll give it a shot. And really? All the good options are in the comments, so be sure to look there!
I thought I had more time with this one (I actually thought I had more time with a lot of requests and now they're too timely, so prepare yourselves to be called upon over the next few days/weeks). But I looked at the weather forecast and Saturday is looking like slush, at the very least, so here we go:
I'm ordering a copy of Snowbound with Betsy to have on hand for the first snow day (when there's no school) and would like to have a stack of wintry books ready. Any other suggestions? I have two girls, eight and eleven, both good readers. They don't like fantasy/SF-type books; they love Ramona, Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid, the Moffatts, etc. I thought I'd be able to find a good suggestion list easily online, but no luck.
First of all: I love this idea. I love a snow day. Nothing beats it, especially when it comes out of the blue, and you're dragging yourself through your morning and that magical freaking phone call comes—NO SCHOOL! Bliss.
And I love the idea of it being a special cozy day inside, with lots of books tucked away ready to be broken out. I want to do it for myself, in fact, not just for the kids but for me.
But I digress. I could dither and pretend, but as far as I am concerned there is the one book that is the snowiest, most compelling, most wonderful snow book of them all. That's right, baby:
From the strange menace of the early chapters (the muskrat building its walls so thick, the weird bird they've never seen, the cows with their faces frozen in their own steam) to the all-out blizzards, this book is winter to me. I think it's the best of the whole series (maybe Little House in the Big Woods is its equal, because what's better than butchering and smoking a pig, I ask you?) and it will make your warm, cozy inside-ness all the more gratifying.
My only fear: they've read this already, right? Maybe not?
If they have, help me out in the comments, people: what do they read? Realistic fiction, cozy day, snow feelings: what?
16 thoughts on “We Recommend: It’s COLD Out—Snow Books!”
Spider Web for Two by Elizabeth Enright! I think it is a cozy wintery book–one of my favorites. And I remember Snowbound with Betsy fondly. Loved that book!
Also, great suggestion of the LIW books Diamond.
Hmm. My clear front-runner is Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising, but that is in the fantasy/SF area. That’s closely followed by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Dylan Thomas A Child’s Christmas in Wales, East by Edith Pattou (also fantasy/SF, but it’s “softer” and closer to a fairy tale). It also makes me think of A Christmas Carol although I’m not sure how much snow there really is in it.
I was poking around on Amazon trying to remember that last one and came across this list, which I really liked the look of, for smaller children. http://www.amazon.com/Best-Winter-Snow-Books-Preschoolers/lm/36DOTNNI1OYF2
I love this concept. Funny, it’s never occurred to me to think about, perhaps because I live in the frozen north and avoid thinking about snow until I have to. But now that I do, there are a lot of snowy books in my life, and I do enjoy them–paradoxically, they are so cozy…
I wonder if The Long Winter might be a little *too* much for a snow day – it gets pretty hairy with the endless twisting straw into fuel for the fire and not enough food and all. But maybe I was just sensitive. I remember some really good wintery scenes from Farmer Boy, so that could be an option.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is all about snowy winter and about the right age group I think.
There is a book I have been trying to remember for MONTHS at least, and I want to thank you for pushing me to finally do the digging and figuring out what it is: Prairie School, by Lois Lenski. It’s about the big blizzards in the Dakotas and a one room school house where the students and teacher get snowed in. I am excited to have identified it!
I am thinking also of little kids books, but I know these girls are too old. Everything I thought of is on Laurel’s Amazon list, so I won’t bother to mention them here.
My friend Charlotte made a nice list of wintery books a couple years ago–
Ooh! The Wolves of Willoughby Chase! I love that one!
I immediately thought of Owl Moon. Okay, so it’s a picture book – but it’s a really delightful one. Big words, slow steady pace, beautiful illustrations. I read it for fun! Also, I think a good pile of picture books would be strangely comforting.
In the chapter books arena, though, there’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Call of the Wild or any Jack London.
If you have nonfiction lovers, there is a lovely National Geographic book about the Denali National Park.
Little Women- most of the editions available are abridged (a good thing). I read it at the end of third grade so maybe it won’t be too old for the 11 year old? I dunno.
Miracles on Maple Hill.
Also, I know the girls don’t love fantasy, but I recommend Tom’s Midnight Garden. Except for the time travel conceit, it is more about entering into life in an earlier time. There is a great chapter on ice skating on the river from what I remember.
I second Miracles on Maple Hill.
and how about The Westing Game? It opens on Halloween, and moves into the winter if I’m rememberting correctly. Don’t the characters get snowed in at their appartment building?
Huh. My comment disappeared. Apologies if it turns up again…
Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome is my first recommendation. Adventure but no fantasy, and if they like it, there are 12 other (wonderful) books in the series.
Also, Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates.
Betsy-Tacy Go Downtown has I think a terrific Christmas shopping in the snow scene. And possible Betsy goes home from the library in the snow, too? Plus she hurts her leg bobsledding at a different point and has to stay inside all cozy and write an epic story about a girl who loses her arms bobsledding. Wind in the Willows has that lovely snowy Christmas chapter, but may be too animal-y.
I love the idea of pulling picture books (and poetry!) into the mix. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and “The More it Snows” from Winnie the Pooh are two poems we revisit on every “first snow” of the season. I would also like to second Owl Moon and suggest The Mitten, or any of Jan Brett’s beautifully illustrated wintery tales. There is also Snow Day by Lester Laminack, and Snow by Cynthia Rylant. (I also love The Long Night Moon, also by Cynthia Rylant, even though it is more about the moon than the winter. It just has a wintery feel to it.) Oh! and I almost forgot: The Story of Snow The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino tells all about snowflakes, it is so cool!
We did talk, if we’re talking about picture books, about The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, right? We must have? I will be struck down by the picture book Gods if that’s not here. I love that book.
Oh, Geez. HOW could I forget that one??? Let them strike me down now.
Moominland Midwinter. It’s one in a series of Moominland books, that don’t need to be read in any particular order. They follow a collection of Finnish, fictional animals, but I wouldn’t call them animal books or fantasy books, exactly. The writing isn’t difficult, but beautiful and not dumbed down. The concepts are not modern (loneliness vs. a more modern version of divorce for example), but the books don’t feel antiquated to me. They are not full of action, but instead dwell in the head of the main characters. I loved the books around ten years old (as did my sisters).
Might be a bit much for an 8-year-old, but ‘And Both Were Young’ by Madeleine L’Engle is a wonderful winter-y read. (Without the fantasy/scifi-ish bent of most of her books, so not to worry.) A boarding school in Switzerland, and lots of skiing and drinking of hot chocolate and so forth.
Oh YES! to Winter Holiday for the older reader. It has old fashioned language but is good.
How about Heidi?
The 1st thing that came to mind was Little Women, but since that’s already on the list how about Louisa May Alcott’s lesser known books “Eight Cousins” and “Under the Lilacs”. I know a tobogganing run plays a large part in one of them, but I can’t remember which. Both are full of childhood adventure and I read them over and over in elementary school.