Children's Book Recommendations

Winter Edition – Children’s Book Recommendations

What better time to snuggle up and read is there than winter? Our comfy chairs and cozy blankets seem to call out for me to fall into them and curl up with my kiddos and drift off to another time and place. The (ex-)teacher in me can’t help but still bring out books that are devoted to snow, snowflakes, and wintertime during this month, even though we live in northern California where we have to drive a few hours to actually play in that type of environment. 😉 We also take some time to learn a little more about Martin Luther King Jr. each year and the important message(s) he dedicated his life to preaching.
Here are our family’s favorite books for the month…

The Snowy Day – ages 2-5 years
I just recently learned that this Caldecott Medal winner is The New York Public Library’s “Most Borrowed Book”! It has been checked out over 485,500 times! Published in 1962, it was one of the first picture books that portrayed a multicultural urban setting. Obviously Peter’s day in the snow resonates with people. We follow him as he makes different kinds of tracks, makes a snowman and an angel, slides down a hill, and even takes a snowball home in his pocket for a souvenir.
Snowflake Bentley – ages 4-8
This 1999 Caldecott Medal winner tells the true story of Wilson Bentley, the boy who was obsessed with the beauty of snowflakes, who grew up to become a photographer of the six-pointed crystals. He was in awe of their intricacies and that each one was unique. When he was 66 years old, he published a book of those original photographs – it is quite amazing.
Secrets of Winter – ages 3-7
I just love the Shine-a-Light book series by Usborne Books & More. Kids are encouraged to shine a flashlight (or phone light) through the page from behind to reveal what is hidden after the passage has been read. It’s fun to see what is revealed and if the kids can guess correctly. In this book, discover what animals are sleeping, making tracks in the snow, or storing food for winter. It’s especially fun to see my kids huddled together under a sheet, like they’re on a mission to be sneaky in their discoveries.
The Mitten – ages 4-7
This is an old Ukrainian folk tale, but perhaps the most popular version of this classic is the one re-told by Jan Brett. A little boy drops his mitten in the woods and a group of animals (increasing in number and size!) come along to find warmth and comfort in it… but will they all fit?
The Biggest Snowman Ever – ages 4-8
This cute tale follows pals Desmond and Clayton as they compete against each other in the town’s challenge to build the biggest snowman. They soon realize their friendship thrives on teamwork, and… well, I won’t give away the ending. 😉 (These characters also star in The Biggest Valentine Ever which I recommend in my February Book List).
The Big Snuggle-up – ages 4-7
This book is out of print, but there are great used options available online. Written in rhyme, the sweet tale tells of a scarecrow who comes in out of the snow to get warm. He brings along a mouse who lives in his sleeve. But soon, he’s joined my many others looking to snuggle up with him, and escape the cold, thaw out, or catch a snooze. The repetition of the animal words are great for young emerging readers.

The Snowman – ages 5-8
This wordless tale has been made into a short movie because of its sweet simplicity and popularity. A young boy runs out into the winter snow one morning to build a snowman, who then proceeds to come alive in his dream that evening and they spend quite an adventurous day together. I’m sure a few of the scenes have flashed through kids’ minds when they build their very own snowmen sometimes.
A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation – ages 7-10
This is a 2019 Caldecott Medal Nominee and we’ll find out in just two short weeks if it wins! It chronicles the hours before Martin steps up to the mic starting with the night before. The March on Washington brought one of the nation’s most profound preachers and eloquent orator’s to the nation’s capital for an address that would go down in history.
Martin’s Big Words – ages 6-9
I think this big picture book is a beautiful introduction to this pivotal man and his poignant words. Kids will be drawn to the cut-paper illustrations as well as the many quotes that I can only pray they hear/read and think, “Yes, we want that too!”
I Have a Dream – ages 7+
Stunning and vivid illustrations pair with the most famous section of words taken from this infamous speech spoken on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28,1963. Each page is a visual that drives home his message and further inspires us to live out his dream today. The entire speech is printed on the pack pages and it also comes with an audio CD of the official recording of his speech!
If a Bus Could Talk – ages 6-9
I can’t talk to my kids about MLK Jr. without also wanting to talk about Rosa Parks, and I think this children’s book is a great one to introduce her story. Marcie is a little girl who boards a bus who ends up getting a history lesson about Rosa and the Civil Rights Movement during her ride. She hops off ready to celebrate Rosa’s birthday on February 4th.
Rosa – ages 5-9
This Caldecott Honor Book is the other one we read on her birthday (Feb 4) as another way to honor Mrs. Parks’ bravery and resilience. The cut-paper illustrations in this picture book compliment the author’s portrayal of Rosa’s demeanor, character, and strength on each page.
Stay warm, be brave, and happy reading, beloved!

(This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the recommended books from these links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, so thank you. 😊)

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galations 3:28 (NIV)
(referenced in Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech)

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