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(Originally published December 2011)
We are getting ready to spend the holidays with our family and friends up in Montreal Canada. The most exciting part of this trip is the idea that there will be lots of snow. It got me thinking about all of the books we like to read that have something to do with snow, winter, and holidays.
Some of our favorite books happen to be written for Winter , when it’s the darkest outside and a perfect occasion to crawl up with a good book.
I’ve kept it to our Top Ten . It was a very difficult task but I believe we’ve done it. Already I’m thinking about all of those favorites I’ve left off the list. Sitting in a hand woven basket beside our reading bench are many holiday favo(rites. Here are just a few.
Can you Whistle, Johanna ? A Boy’s Search for a Grandfather– Ulf Stark. There are plenty of old men who would do as a grandfather at the retirement home, Ulf suggests, when Berra wonders why he doesn’t have one. They go there together to find a grandfather-ideally one who eats pig’s trotters, invites you to tea and who can teach you how to whistle. This is a warm and funny story about a friendship between two boys and an old man. A gentle account of companionship.
Christmas Treasury – Jan Brett
I can’t imagine winter reading without Jan Brett’sstories and tales full of Scandinavian traditions. The Mitten, The Hat, and Christmas Trolls are our favorites, but I just found this treasury with a few more pulled together as one holiday collection.
Lucia Morning in Sweden–Ewa Rydåker: Peek inside the busy Svensson house in Sweden, where Sofie, Louise, and Carl are getting ready for Lucia Day, December 13. Follow their adventures through the day and learn how to create your own Lucia Day celebration. This wonderful book includes recipes for Lucia buns and ginger snaps, words and music to the Santa Lucia song, and patterns for a Lucia gown, plus the legend of Santa Lucia. We have a full post about this book two posts ago.
Annika’s Secret Wish– Beverly Lewis: A beautiful book that has become part of our family’s Christmas heritage. Annika has wished for ten long years to find the almond in her Christmas rice pudding. Will this be her year ? Beautiful illustrations by Pamela Querin.
The Tomten-Astrid Lindgren: I have loved this book for over 40 years. The copy I have was printed in Sweden a long time ago but I am very glad that this story is available as a nicely affordable paperback because it’s such a sweet and comforting tale that lots of children will love. The beautiful illustrations capture perfectly the crisp, cold, snowy atmosphere of a still winter’s night as the Tomten, a small spirit and guardian of a humble farm homestead goes about on his secret rounds doing his caretaker duties in his gentle, loving way. He whispers encouragement to the sleeping animals and children. He has seen many hundreds of winters and so he knows that “winters come and winters go, summers come and summers go” and the wheel of the year turns on and on. I encourage you to read this to children to help them feel safe and cozy and snug in their beds on a cold, dark winter’s night…maybe try it this Winter Solstice and be sure to keep a look-out for tiny footprints in the snow around your home.
The Tomten and the Fox-Astrid LIndgren: Same as the above book. You can’t have one without the other. Moonlit scenes of the farmyard under snow show Reynard the fox prowling near the henhouse. He’s hungry, but Tomten, the kindly old troll who guards the henhouse at night, shares his porridge with the fox and the hens are safe–for another night.
Snow– Uri Shulevitz: This classic is simple and sweet and beautiful. When the snow starts to fall around here we grab this book. It’s great for new or early readers. It has many repetitive phrases that you will find yourself quoting whenever the white stuff falls from the sky.
Ollie’s Ski Trip and Peter and Lotta’s Christmas – Elsa Beskow
Two wonderful stories by one of my favorite author/illustrators. Every time it snows or we get ready to go skiing this book comes to mind – full of magic and wonder at the winter season. Peter and Lotta’s Christmas is equally as beautiful as Beskow’s other stories.
The Story of the Snow Children – Sibylle Von Olfers
Is there anything more magical than the thought of staring out the window at the snowflakes and having them turn into little snow children that carry you away on a magical winter adventure? Oh my. So much delight and goodness. The illustrations in this are simply stunning.
Christmas in Noisy Village – Astrid Lindgren
This tale of Christmas contains all that I hope my children will remember from their own childhood holiday seasons – handmade gifts, baking, singing, celebrations with friends and family, and much joy.
So this is my favorite holiday reading list. I know there are many lists going on in the blogosphere but before I go I did want to share a really great list of Hanukkah reads. I’d like to wish all of our friends celebrating Hanukkah this week a very happy holiday. If you have a list of your own, be sure to leave a link for it in our comments section so that we can see it . If you have a favorite book that hasn’t been mentioned, let us know that too! We can never refuse a good read.
Have many wonderful nights of cozy reading with you and your little ones….or your young at heart !
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