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As the temps cool and I hear reports from friends that Old Man Winter has already come’a callin’ to their zip code, it makes me think about all of the books our family has read in the past that have something to do with snow, winter, and holidays. With that in mind, I decided to create A Holiday and Winter-themed Booklist for Kids.
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.
Winter-themed Booklist for Kids
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’s stories 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.
The Christmas Wish
The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert and the most stunning photography by her husband Per Breiehagen is mesmerizing and sure to become a family classic.
Can you imagine living “…so far North that you never have to put away your winter clothes?”
Such is the case for Anja who’s greatest wish is to go to the North Pole and become one of Santa’s elves.
Before she leaves in search of Santa, Anja helps the old woman down the street by catching her cat, decorating the gingerbread house they had baked together and sweeps out her sauna as well as finds a small pine tree for her to enjoy.
Next thing on her list before she departs is to deliver cards and presents to all her friends.
After studying the map on the schoolroom wall, Anja is ready to go and find Santa Claus with the help of a red cardinal who helps her find her way. Anja makes her way through the snow on wooden skis until she comes to a horse.
The horse lets Anja sleep in his barn and lets her ride him for one day and one night. The horse takes Anja to a cave where her next helper friend awaits.
Inspired by his native Norway and his snow loving daughter, Anja, award-winning photographer Per Breiehagen created a series of striking images of Anja dressed in traditional Norwegian clothing and Sami reindeer shoes.
The photos show Anja interacting with reindeer and other Arctic animals. The response to these images on Per’s website was beyond expectations. People from all corners of the world wanted to see more.
Lori Evert, Anja’s mother, was so inspired by the beauty and magic of the image of Anja and the reindeer that she wrote a narrative about who they might be and why they were there. The family then created more pictures to illustrate the story.
The Christmas Wish, which began as a family Christmas card, has evolved into a beautifully crafted book for children.
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This money goes towards postage and supplies to keep books and ideas in the hands of young readers!
Something To Do
Make one of those incredible red hats that Anja is wearing. Here’s how we did it !!!
We couldn’t very well read a book about a Norwegian elf and not have a hat to wear like hers. This simple and fun version I created so that children could knit this without any problem. You can knit this flat or on circular needles. Either way it comes out just fine.
- Yarn : I used a chunky 5 baby alpaca yarn
- Needles size 10
- Yarn needle only if knitting flat
Gauge: 4 X 4 14 sts over 20 rows
Cast On 65 stitches
Work in rib stitch for two inches. Rib stitch is: knit 2, purl 2
Work in Stockinette stitch for 16 rows. Stockinette stitch is knit a row, purl a row.
*On row 16 start decreasing: This is a knit row. Knit 1, K2together. Knit as usual until you get to the last three stitches at the end of this row. K2together, K 1.
Nest Row: Purl *
Continue this pattern until you have 5 stitches bind off. Gather tightly to close if you are working in the round.
If you knit this flat, block, and sew together.
Is that cute or what? If you create this fun hat in your house, please share the details in the comment area below!
Experience the magical story of a family of foxes that took up residence right in the front yard of the author and publisher, Valarie Budayr. The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden offers an enthusiastically educational opportunity to observe this fox family grow and learn together.
From digging and hunting to playing and resting, this diary shares a rare glimpse into the private lives of Momma Rennie and her babies. Come watch as they navigate this wildly dangerous but still wonderful world. Great to share with your children or students, The Fox Diaries speaks to the importance of growing and learning both individually and as a family unit. It is a perfect book for story time or family sharing. Not only can you read about the daily rituals of this marvelous fox family, but there is also an information-packed resource section at the end of the book that includes lots of facts and even a few “fox movies” that you can enjoy with your family. Grab your copy of this beautiful and inspiring book HERE.