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There is something about December that has us running for our favorites of everything and that includes books. Chiller temps, warm socks and family snuggle time makes books that highlight the season even more special.
Lesser-Known Kidlit Books that Celebrate Winter
Eleven award-winning holiday stories from nine authors fill the pages of Winter Wonder.
Winter Wonder brings readers a plethora of Christmas stories by an array of well-loved authors featuring characters drawn from their award-winning books. The book recently won an award itself–first place in the Purple Dragonfly Children’s Book Awards for Best Anthology.
The Story of the Snow Children by Sibylle von Olfers
I can’t think of a better way to start off the December season than with the story of The story of the Snow Children by Sibylle von Olfers. Who couldn’t love Poppy in her little red hat going to a winter’s feast? I was trying to remember the first time I heard this story and I can’t remember. It seems like it been a constant throughout my life.
The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown
The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown is a heart grabber. The book has the most beautiful paintings courtesy of illustrator, Jim Lamarche.
They put golden tinsel
on his branches
And golden bells
And green icicles
And silver stars
And red and green and blue
And purple chains of shining Christmas balls.
All alone in an empty field grew a little fir tree. It dreamed of being part of a forest, or part of anything at all. Then one winter day, a man takes the little fir tree away and it finds itself at the center of a little boy’s very special celebration. This sweet little boy is special, he has a lame leg and he has never been to the forest and so his father brings the forest to him. This little tree gets planted in a wooden tub. “You have come to me from the wild green forest, and you are a part of my very own world.” said the little boy.
In the spring the little tree is returned to the woods to grow through the summer only to return to the little boy the following winter. The tree loved to celebrate Christmas with the little boy but after a few years, both of them became too big for this annual journey. I will not tell you the rest. You will just have to get yourself a copy and find out what happens.
The Little Snowgirl by Carolyn Croll
Croll holds a special place in her heart for her Russian heritage and her interpretation of the old Russian folk tale The Little Daughter of the Snow is a beautiful new twist on an old story.
The story centers around a very sweet couple who had just enough in life: a home, food, warm clothing, and love. But the one thing they wanted more than anything else was a real child of their own.
Saddened by his wife’s pain of not having a child, the husband goes outdoors late one winter’s night and creates a beautiful Snowgirl out of fresh snow for his wife to wake up to in the morning. While his wife is very happy to see his creation, she saddens again knowing that it is still not a ‘real’ child.
On Christmas Eve, the Snowgirl decided to ask Babouschka for something very special. Dismayed by the thought of their daughter sleeping in the cold on such a special evening, the couple decides to carry her inside and put her near the fire to keep her warm like a real child.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Somewhere in the dusty stacks of books I still have from childhood I know lurks the whole Little House series that received as a gift when I was eight! To this day, this book cover reminds me so much of the North Country when I lived my whole life. And how this series of book warmed my heart and piqued my interest in reading.
This book is known as the book that started it all” since Little House in the Big Woods is the first book in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s treasured Little House series, which is based on her life growing up as an American pioneer.
Told from four-year-old Laura’s point of view, this story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Laura lives in the little house with her pa, her ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard for the family, since they must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her family celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa’s fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep.
And so begins Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers and listeners as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier history and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.
First Snow byBomi Park(Chronicle Books):
There’s something magical about the first snowfall of the year. This little girl is woken by the pat pat pat of the first snowflakes on her window. She’s drawn outside by the magic white flakes and starts rolling her first snowman of the year, followed by her puppy friend. The longer she rolls her snow ball, the farther she gets into the forest. Then she comes upon an entire field of children making snowmen. It’s the magic of the first snow!
The Saint Nicholas Day Snow. by Charlotte Riggle
Most folks know St. Nicholas from Clement Clark Moore’s “Night before Christmas.” In that nineteenth-century poem, the saint is a jolly old elf. And many families love celebrating the magic of this St. Nicholas. They love sending wish lists to the North Pole. They love the reindeer, the sleigh loaded with gifts, the stockings hung by the chimney with care and filled to overflowing with candy and toys.
The story itself, the story of The Saint Nicholas Day Snow, is a story of here and now. A young girl’s grandmother is ill, so her parents arrange for her to spend the night with her best friend. They need to get to the hospital where the grandmother is being treated.
In the hurry and the worry, Elizabeth’s parents have forgotten that it’s St. Nicholas Eve. Read the full review, along with some awesome cookie recipes, HERE.
Something To Do:
Corn Husk Dolls:
Before pioneer girls like Laura Ingalls had access to “fancy” store-bought dolls, they make their own with corn husks and bits of cloth.
- a bucket of water
- bags of cornhusks- most easily purchased (dried, cleaned and in uniform sizes), at a local craft store
- cornhusk doll diagram page (print out)
****Before beginning, soak cornhusks in a bucket of water until they are soft and pliable.****
Heart-shaped door or tree hangers
Since the story of The Litte Fir has heart we are going to make something wonderful for this tree. A thick, felt heart, to be exact. I’m going to take one of my favorite buttons to put it at the center of the heart and then add a string to hang it on our “outdoor” tree. It also makes a nice package tag.
- Make a heart pattern
- Take a thick piece of felt any color and cut out one heart pattern
- Take your favorite button and glue it in the middle of the heart
- Use a small hole punch to make a hole a the top of your heart.
- Thread ribbon or string through the hole.
- Now hang it up.
Bring Your Own Little Snowgirl to Life for Your Children!
Years ago, Little Acorn Learning founder, Eileen Straton, creating the most delightful companion activity for The Little Snowgirl. Go here for the tutorial.
More books about winter!