The colder weather of January is the perfect time to cozy up to picture books about ice and snow. In addition to being lovely books to read aloud, the books below offer opportunities to discuss such varied topics as animal migration and hibernation patterns, states of matter, and more. All of these books are available from NPL via curbside pickup or even online!
What do animals do when snow begins to fall? The rhyming text of When It Starts to Snow is a fun way to introduce at home or at school a discussion of animal migration and hibernation patterns. Mice hide indoors, geese fly south for the winter, and fish swim deep underneath frozen water. But what does a kid want to do when it starts to snow?
Although snow doesn't fall hard or often in Tennessee, it is still a more regular sight than in Florida, where I grew up. I didn't see snow for the first time until I was 24 years old, and I was enchanted. In First Snow, Sancho and his four sisters (Bella, Lola, Ava, and Maria) welcome their cousin Pedro for a visit. Pedro has never seen snow, and he's not excited about it. "It is cold. I do not like cold," he says. Can Sancho and his sisters, along with the rest of the neighborhood children, change his mind? The book's characters are depicted as friendly animals, and the text is the perfect length and has ideal pacing for young children.
Published just this year, Ten Ways to Hear Snow is a lovely tale of extended family, traditional foods, and yes, snow! Lina, the protagonist, wakes up to find that there is no noise coming from outside. Everything is quiet. Last night's blizzard has covered everything, "leaving the city muffled and white." But the snow doesn't deter Lina from visiting her grandmother, who she calls Sitti. Today is grape leaf making day, and Lina is going to help.
As she makes her way to her grandmother's building, Lina notes the different ways to "hear" snow: being shoveled from sidewalks, brushed off car windshields, falling in clumps from tree branches, and more. When Lina arrives at her Sitti's door, she is excited to get started on the stuffed grape leaves, and to tell her grandmother about last night's blizzard. While she's there, she also learns about more ways to hear snow.
This book lends itself well to discussion of the states of water: liquid, ice, and steam. It can also be used in language arts lessons about onomatopoeia (look for how author Cathy Camper interprets each sound snow makes). Finally, this wonderful book can start a discussion about how we make different traditional foods, and from whom we learn to make them. Maybe a snowy day is the perfect day to cook together!