I have a confession: I hate winter. I don’t like snow. I don’t like cold weather.
My kids, on the other hand…they LOVE winter. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, they’re checking for snowflakes and planning the snowman they’re going to build. And while I don’t love winter, I do love them, so I do my best to support their enthusiasm.
You may also enjoy these Diverse Christmas Picture Books!
One thing I can get excited about is picture books about winter. I don’t want to go out in the snow, but I’ll happily cozy up with my kids and read about it! This list includes some of my favorite winter picture books that not only have magical stories, but also feature diverse characters. All kinds of kids love winter, and we should see all kinds of kids in our winter picture books!
15 Diverse Winter Picture Books
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats — This classic picture book is just as much fun to read today as it was when it was first published in 1962. Peter is so excited when he wakes up to see snow outside his window! He spends the day playing, making tracks in the snow and enjoying all the fun a winter day brings. My boys especially loves it when Peter tries to save a snowball for later! A great read-aloud for kids of all ages.
When This World Was New by D. H. Figueredo — Danilito is nervous about moving from his warm island home to New York City. He’s especially nervous about attending a new school and learning to speak English. How will he find his way? How will he talk with his classmates? When Danilito wakes up for his first day of school, he finds the city covered in snow. Danilito and his father experience it together, and it gives them both courage to face the day.
SkySisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose — Two Ojibway sisters are venturing to see the Northern Lights. Their grandmother has told them, “Wisdom comes on silent wings,” but the younger sister finds it hard to stay quiet. However, the longer she travels, the more she comes to appreciate the quiet. Some supernatural helpers come alongside the sisters to help them reach their destination.
Iguanas in the Snow by Francisco X. Alarcon — I love this book so much! This bilingual poetry book captures the magic and whimsy of winter. The illustrations are rich and gorgeous, and Alarcon paints beautiful pictures with his words, and makes poetry accessible for young readers.
Cold and Hot by Jacqueline Sweeney — A little boy just wants to go outside and play in the snow, but his family makes him put on layers and layers of clothes. Pretty soon, he starts feeling hot, even though it’s cold outside! This is a sweet story about a common situation many kids will be able to empathize with.
Tracks in the Snow by Wong Herbert Yee — A little girl sees tracks in the snow outside her window, so she bundles up in her winter clothes and goes outside to explore. As she follows the tracks, she discovers that they are her own! This sweet, rhyming picture book is an excellent read-aloud, and is also easy enough for new readers.
Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins — On a cold winter day, Pauline has an idea — a lemonade stand! Her parents think it’s too cold to sell lemonade, but Pauline is determined. She recruits her brother John-John, and they gather their quarters to buy supplies. As they market their drinks on the cold day, they learn important lessons about profit, loss, and counting money. This super fun book is an excellent blend of math and reading, and it also shows a sweet relationship between brother and sister.
Good Morning, Snowplow! by Deborah Bruss — If you have a little one who loves big trucks and machines, this book is a must-read! While the rest of the world is heading to bed, a man and his dog are getting ready to work. They head out into the cold winter night to clear the roads and keep people safe. The rhyming text makes this a perfect read-aloud, and the illustrations are gorgeous.
Dusk by Uri Shulevitz — A boy with a dog his grandfather with a long beard are taking a walk in the city at sunset. As the sky gets darker, the city begins to light up, revealing Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa decorations and displays. This book is a beautiful celebration of diversity, and is an excellent introduction to the many holidays that are celebrated in the winter months.
Winter Candle by Jeron Ashford — Nana Clover is preparing for Thanksgiving dinner when she realizes she doesn’t have a candle to put on the table. She visits the super in her building, who lends her one. Two weeks later, the Danziger’s need a havdalah candle, so the small light gets passed on to them. This one candle moves around the building, celebrating St. Lucia Day, Kwanzaa, and other holidays. This book is a beautiful picture of how we can all share light with each other, no matter what we believe or how we celebrate.
Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar — Little Red’s ice skate’s are falling apart, and without skates, she can’t glide her way to grandma’s house. There’s a pairs skating competition coming up, and the prize is a brand new pair of skates! But who will Red’s partner be…can you guess? Kids who are familiar with the classic Little Red story will love this modern update, which is smart and funny.
The First Day of Winter by Denise Flemming — This book follows the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas” and introduces new trinkets and trimmings every day that can be used to build the perfect snowman. It’s great to read/sing aloud, and especially fun to read on the first day of the winter season.
In The Snow by Huy Voun Lee — Xio Ming and his mother head out into the snow together. Xio Ming has been learning Chinese characters, and he is excited to use a stick to practice writing them in the snow. This is a lovely story that introduces readers to many Chinese characters, and it also includes Chinese pronunciation.
The Storyteller’s Candle by Lucia Gonzales — Cousins Hildemar and Santiago are having a hard time adjusting to life in New York City. The winter is so cold, and life is so much different than it was in Puerto Rico. But one day, a special visitor comes to their classroom. Pura Belpre is a public librarian who tells magical stories, and she makes the cousins aware of the public library in their community. Suddenly, Hildemar and Santiago have a place where they can belong. This story is a beautiful tribute to the real Pura Belpre, New York City’s first Latina librarian.
Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak — How do we know that winter is coming? A brother and sister walk together through their town, and along the way the observe the signs in nature that show them that autumn will soon become winter. Pak’s story is simple but sweet, and his illustrations are absolutely stunning.
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