Books for Kids | Winter and Holidays (2015)
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Winter is coming and with shorter days come colder temperatures, hot cocoa and family traditions. These ten 2015 books for kids on winter and the holidays all capture the spirit of the season in different ways, whether it’s about decking the halls, giving presents, being together as a family or helping others. Kids will enjoy reading these books with a warm drink while waiting for the magic of winter to unfold. Christmas, Hanukkah and the winter solstice all feature wonderful family customs that children love to discover and make their own. Roasting chestnuts on an open fire, anyone?
Winter: A Pop-Up Book
As the sun sets behind a snowy hill and the moon rises, young kids discovers the secret life a snowy landscape in the countryside with charming pop-ups and fun facts. With just a few words on each page, the book’s pages show the various animals and plants that are part of winter in North America. Kids are even invited to look for answers to questions in the illustrations. As you discover the winter world, check out the night sky constellations that appear on the horizon one by one. Who’s looking forward to winter nights now?
Ages: 0 to 3 years
Tractor Mac Saves Christmas
At Stony Meadows Farm, snow is falling in big flakes and is quickly getting very deep. The same day as the storm, the local community gets ready to celebrate the town tree lighting with carols, hot cocoa and gingerbread treats. Before long, Tractor Mac realizes that the roads are going to get snowed in and that the tree lighting might get cancelled. The Tractor Mac series is always a huge hit as it describes a lovely rural New England community and includes tractor and truck diagrams as opening and end pages. Highly recommended for lovers of things on wheels.
Ages: 2 to 5 years
“Dear Yeti, We’re searching for you. Sincerely, Hikers.” Thus starts the winter quest of two children in a stylized wilderness. Unfazed by the setbacks that they encounter, the pair walks deeper and deeper into unknown territory, communicating with the (shy) Yeti via bird-delivered notes. With undertones of “Where the Wild things are,” this book emphasizes the powers of adventure and friendship even in times of trouble. Young explorers at heart will relate with this pair of fearless children looking for a new friend.
Ages: 3-7 years
When a young boy wakes up to a snowy day, his first thought is to get dressed and ready to hit the park. However before he can go out, he has to wait for his granddad and his granddad takes ages. When at last they meet the boy’s friend at the park, they have the best snow day ever. This book celebrates the special bond between young children and their grandparents, as well as the benefits of waiting for something special.
Ages: 3 to 7 years
‘Twas The Night Before Christmas
Written by Clement C. Moore, adapted and illustrated by Daniel Kirk
What if the classic Christmas poem was told from the point of view of a mouse, the very same mouse that’s mentioned in the first four lines of the poem? When an adorable mouse family goes to sleep on a snowy night, all the children are nestled snuggly in bed when a clatter wakes up the mouse dad. The arrival of St. Nick (dressed as a lumberjack) ensues and the poem unfolds, almost as you know it but not quite. This is for all children who believe in magic and especially those who’ve read and loved The Library Mouse.
Ages: 4 to 8 years
The Best Parts of Christmas
Fritz knows that the best parts of Christmas happen around the tree—decorating, sharing treats or opening presents. In this cute story, the young boy helps decorate and once the tree is up, snuggles up with a book to spend quiet time by the tree. Unlike other Christmas books, the story continues after Christmas when the tree must leave but reluctant to let it go, the young boy finds a way to let the spirit of the Christmas tree live on.
Ages: 3 to 6 years
Oskar and the Eight Blessings
This heartwarming Hanukkah tale starts in 1938 when Oskar, a young refugee escaping Nazi Europe, arrives by ship in New York. With nothing else than the photo of his aunt Esther, Oskar must walk 100 blocks to find her on the seventh night of Hanukkah. His walk through the city becomes a voyage of city discovery as well as small miracles, as people he meets help him in different ways overcome the journey’s obstacles. The holiday season has never seemed so uplifting and welcoming.
Ages: 4 to 8 years
Me and My Dragon Christmas Spirit
How do you explain to your pet dragon what Christmas is all about? Assuming (wrongly) that his dragon knows nothing about the Christmas spirit, a young boy tells him about giving, helping others and spreading joy. All the while, the dragon shows that he has more than inkling what this is all about. When it comes to presents though, are they the most important thing of all and how do you earn money to buy them? This great book can show children the real meaning of Christmas in an off-kilter sort of way, what with a friendly dragon and a spirited boy.
Ages: 4 to 8 years
Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons
Rabbi Benjamin is so appreciated by members of his congregation that they offer him a special holiday vest with four silver buttons. All though the seasons, Rabbi Benjamin celebrates Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Chanukah and Passover. Each event takes place with joyous meals and children’s activities. Using soft ink and watercolor illustrations, the author knows how to covey universal messages of love and sharing. Your children will particularly enjoy the four festive recipes in the back pages of the book.
Ages: 4 to 8 years
Cold As Ice (Whatever After #6)
Weaving Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale The Snow Queen into a modern-day tween girl drama, Cold As Ice is tons of fun. Told in the narrator’s snarky tone, these wintry adventures start when two best friends are having a fall out, go through a magic mirror by accident and end up in a dangerous fairy tale world. Throwing in references to Disney’s version of The Snow Queen, Frozen, this book includes messages on friendship and loyalty.
Ages: 7 to 10 years
The Mutts Winter Diaries
Perfect for a quick read on the go or as a pre-Winter taster, this book is a collection of winter-themed Mutts comic strips starring the usual Mooch, Earl and their friends. With 176 pages of winter strips, the Mutts Winter Diaries will appeal both to adults who miss the comic section of their newspaper and to youngsters who love short formats. Expect witty scenes reminiscent of the classic Peanuts thoughtfulness.
Ages: 8 to 12 years
This monthly feature is also published in the Golden Gate Mothers Group Magazine in San Francisco, December 2015/January 2016 issue, as the Books for Kids column. I’ve been writing this column since 2005 and love discovering new books for all ages.
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