This past week, we’ve had our first proper snowfall here in Berlin this winter. We had just enough snow last weekend to go out for a round of sledging, snowball throwing and snowman building, and then a few days ago we had a complete white-out with a proper snowstorm. Sadly, it has since rained and all the snow has turned to mush and grit, so instead we have been reading our favourite winter books and dreaming about the next snowfall. Many books set in winter prominently feature Christmas, but we’ve managed to find a few which we love, that are still relevant for the remaining long months of winter. Clockwise from the top, they are:
- ‘The Snowy Day‘ by Ezra Jack Keats – This book, first published in 1962, beautifully captures the first snowfall. One winter morning, Peter wakes up to find snow has fallen during the night. He rushes outside to explore – footprints, snowballs, snowman, snow angels, the lot! One of the sweetest moments, is when he puts a snowball in his pocket to save it for the next day, not wanting the winter wonderland to end. You can probably guess what happens to it, but to find out what else happens the next day, you’ll have to read the book. Beautifully illustrated, this was apparently the first full-colour picture book to feature a black child as the protagonist, and was the 1963 winner of the Caldecott Medal.
- ‘White Snow, Bright Snow‘ by Alvin Tresselt (author) & Roger Duvoisin (illustrator) – This book first published in 1947,starts with a beautiful poem. The story then follows several people such as the postman, the farmer and the policeman, and the practical grownup things that they do when the first snow sets in, whilst the children laugh and dance and enjoy themselves. Duvoisin won the Caldecott Medal in 1948 for his illustrations. Interestingly, Duvoisin and Tresselt did not meet until after the book was published.
- ‘Pip and Posy. The Snowy Day‘ by Axel Scheffler – Jumping ahead to a more contemporary author, Axel Scheffler is probably most famous for his illustrations of Julia Donaldson’s book including The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man and others, but we also love his ‘Pip and Posy’ series. It’s perfect for our 2 year old. In ‘The Snowy Day’, the two friends can’t agree on what kind of snowman – or snow animal? – to build, but after some tears they learn how to have fun together.
- ‘Snow‘ by Uri Shulevitz – Another book about first snowfall, in which a little boy’s faith in the first snowflake sees a grey city turn white, and the pessimistic grownups proven wrong. The simplicity of the words make this suitable for young readers too, and Shulevitz received a Caldecott Honor in 1999 for his lively illustrations.
- ‘Elmer in the Snow‘ by David McKee – Finally, another one that’s a favourite with our 2 year old: one of Elmer the patchwork elephant’s adventures! When some of the other elephants complain that it’s colder than usual, Elmer takes them on a trip to show them what cold really is, and gives them their first taste of snow.
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