Seven Winter Books for Kids

sugar-on-snow.jpgToday, Hillary of Mass Audubon shares seven favorite winter books for kids:

Getting outside sometimes can seem more of a chore than a fun activity, especially when -- after the endless battle of zipping jackets, strapping boots, and finding mittens -- your child inevitably needs to go potty. But even if you feel like hibernating indoors for the winter, that doesn't mean you can't appreciate and revel in the wonders of nature. To help get you in the spirit, here are seven of my favorite illustrated winter children's stories. And you never know. They might just inspire you to brave the bundling and head outdoors.
1. The Mitten by Jan Brett. From Massachusetts native Brett comes the tale of how a boy's lost mitten turns into an unlikely spot for the animals of the forest to find a warm and cozy spot to rest. It's a great way to talk about who lives in the forest and how they relate to one another. Also, be sure to check out Brett's other wintery tales including The Hat.

2. Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart. This beautifully illustrated book by another local Massachusetts author takes young children on a discovery tour of the layers of snow that play home to ladybugs, salamanders, chipmunks, carp, and more.

3. Sugar on Snow by Nan Parson Rossiter. Rossiter, a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, lovingly illustrates a late winter/early spring New England tradition: harvesting sap from maple trees and turning it into maple syrup. The book captures the soft light of spring, the crisp air, and the excitement and hard work of syruping time.

4. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (author) and John Schoenherr (illustrator). Owl Moon is a classic tale of a father and daughter going on a winter's night search for a great horned owl under a full moon. On the way, they encounter a fox, a raccoon, a field mouse, and a deer, all depicted in beautiful watercolor scenes by Schoenherr.

5. The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader. Delighting children since 1949, The Big Snow depicts how animals prepare for a long and cold winter and their delight when the first flakes hit the ground.

6. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The story of a boy and his adventurous day of playing in the snow will make kids big and small want to race outside and enjoy a cold winter's day.

7. Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson (author) and Jane Chapman (illustrator). While a bear gets his winter shut-eye, the forest animals -- including a mouse, hare, badger, mole, wren, and raven -- use his cave as the perfect spot to wait out a winter storm. But in the middle of their impromptu party, the bear wakes up!

Find many of these books and others like them at the Audubon Shop in Lincoln. Better yet, join a story-telling program at one of Mass Audubon's wildlife sanctuaries around the state.