Falling in Love with Winter with Every Book.

By Robin Gallagher

The advice I got when I first moved to Ottawa was: Don’t try to avoid winter – embrace it. I laughed, then realized how true it was. This year, when we are embracing outdoor winter activities with as much verve as we can muster, this statement is truer than ever. Here are some winter reads to help you and your child fall in love with winter all over again – even in the month of February!

A Day So Gray

By Marie Lamba,
illustrated by Alea Marley.
“This day is so gray.”

“No, it isn’t… It’s deep soft brown, and shining blue, and silver splashes on bright yellow.” Winter can feel long, dull and colourless. But allow this book to show you all the beautiful hues of the season, then pop on some boots and head outside to find them yourself.

 The Story of Snow:
The Science of Winter’s Wonder

By Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson

You might know that each snowflake is unique, but did you know that the water content and temperature of a cloud are responsible for each snowflake’s uniqueness? This book is full of fascinating facts and amazing up-close photographs of snowflakes. It mixes narrative and informative text and, as an added bonus, the back of the book includes instructions on catching these delicate marvels.

 Ten Ways to Hear Snow

By Cathy Camper,
illustrated by Kenard Pak.

A gentle exploration of empathy, mindfulness and what we can hear when the world gets muffled, this book draws the reader into all the sounds that snow makes as we follow along with Lina as she walks to her grandmother’s house to make warak enab.

Snow Birds

By Kristen Hall,
illustrated by Jenni Desmond.

Lots of birds head south for the winter, and we watch them go wistfully, eagerly awaiting their return as one of the first signs of springs. But lots of birds stay – cardinals, chickadees, juncos, woodpeckers. This book is a poetic homage to the avian companions who battle through the winter alongside us. Seventeen intrepid bird species each get a poem, and the accompanying detailed illustrations are a gorgeous encouragement to get outside and try to spot some winter birds yourself.

Over and Under the Snow

By Kate Messner,
illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal.

What goes on underneath all that snow, anyway? Follow a young child and her father as they ski through the woods, discovering which animals are above and under the snow. The beautiful illustrations cast a gentle spell, and the end of the book includes some facts about various animals during the winter.

My Winter City

By James Gladstone,
illustrated by Gary Clement.

This book provides a child’s view of the fun and bustle of winter in the city. It perfectly captures the odd mixture of busy-ness and stillness that winter life in the city can be. It will be familiar to any child growing up in the heart of Ottawa. The text and the illustrations complement each other, each filling in what the other only hints at.

Snow Friends

By Margery Cuyler,
illustrated by Will Hillenbrand.

Another joyful read, this is the story of two dogs, Oscar and Daisy, who entice their young owners out for a romp in the snow. Hillenbrand’s illustrations are charming and the dogs’ enthusiasm for snow is infectious.

Some Snow Is . . .

By Ellen Yeomans,
illustrated by Andrea Offermann.

How many kinds of snow are there? There is first snow, sleet snow, fluff snow, snowball snow, tracking snow, sledding snow. Follow these three children through all the types of snow and all the myriad opportunities for play that they provide. Follow them, in fact, right into spring.

Robin Gallagher is a librarian at the Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library, where she works primarily with children and teens. When Robin is not working, you can find her reading (to herself or to her kids), walking her dog (while maintaining social distance or sewing (face masks).

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