In my house we have more books than we know what to do with! I love children’s books and when I was teaching, I’d often order new ones or use my bonus points to snag some new books for my kiddos with Scholastic. As a result, we have three bookshelves just about filled with great reads. Last year, I came up with a great system to help my children experience all of the books we had. At bedtime, each child gets to select one book to be read. In the past, this was an overwhelming task for the children due to the sheer number of choices we had. We ended up reading the same books over and over again, until I began to dread bedtime and my nightly readings of Hop on Pop and Elmo’s Potty Time. Once we were done reading, I’d often find the books shoved carelessly back on a shelf or just thrown on the floor of someone’s closet.
Last year I came up with a new system to help out with our book dilemmas. I put a large basket in one of my son’s closets and filled it with books relating to current holidays, themes they were learning about in school etc. At bedtime, the kids were only allowed to select a book from this designated basket and then return it to the basket when we were done. I found it to be a great system for my kids and I switch the books out every 3-4 weeks or so.
Currently, our basket is filled with winter stories and I’ve love to share the titles of some of our favorites in case you are looking for some great new choices.
Little Penguin’s Tale by Audrey Wood- This is a very silly story about a penguin who wandered away from the others to seek some fun. He is constantly on the verge of getting into trouble throughout the story right up until the very end of his journey. There is a surprise ending and Little Penguin learns a valuable lesson before heading home.
One Winter’s Day by: M. Christina Butler and Illustrated by Tina Macnaughton- This is a heartwarming story about a little hedgehog whose home blows away in a winter storm. He shows extraordinary kindness to other animals along the way to his friend Badger’s house. When he is finally able to return back to the site of his home, he is delighted to find that the other animals returned his kindness by building him a new home.
The Mitten: Adapted and Illustrated by Jan Brett- I have read this story literally a hundred times; to my kindergarten classes and to my own children. It is a Ukrainian folktale about a boy who asked his grandmother to knit him mittens as white as the snow. His grandmother worried that he’d drop a mitten in the snow and not be able to find it but she knit it for him anyway. On his way to school, the little boy dropped one of his new mittens and some animals turned it into a warm, cozy place to rest. The little mitten was pulled and stretched out to accommodate all of the animals inside. My children especially love the last page of this book. There is no text, but a picture of the little boy and his grandmother; the grandmother is looking at the regular mitten and the now giant mitten with a puzzled expression on her face. This book is a big-time favorite and if you’ve never read it, I encourage you to check it out.
One of my favorite things about the Jan Brett books is the illustrations on the sides of the pages. They show different scenes in the book such as a preview of which animal is coming next, or a look at what is going on simultaneously with another character in the book.
The Hat: Written and Illustrated by Jan Brett -For those children who love The Mitten, The Hat is another great but silly animal story. This time, the setting is on a farm and the main character, little Hedgie the hedgehog, gets a stocking stuck on his quills. The other animals question his attire but then decide Hedgie might be on to something and they seek warm clothing as well. In my Kindergarten classes, I loved comparing the two stories with the children; talking about how they were alike and different. Again, this story has the illustrations in the sidebars as well.
Snowmen at Night: Written by Caralyn Buehner and Illustrated by Mark Buehner – This is an adorable rhyming story explaining why your snowman may look a little crooked in the morning. Each page is a description of the fun and games that the snowmen partake in when the people are asleep. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful to look at and the snowmen’s faces are so expressive. In each illustration, there are hidden pictures for the children to search for which adds to the appeal of this charming story. There are at least two other books in this series too: Snowmen at Christmastime and Snowmen all Year.
Some other wintertime favorites:
-The Snowy Day by: Ezra Jack Keats
-Don’t Wake up the Bear by: Marjorie Dennis Murray and Patricia Wittmann
-One Snowy Night by: M. Christina Butler and Illustrated by Tina Macnaughton
-Bear Snores On by: Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
- Tacky and the Winter Games (Tacky the Penguin) by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger