Saturday, December 10, 2016
Advent: Winter Books
There are some books that I know are only in our home temporarily (especially board books, which will age out as my youngest develops a longer attention span), but I thought it would be fun to share what is currently in our collection. Please feel free to contribute suggestions; there are several titles on my wishlist, and each year I try to add at least one new book to the rotation.
If you are interested in starting your own tradition but don't have many Christmas books on hand and are intimidated by the cost of buying dozens of books, I recommend you collect all year, keeping an eye out at garage sales and library sales (my library is kind enough to have a holiday section, which I go straight to each year). Then I enhance my collection via Amazon (the Amazon links here are affiliate links, meaning that should you make any purchase via these links, Amazon will give me a small percentage, at no additional cost to you).
As our pile is pretty diverse, I'm going to do this in installments. Here I share the books that celebrate the winter season, and I also shared collections that focused on the general interest Christmas books, our nativity books, and our board books.
Also, one suggestion (that I have yet to implement myself): when you're packing away the books for the year, I suggest taking the time to wrap them then, so you're not rushing yourself once Advent rolls around again (one year I was wrapping some books every few days, as I didn't have enough time to do them all before we began). Otherwise, I'm hoping to sew reusable bags to easily insert them in, so as to save time and eliminate the wrapping paper waste.
The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll
Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett
We meet a gingerbread boy who wishes for friends. He finds himself in a bakery and is making overtures to the other pastries, but they are inanimate. He returns home devastated, only to learn a new set of cookie friends have been baked.
As is standard for Brett's books, there is plenty to explore on every page, and the margins can have their own story taking place (in this book, we see a recipe for gingerbread cookies).
As far as Brett's numerous books go, this, in my opinion, is the weakest, although my girls may disagree.
The Hat by Jan Brett
This is a perfect companion book to The Mitten, also by Jan Brett. Aided by Brett's characteristic, highly detailed illustrations, children get drawn in by the story of winter clothing being aired out on a clothesline. When one woolen sock slips off, a hedgehog tries to make it his hat and the other animals try to find a way to get involved.
The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Snow by Steve Sanfield and Jeanette Winter
Snow by Uri Shulevitz
Snowball Soup by Mercer Mayer
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The final page includes a quotation as well as several of his stunning photographs.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
We have two versions of this story, both the original wordless Briggs story, and a simplified version of the original Briggs story.
The latter edition is a beginning reader book; in it, a boy builds a snowman and it comes to life, taking him on a flying adventure after discovering things like the cat and paper towels.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
This is a book that is hard to extract from my daughter - she adores it and requests us to read it to her year-round. In 2016, Amazon even released a darling movie inspired by the events in the book.
Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay
When I heard there was a winter-themed book, I ordered it to include in our collection, beginning in 2017. It's a pleasant book that has Stella introducing her brother Sam to his first experience of snowfall and answering his questions in imaginative ways. My oldest daughter nabbed this book briefly before it was wrapped and has already given it her seal of approval (she told her little sister she knows the size of it and is going to try to open it first to share in the delight of it with her).
The way Stella and Sam relate with each other mirrors my daughters' relationships together, not to mention their personalities, so I anticipate this being a beloved favorite for many years to come.
The Walking Coat by Pauline Watson
This is a little-known work that has been illustrated by Tomie de Paola, whose artwork I appreciate (several of my Christmas titles are illustrated by him, and I have still more on my wishlist).
We've had this book for a couple years now, but only in 2017 have I thought to add it to our advent collection due to the seasonal focus.