Cool Books for Cold-Weather Reading

December 26th, 2016 by

Happy Christmahanakwanzika! That’s Christmas + Hanukkah + Kwanzaa, in case you were wondering. This year, the three holidays are all very close to each other, which is awesome. But let’s not forget another very important December date that just passed: the winter solstice!

I know I’m at odds with popular opinion, but I much prefer winter over summer. I love stomping around in newly fallen snow. I love snuggling up with a hot seasonal beverage. I love putting a yule log YouTube video on my TV and pretending to warm myself by the fire. (Pro tip: Make sure you choose a video with “high quality crackling fire sounds.” Worth it.)

In other words, forget the holidays — winter itself deserves celebrating! So I’ve put together this list of seasonal reads so you can immerse yourself in the wonderful winter chill:

ophelia-and-the-marvelous-boyOphelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
When Ophelia’s father starts working in an expansive museum, she meets a mysterious boy who claims to live in the building as the captive of the evil Snow Queen. As Ophelia tries to learn more, she finds herself in great danger!



Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Just like in Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, this story follows the adventures of a brave girl (Hazel) who must save a boy (her friend Jack) from a malevolent Snow Queen. Although this book is much more closely connected to the original Hans Christian Andersen tale that inspired it, Breadcrumbs also folds in some relatable real-life growing-up stuff too.


The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis
Since we’re on the topic of royal winter villains, I obviously had to mention this epic fantasy adventure about four siblings battling the powerful White Witch. Given that Narnia has been stuck in winter for ages, I’d say this is a perfect book for reading this season!


time-fetchThe Time Fetch by Amy Herrick
Nancy highlighted this sci-fi/fantasy book in her recent post about “Book to Screen Adaptations We Need,” but she didn’t mention the incredible timeliness of her choice: The book takes place in the days leading up to the winter solstice, and Nancy wrote her blog post just three days before this year’s winter solstice! I wonder if the oversight had anything to do with a real-life appearance by the time gobblers from the story!

absolutely-trulyAbsolutely Truly (A Pumpkin Falls Mystery) by Heather Vogel Frederick
I absolutely truly loved this book. Yes, that’s a corny pun — but it’s also the truth! Somehow I simultaneously gobbled up and hugged this book in a tight embrace the whole time I read it. Not even metaphorically! Okay, yes, metaphorically. But seriously, I really enjoyed Absolutely Truly — a mystery involving an undelivered letter in a valuable book. Icy winter weather also plays a big role in the story, in case you couldn’t tell from the cover.


If you’re looking for even more winter book recommendations, check out this Kidsmomo booklist: “A Wintry Mix of Books.” Of course, if you have your own favorite read for the season, please leave a comment and share! In the meantime, stay warm!

— Karen

Karen seems to have caught a cold over the last few days. What a perfect excuse for staying inside with a good book!

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A Blizzard’s Coming, and Not the Delicious Kind

December 26th, 2010 by

I just found out that in the next couple of days, a blizzard is going to hit the Northeast. And it’s a big deal, because based on the use of all caps in the weather advisory announcement, the forecasters are trying to yell really, really loud.

Growing up in sunny Southern California, I never had to worry about blizzards or snowstorms. Hail fell from the sky about once every 30 years. Rain was rare and timid. So to me, snow was exciting, and the idea of having to “survive the winter” was thrilling. Now that I’m in (freezing) New York City, I no longer have to live vicariously through the snowstorms described in books!

Things I Learned from Books about Winter:

  • If you’re in a blizzard, keep walking to stay warm, but make sure you hold onto a rope, or a building. You don’t want to wander off! (The Long Winter)
  • If you feel a solid snowdrift that you can hide in, make a large air pocket and hide in there. Eating the Christmas candy in your pocket is optional. (By the Banks of Plum Creek)
  • If you have a snow dog, make sure to take care of it well. In return, it’ll take care of you. (The Call of the Wild)
  • “Whatever else you do, keep your feet warm!” (Superintendent Williams to Laura’s class, when visiting in These Happy Golden Years)
  • It’s good to have a tiny piece of bread saved up in a mitten. It could save your life! (Patty Reed’s Doll: The Story of the Donner Party)

Okay. I know these aren’t really survival skills. But they’re fun tidbits that have stuck with me from those books over the years. Are there any “survival skills” that stuck with you from your favorite winter-themed books?

— Nancy

Nancy knows that in reality, she has the survival skills of a peanut. She’ll be staying in the next few days.

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Kidsmomo Podcast #14: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

January 12th, 2010 by

Yeah, we know winter can be a drag, but think about all the good aspects: the fun of snowboarding, the quiet beauty after a fresh snowfall, the yellow puddles… Well, that last one isn’t so great, but it is part of our latest podcast, all about the best books for winter!

    Download the MP3 (7.4 MB)

  • Julie’s got her wolves, and we’ve got — well, you’ll see… when we reveal our mystery book!
  • Our Winter book picks (Miracles on Maple Hill and The Long Winter)
  • A review from YOU (The Cricket in Times Square)
  • Nancy blushes and gushes

And don’t forget: our next topic is books about real-life figures! So watch our latest Mystery Book Theater video and check out these books about famous figures — including both biographies and fiction.

— Nancy and Karen

Book Trailer: Julie of the Wolves

December 29th, 2009 by

This book trailer for Julie of the Wolves was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our Winter theme. For more on Julie of the Wolves, check out our “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” podcast.

The life of a runaway is tough enough, but what if you were a runaway in the frozen world of Alaska, with only wolves for company? How would YOU survive?

Well, that’s exactly the situation for the main character in Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George. So watch the video to see how our protagonist fares in the Alaskan tundra…

A Wintry Mix of Books

December 22nd, 2009 by

snowflakeWhat better way to spend a cold, snowy day than inside, curled up with a good book? Well, if you ask Karen, the only thing better is to have a good book and a mug of rich, creamy hot cocoa. If you ask Nancy, she would want a good book and a robot companion. To each her own…

Anyway… of course, the common factor is a good book. So here are some good books for winter (in no particular order):

  1. Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson (Karen’s pick)
  2. The Long Winter by by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Nancy’s pick)
  3. The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen
  4. Tracks in the Snow by Lucy Jane Bledsoe
  5. Beardance by Will Hobbs
  6. Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
  7. The Willows in Winter by William Horwood
  8. The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1777 (Dear America) by Kristiana Gregory
  9. Maroo of the Winter Caves by Ann Turnbull
  10. On Winter’s Wind by Patricia Hermes
  11. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

If you’ve read any of these, send in your book review. Or send in a review of your winter book!

UPDATE 1/12/10: We revealed the answer to our Winter Mystery Book Theater in the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” Podcast, so take a listen if you want to know the answer. Or just tune in if you want to hear Karen go a little crazy trying to define “winter.” Seriously, we had to edit it down.