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2023 Cozy Children's Books for Winter

December 19, 2023

'Tis the Season

Every year around this time, I write a blog post about comforting and cozy books, in hopes that it might provide readers some solace, but also as a way of consoling myself (someone who has NEVER gotten used to the cold). Earlier this month, I happened upon a few children's books that truly gave me the warm fuzzies. I just had to share these with the NPL community, since they made my winter days a bit brighter. Read on for some wholesome picture books that are sure to warm you up from the inside out! 

Winter's Gifts: An Indigenous Celebration of Nature by Kaitlin B. Curtice

Dani (Dah-nee), a young Potawatomi child, is learning about winter, or bbon. As the book begins, Dani shares with us all the things she loves about winter: cozy snuggles with family, the fireplace, the snowball fights, and last but certainly not least, rest! "Dani thinks about the gifts of winter. They are different from the gifts that come during the holidays. Winter's gifts are telling stories and waiting", writes Curtice. When she tells her school friends about her family's Winter Solstice celebration and about the gifts of winter, they laugh at her and dismiss these ancestral teachings. Saddened, Dani recounts her experience that day with her parents. They console her, making sure she knows how important it is to practice gratitude. That night, she has a beautiful dream of a gathering with her friends, where they are singing and enjoying nature. In the morning, she whispers "Migwetch, Mamogosnan (Thank you, Creator)", smiling.

Later that day, Dani's friends from school come by for some hot cocoa. Despite her worries about what they might think, she tells her friends about her beautiful dream. While some of them are judgmental, a couple of friends are curious and eager to learn more. In the end, Dani and two of her friends get cozy in an outdoor fort, and she shares more stories about the great gifts of the season! This book really humbled me, reminding me of all the beauty that exists on even the coldest of days. I love to go for walks through the park near my house all year round, and I always see children playing and enjoying themselves, even on the most bitterly chilly winter days. Children don't seem to mind the weather too much! Every day I spend time around kids, I learn something new. I wish, too, to emulate that same sense of wonder and enchantment from the natural world and to embrace the winter's gifts. 

Waiting for Tomorrow by Susan Yoon

Two sisters, Hanna and Haejin, want to make their Appa (father) a very special treat before tomorrow, when he will be back home. Once their mother, Umma, leaves for work in the morning, they begin scheming and decide on Hotteok, a delicious Korean dessert pancake filled with brown sugar! They have almost all the ingredients they need, but need to go to the store for just one thing. After emptying the piggy bank, the two bundle up because it is a blustery, snowy day! Little sister Hanna insists on wearing socks with sandals. They grab the baking powder and make their way back home. Haejin ends up carrying her little sister on her back, because her feet are too cold in her summery shoes.

Haejin is in charge of the recipe, carefully measuring out each ingredient. Hanna is her helper, but her "help" is a bit haphazard (we've all seen what can happen with young children in the kitchen). Finally, the sticky dough comes together! A little too eager to begin rolling it into balls, Hanna yanks the dough from the bowl...and the bowl takes flight and then shatters on the floor. Devastated, little Hanna looks outside at the snow, and suddenly, has an idea! Seeing that the snow is white and fluffy like flour, she fills up a bowl with snow and brings it in to show Haejin. Haejin explains to her little sister that although the snow is not the best ingredient for Hotteok, they could certainly create something out of it! When Appa finally arrives, he is delighted to see his family, and a family of snow-people that await him on their apartment balcony!

Wintergarden by Janet Fox

This incredibly gorgeous book, illustrated with watercolor paintings by Jasu Hu, finds a mother and a daughter planting a garden in the bleakest of winter days! How, you may ask? Inside! They plant herbs and greens in small pots on the windowsill, and over the course of the winter, watch them grow and enjoy them in their dinners! The young girl is filled with curiosity about the plants and their progress. She watches her mother plant each little seed, trying a few herself. Once the seeds are planted, she monitors the lighting and the dampness of the soil. The world outside is snowy and all the trees are bare and leafless. Even though it is snowing outside, the family stays cozied up inside and enjoys their small windowsill bounty.

When springtime finally returns, the little girl is so excited because she gets to choose her own seeds and start her own garden based upon what she learned from the family's "wintergarden"! Surrounded by rich imagery of plants, the girl and her dog admire a new seedling sprout. Fox ends this story saying, "I watch and wait and wonder as my own garden grows in spring". In the back pages, there is a guide for children on how to plant your own wintergarden, as well as a lovely book list of other children's books about plants, gardens, and seeds! I definitely feel inspired by this adorable story, and plan to start my own little windowsill full of herbs.

What Makes Winter Special for You?

Each of these three books helped to reawaken the child in me, relentlessly seeking out the beauty and miracles in the everyday things. If you are someone with young children in your life, I'm sure you are already doing lots of cozy activities this winter. Sharing books together, bundling up for chilly walks in nature, sipping on warm beverages, and indoor gardening are some of the inspirations these reads offered me. What else do you like to do with your family in the winter? I'm all ears!

Caroline Cronin


Caroline is a Bilingual Literacy Assistant for Bringing Books to Life! She is passionate about accessibility and language justice and loves to share stories and art with friends of all ages. In her free time she enjoys singing, cooking, teaching and practicing yoga, and roller skating.