Children’s Books: Staff Picks for Winter!

Children holding open colourful book covers, set against snow covered evergreens background

From picture books to chapter books, graphic novels and time honoured classics, CBRL staff have picked some great Children’s books for the winter season. Join the Winter Reading Challenge starting January 27th to track your reading and enter to win great prizes!

Children’s Picture Books

  • 50 Below Zero by Robert Munsch. Tired of defrosting his father after his nocturnal sleepwalks, Jason devises a remarkable solution. Witty illustrations heighten the improbable humor.
  • A Hat for Minerva Louise by Janet Stoeke. Young readers will delight in the antics of curious Minerva Louise, who ventures out on a brisk snowy morning determined not to let the cold keep her from playing and exploring.
  • Grandma Drove the Snowplow by Amy Huntington. When a blizzard hits town on the night of the big Carol Sing winter celebration, Grandma must drive a snowplow after her sons get stuck in the snow.
  • Hockey in the Wild by Nicholas Oldland. The bear, the moose and the beaver want nothing more this winter than to play hockey–there’s just one problem: the frozen lake they play on won’t freeze!
  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.
  • Wild Pond Hockey by Jeffrey C. Domm. A vivid, fast-paced re-imagining of the very first hockey game — played by wolves! Nobody knows for certain how hockey began. Was the first game played in Canada? Was it invented by Indigenous peoples, who then taught it to Europeans? Or, long ago, did a wolf pack find a new way to play?
  • Winter Dance by Marion Bauer. A fox wonders how he should prepare for the coming winter, but what other animals advise will not work for him until another fox comes to his aid.

Beginning Readers

  • Chill of the Ice Dragon by Tracey West. Part of the Scholastic branches series, This is a faced-paced illustrated chapter book, perfect for budding readers in grades 2-3.
  • Eve of the Emperor Penguin by Mary Pope Osborne. Jack and Annie arrive on the one continent they haven’t visited before: Antarctica! What can they hope to learn about happiness in such a barren place?
  • Olivia and the Snow Day . A level one early reading featuring the much loved pig Olivia.

Graphic Novels

  • Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident. An action-packed, illustrated adventure that follows the world’s youngest criminal mastermind as herushes to save a man who has been kidnapped by the Russian Mafiya: his own father.
  • City of Ember by Jeanne DuPeau. The city of Ember, the only light in a vast world of darkness, is dying, and two young teens might be the only ones who can find the way out of their darkening town if they can escape the machinations of a corrupt mayor. Graphic Novel adaption suitable for ages 9 and up.
  • Flower of the Witch by Enrico Orlandi. “My intention when I created Tami and the world of Il fiore della strega, was to tell a fantastic story that would capture the reader’s imagination and inspire them to lose themselves in the cold forests of the far north, to feel the icy gaze of the spirits and the warmth of the hearths in each tent.” Encrico Orlandi
  • Hilda and the Troll by Luke Pearson. The magic and folklore of the wild, windswept North come alive in this book about an adventurous little girl and her habit of befriending anything, no matter how curious it might seem. This is the first in the graphic novel series, which is also a show on Netflix!

Chapter Books for Children ages 9-12

  • Ana on the edge by A.J. Sass. Twelve-year-old figure skater Ana strives to win competitions while learning about gender identity–Ana’s own and that of a new friend–and how to navigate the best path forward.
  • The Barren Grounds by David Robertson. When Morgan and Eli accidentally find a portal to to the ever-winter land of Askí, where they meet bipedal animals that wear clothes and speak an English-Cree mix. Indigenous stories are touched on as the children and their new friends, Ochek (“fisher” in Cree) and Arikwachas, a squirrel, set out to make spring return to Askí.
  • Great Escapes: Survival in the Wilderness by Steven Otfinoski. “In December 1920, three US Navy officials boarded a hot air balloon for a routine training flight, but end up stranded in the Canadian wilderness” – From the publisher.
  • The Ice Monster by David Walliams. The hilarious story of a ten-year-old orphan and a 10,000-year-old mammoth. This book looks thick but with illustrations on every page and non-stop laughter it will appeal to reluctant readers.
  • Lily’s Mountain by Hannah Moderow Unable to believe their father died while climbing Mount Denali, twelve-year-old Lily and her older sister, Sophie, climb the mountain in order to rescue him.
  • Open Ice by David Trifunov. Jill signs up for a co-ed hockey camp and struggles to get her skills recognized by the boys.
  • Voyage of the Frostheart by Jamie Littler – In a snow-covered land where monsters rule the icy tundra, only song weavers hold the power to control these vicious giants. But for centuries song weavers have been the subject of suspicion–how can those who hold so much power be trusted?

Children’s Classics

My Side of the Mountain – Jean Craighead George. A young boy relates his adventures during the year he spends living alone in the Catskill Mountains including his struggle for survival, his dependence on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs human companionship.

Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat. Awasin, a Cree Indian boy, and Jamie, a Canadian orphan living with his uncle, the trapper Angus Macnair, are enchanted by the magic of the great Arctic wastes. They set out on an adventure that proves longer and more dangerous than they could have imagined. Drawing on his knowledge of the ways of the wilderness and the implacable northern elements, Farley Mowat has created a memorable tale of daring and adventure. When first published in 1956, Lost in the Barrens won the Governor-General’s Award for Juvenile Literature, the Book-of-the-Year Medal of the Canadian Association of Children’s Librarians and the Boys’ Club of America Junior Book Award.