Top 5 winter stories to read together


3 minute read

Words by The Animals Observatory | Jan 14, 2024

Now that the cold has definitely arrived, what better way to spend time indoors with your children than reading a winter story for kids together? The Animals Observatory loves children’s books, as well as their storytellers and illustrators, so it’s the perfect time to share our favorite ones. Pay close attention!

1. Frederick, Leo Lionni (1967)

This book summarizes the aim of this list, as it happens. Frederick is a poet mouse whose family is preparing for winter time. They are all worried about storing food provisions, but Frederick has another preoccupation in mind. He wants to feed his family’ soul by storing nice memories so they have beautiful stories to tell during their time indoors. A sensitive piece written by Leo Lionni, the Italian-American illustrator and author who was influenced by his family of artists since childhood, so he wished to convey how important the arts are to keep our emotional well-being.

2. Winter Story, Jill Barklem (1980)

One of a series of classic books called Brambly Hedge, by illustrator Jill Barklem. They introduce seasons to children, using the most delicate illustrations. Their main characters are cute little mice that, for this particular story, are expecting the forecasted snow. This time, though, there's more snow that they could imagine, so they can prepare a winter-themed celebration.

3. Babar et le père Noël, Jean de Brunhoff (1940)

Our beloved Babar has a new mission. To meet Father Christmas and convince him to also visit the elephant kingdom. Will he succeed? We've already talked at length about who Babar and Jean de Brunhoff are, but this story is a must for winter, so we recommend you read it while spending an afternoon with your family in the comfort of your home.

4. Christmas Eve at the Mellops, Tomi Ungerer (1978)

The Mellop family is a group of adventurer pigs created by Alsacian illustrator Tomi Ungerer, who is famous for his minimalist yet endearing style. In this particular tale, these four brothers have a great mission: to find the perfect Christmas tree in order to spread its joy to the world.

5. Children of the Northlights by Ingri d'Aulaire & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire (1935)

An endearing story that follows two Sami children, the traditional people and culture of northern Scandinavia, also known as Lapland. This book was created by Ingri d'Aulaire & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, an awarded couple of American writers and illustrators, and it presents what it's like to live in a land covered by snow and ice, through the eyes of its protagonists, who live a few adventures with their beloved reindeer Silverwhite as well as bear cubs and other typical animals from the region. We also get to experience the Northern lights that we love so much with them.

Beyond children’s books

While this is a list of winter-themed illustrated books for kids, we couldn’t help but include another kind of winterish story that is one of our Creative Director, Laia Aguilar, favorites. This short animation film is called Tale of Tales, and it was created by Yuriy Norstein, written by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, and illustrated by Franchesca Norstein, in 1979. A multi-awarded production whose plot works as human memory does, with its own chronology and structure. A delight for the eye that evokes a deep sense of winter. This one is addressed to you.

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