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Our 12 FAVORITE Winter Books for Preschoolers & Toddlers

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

Ahh the winter season. It starts with such optimism and coziness, and then drags on for what feels like a year. (Loving the “January was a tough year, but we made it” meme). Seriously feeling it! But with the cold, comes a bit more cozy indoor time and… books! These fun winter books are great for preschoolers — and babies and toddlers. The early grades have enjoyed the stories too, just not on repeat like preschoolers do. They have the usual suspects – snow books, winter animals, hot chocolate, sleds, mittens, polar bears. You could practically play bingo with the subject matter of these books. Is it even a winter book if it doesn’t involve first snow?

Winter Books - Our Favorites for Toddlers

While we start reading winter books as soon as it gets cold, we read them all through winter! A lot of winter and Christmas books intersect with snow and holidays. And then we enjoy the last bit of our winter books before we fully get excited about Spring!

Our Favorite Books about Winter:

Here are some of our favorites books during the winter season – some old and some new!

1. Red Sled by Lita Judge

Red Sled book

The illustrations and simplicity of this book are adorable. This book has minimal words and more sounds like scrunching of the snow etc. Our two year old also started saying “Alleyoooop!” because of this book which is pretty hilarious. It took me a couple days to figure out where he had heard the word. Then we read this book again. Something about this really appeals to some kiddos – mine especially. The story of snow and sledding. Red Sledby Lita JudgeAmazonPowell’s Books

2. Winter is Here by Kevin Henkes, Illustrated by Laura Dronzek

winter is here book

This book follows all the things that winter brings. Our toddler really fixated on the mittens aspect, and all the other kids winter gear. It’s a beautiful book and so descriptive about things winter brings – snow angels, cold weather, winter activities etc. There’s also a board book version which would have been great when he was in the tearing books up stage. Winter is Here by Kevin Henkes, Illustrated by Laura Dronzek. AmazonPowell’s Books

3. The Mitten by Jan Brett

the mitten book

This Ukrainian story of a little boy who requests his grandma knit him white mittens. He drops one in the snow, and it becomes a home for many different animals. Then the young boy finds it on his way home. Part folky, part imaginative – this one really captured the imagination of our toddler. And it’s a sweet story. The Mitten by Jan Brett. Amazon, Powell’s Books

4. Winter by Gerda Muller

winter gerda muller

There’s something about this simply illustrated children’s books by Gerda Muller that our two year old just loves. No story here, just winter scenes. As a parent, it can sometimes feel exhausting when a book doesn’t have words. Especially if they request you “read” it. This series however, I can tell him to read it to me. Sometimes we just talk about what’s happening in the pictures. Love this series. Winter by Gerda Muller. Amazon, Powell’s Books

5. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The biggest classic winter book for preschoolers on this list! It follows a boy exploring his neighborhood after the first big snow of the season. Written in the 60s, this book was ahead of its time for featuring a child of color as the star of the book. It was the first to win a major children’s book award. Pretty cool. After your child has read the book, there’s also a new Amazon Prime video of the book. Kind of a fun way to experience the story in a different medium. We saved it for a winter flight and it was a hit. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Amazon, Powell’s Books

6. Over & Under the Snow by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

over and under the snow book

This is a great book, especially for toddlers in that stage of learning “over” and “under”. They’ll be pretty excited to learn what’s under the snow. Over & Under the Snow by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. Amazon, Powell’s Books

7. Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak

goodbye autumn hello winter

This one has a fun sing song text of “Hello…” to all the things winter brings as fall turns to winter. They just released a new one called Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring! A wonderful look at winter fading into spring. Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak. Amazon, Powell’s Books

8. The Shortest Day – by Susan Cooper, Illustrated by Carson Ellis

the shortest day book

The older book by this name – The Shortest Day – Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer was a little old for our toddler. We may revisit it in the future. The newest Shortest Day is illustrated by Carson Ellis (Home book). We also checked out at the library and we loved the pictures and book overall. But again, the concept of winter solstice or the first day of winter is still a bit advanced for our two year old. It’s still interesting subject matter and has beautiful illustrations so we’ll be reading in future years as well. The Shortest Day – by Susan Cooper, Illustrated by Carson Ellis. Amazon, Powell’s Books

9. Winter Dance by Marion Dane Bauer, Illustrated by Richard Jones

Winter Dance book

I loved this one for the arctic animals and illustrations but also the underlying message of being yourself. As animals get ready for winter, the fox looks for what to do. All the animals he meets tell what they do to prepare for winter. Finally fox meets another fox and finds their role. Winter Dance by Marion Dane Bauer, Illustrated by Richard Jones. Amazon, Powell’s Books

10. The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear, Illustrated by Chris Turnham

The Wish Tree book

The Wish Tree follows a boy and his sled (Boggan the toboggan) exploring the forest for a wish tree. It’s imaginative – showing that wishes can come true in very different interpretations. Plus, it’s really magically illustrated with woodland animals.The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear, Illustrated by Chris Turnham. Amazon, Powell’s Books

11. Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht, Illustrated by Jarvis

Pick a Pine Tree book

Honorable mention to Pick a Pine Tree. Yes, it’s a Christmas book but it’s also all about winter and one that has stayed out longer than Christmas. Our two year old loves this book. We also went and cut our own tree down in the woods this year. I’m loving the memory association and traditions aspect of this book. After checking it out at the library the first time around, I ended up buying it in an after Christmas sale. The illustrations are gorgeous. Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht, Illustrated by JarvisAmazonPowell’s Books

Other Winter Picture Books we have on our list for next year:

Note on seasonal books – I adore seasonal books and I love supporting the purchase of real, physical books. However, I really recommend using your local library to start. First, it allows you to try out a dozen or so books to narrow down your favorites. Second, it’s a huge cost savings! If you bought every book in this list, you’d be spending like $150. And if you want to try new books for all four seasons, and holidays etc. it really adds up! Tip: Most libraries allow you to place holds on books. Sign in to your online account and you could probably place holds on this whole list of winter books! Then you’ll get a quick email when the books are ready, and you just waltz in and pick them up.

What are your favorite winter books for preschoolers and toddlers?

Need more ideas? Add these to your winter bucket list. For more themed books lists, check out my favorite summer books, pumpkin books, and books about love.

Originally published February 2020, updated for 2023.

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