Maybe I’m fed up with winter by the end of February every year, but this winter feels especially unrelenting. Freezing temperatures, mountains of snow, and howling winds make it particularly enticing to just stay inside and curl up with a good book. Yet, even as I avoid the weather outside, I still love to read books set in or that evoke the feelings of the season I’m currently experiencing. So bring on the treacherous blizzards, arctic explorations, and frigid fantastical worlds—I’ll explore them all from the cozy comfort of my couch. Here are some recommendations for every age to enjoy.
In Max and Marla by Alexandra Boiger, a boy and his owl face setbacks as they try to perfect their sledding like true Olympic athletes. Explore the snow-covered landscape with Peter in Ezra Jack Keats’ classic, The Snowy Day. The wordless Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell shows the parallel stories of a young girl and a wolf cub on a snowy evening.
In Breadcrumbs, Minnesota author Anne Ursu retells the fairytale “The Snow Queen.” Hazel knows that something is wrong with Jack and that they’re not just naturally drifting apart, but is she willing to brave the woods and save him? If you’re more interested in experiencing cold conditions from the ice rink, try Checked by Cynthia Kadohata. Conor’s whole life is hockey, but when his beloved dog gets sick, his family must make some sacrifices. To visit winters of yore, try a classic like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter and be grateful that at least our town has not completely run out of food and fuel.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust explores “Snow White” from the perspective of both the stepmother and stepdaughter. What would happen if they truly cared for each other? Can their relationship survive or are they destined to become enemies? Marieke Nijkamp’s Before I Let Go takes place in a small Alaskan town. Corey moves away, but promises to come back and visit her best friend Kyra. But Kyra dies before Corey’s visit and the town seems to be keeping secrets about her death from Corey. In Trapped by Michael Northrop, excitement over a snow day turns to horror as a group of teen find themselves stuck at school during an epic snowstorm with no sign of rescue.
Set during World War I at a remote field hospital in the Carpathian Mountains, The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason tells the story of Lucius, a young medical student who finds himself in over his head and inexplicably drawn to his mysterious nurse. The Bear and the Nightingale, the first book in Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy, blends historical fiction with Russian folktales. Headstrong Vasya can see creatures other people think are just stories and yearns for adventure, which puts her at odds with her devout stepmother. This novel is the first of a trilogy and the last book came out earlier this year, so you can now read Vasya’s entire story in one gulp. Sabotaged by Dani Pettry, brings intrigue to the Iditarod, as search and rescue partners Kirra and Reef must put aside their differences to prevent a catastrophe.
What’s your favorite wintery read?