My children and I love reading winter books together, but I had to do some digging to find books that were as diverse as we were used to reading. With a little detective work, however, I was delighted to find that there are quite a few multicultural winter books available.
Kids go through lots of books during the cold winter months. You can find more of our favorite winter books on All Done Monkey.
This author received complimentary copies of Cold and Hot and Caravan; however, all opinions are the author’s own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, Multicultural Kid Blogs receives a small commission.
Diverse Winter Books for Children
What child couldn’t relate to this story? A boy wants to go outside to play, but his family piles on so many clothes that soon he is feeling hot, despite the snow! Cold and Hot is a sweet story with simple text for very young readers.
Another book the littlest readers will enjoy is Tracks in the Snow. A young girl sets out to find out who made the tracks in the snow outside her window. Readers walk along with her to discover the creatures in the wintry landscape – only to find that she is the one who made the footprints the day before! This quiet adventure story ends with a cup of hot chocolate, as all good books should 🙂 I love that although the main character is Asian-American, race and culture are incidental to the story.
When I asked friends for recommendations of diverse winter books, the one I received over and over again was for Iguanas in the Snow: And Other Winter Poems – and no wonder! It is a joyous celebration of the season and a wonderful way to introduce children to poetry in two languages. I love that while the poems are strongly rooted in particular places and specific traditions (like Noche Buena), their themes are universal: friendship, family, and fun. It also encourages children to think about their world differently, as they “smell and taste every word” of the poetry. So a snowy field is not just a place to play but a “blank white page” that “a poem hopes to cross” and clouds are “floating mountains dreaming in the sky.” Part of a seasonal poetry series from Francisco X. Alarcón and Maya Christina Gonzalez.
This wonderful adventure story is set against the dramatic background of the icy Hindu Kush mountains. A young boy sets off on his first caravan trip with his father, and through his eyes we experience the frosty blast of the winter air in the mountains, the sheer drops to the valley below, the warmth of the fire in the cave where they pass the night, and the city they finally reach, which “unfolds, like a carpet with mysterious designs” below the travelers. Based on the Kirghiz people of Afghanistan, Caravan is a beautiful coming-of-age tale that invites young readers to take a journey “where the mountains meet the sky.”
Danilito is nervous. He is a stranger in a new land. He doesn’t speak English. He doesn’t know how to walk on ice. He and his parents have just arrived from the Caribbean to their new home in the cold North. Danilito and his family have many adjustments to make: new jobs, new school, new language…and a completely new climate. Yet his worries disappear early one morning, when his father takes him outside to experience snow for the first time. Danilito is delighted at the “white rose petals” floating in the air. When This World Was New is a beautiful story about the fears and wonder that moving to a new country can hold for children.
Amadi doesn’t see the point in learning to read – until he discovers the snowman. Who is this strange creature made of frozen rainwater, with a carrot for a nose? His desire to learn more about the snowman and its mysterious home, where everything is covered in blinding white, ignites Amadi’s curiosity. But when he returns to the book stall to finish the book, he finds that someone else already bought it! Amadi’s Snowman is a lively book about a boy’s discovery of the power of books and their ability to transport the reader to another world. (Spoiler alert: He gets the book in the end!)
Mama, Do You Love Me? is another well-loved book, reminiscent of The Runaway Bunny. A young girl peppers her mother with questions to find out how much her mother’s love can endure. Will her mother still love her if she puts salmon in her parka or puts out the fire? Yet no matter how outlandish the scenario (turning into a polar bear or running away to live with wolves), the girl discovers that her mother will love her, “forever and for always,” for she is her mother’s Dear One. This is a sweet story to share with children of all ages. The wonderful illustrations and text evoke the world of the Inuit, and a glossary of terms is included at the back.
SkySisters is a truly beautiful book for slightly older children about the magic of winter. Two sisters set off in the cold night for Coyote Hill to await the arrival of the SkySpirits, as they call the Northern Lights. As they move from the bright world of their house to the quiet dark, the girls also shift from using their everyday names (Alex and Allie) to their Ojibway ones (Nishiime and Nimise). Though it is not easy to be quiet and patient, the girls remember the words of their Nokomis, Grandmother: “Wisdom comes on silent wings.” The story is based on the author’s own childhood experiences in Northern Ontario.
Immi is lonely, but hardly anyone comes to visit her in her quiet igloo. Yet one day, as she ice fishes alone, she pulls up not a fish, but a small wooden bird. Each day yields a new treasure, which she uses to decorate her home, until it is so colorful and beautiful that it attracts new animal friends, who stay to visit and tell tales through the night. When the ice begins to melt and it is time for Immi to go, she sends her own treasure – the small bear charm from her necklace – through the fishing hole, wondering if it will find someone on the other end. Immi’s Gift is a wonderful book about finding friendship and magic in the most unlikely places.
Now, I have to admit I’m fudging a bit with this one, because it actually takes place in the spring, but I had to include Kumak’s Fish: A Tale of the Far North because my kids love it so much. And besides, for most of the world, all that snow and ice mean winter, not spring! This fun story is about ice fishing, which apparently is a lot more exciting than most of us give it credit for! On this day, Kumak is using his Uncle Aglu’s lucky hooking stick, and it seems to have caught a really big fish, as the line twitches Kumak this way and that and then spins him in a circle. Soon his family and everyone in the village come to help pull up the giant fish, but what comes out of the water is a big surprise that will leave your children laughing!
Another of our favorite winter books is Jan Brett’s The Three Snow Bears. In this Arctic version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Aloo-ki wanders into the igloo of a polar bear family. While the bears are off rescuing Aloo-ki’s sled dogs – which she has let drift away on an ice floe – she drinks their soup, tries on their boots, and falls fast asleep in their fur sleeping covers. It’s a really fun book to read for any little fans of the traditional fairy tale.
For more great winter books don’t miss our Pinterest board on Multicultural Children’s Books!by