Reading is wonderful all year long, but there is something magical about diving into a good book when the weather gets cold. Luckily, your local Library has snow many titles (we couldn't help ourselves) for you to cozy up with this winter. Find our list of recommended wintery reads for adults, young adults (YA) and children below.
The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey - Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he is breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she is crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
In an incredibly well written novel, this author forces us to question what is real, what isn't and to appreciate what hope looks like. Highly recommended for book clubs.
The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah - Lenora Allbright is 13 when her father convinces her mother, Cora, to forgo their inauspicious existence in Seattle and move to Kaneq, AK. It's 1974, and the former Vietnam POW sees a better future away from the noise and nightmares that plague him. Having been left a homestead by a buddy who died in the war, Ernt is secure in his beliefs, but never was a family less prepared for the reality of Alaska, the long, cold winters and isolation. Locals want to help out, especially classmate Matthew Walker, who likes everything about Leni. Yet the harsh conditions bring out the worst in Ernt, whose paranoia takes over their lives and exacerbates what Leni sees as the toxic relationship between her parents. The Allbrights are as green as greenhorns can be, and even first love must endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy as the wilderness tries to claim more victims.
Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger - Leif Enger's rhapsodic novel about a father raising his three children in 1960s Minnesota is a breathtaking celebration of family, faith, and America's pioneering spirit. Through the voice of eleven-year-old Reuben, an asthmatic boy obsessed with cowboy stories, Peace Like a River tells of the Land family's cross-country search for Reuben's outlaw older brother, who has been controversially charged with murder.
Sprinkled with playful and warmhearted nods to biblical tales, classic American novels such as Huckleberry Finn, the adventure stories of Robert Louis Stevenson, and the Westerns of Zane Grey, Peace Like a River brilliantly incorporates the best elements of all these genres and ultimately earns its own prominent and enduring place on the shelf among them.
Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris - A best-selling classic features six additional works on the joys and embarrassments of favorite holidays, in a volume that includes tales of tardy trick-or-treaters, the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to another culture, and a barnyard Secret Santa scheme gone awry.
It's dark satire, but it's quite funny, and a change from the personal essay format of most of Sedaris' other writing. The bottom line is that Holidays on Ice is a joy to read, the kind of book that makes you laugh out loud.
You Better Not Cry, by Augusten Burroughs - You've eaten too much candy at Christmas...but have you ever eaten the face off a six-footstuffed Santa? You've seen gingerbread houses...but have you ever made your own gingerbread tenement? You've woken up with a hangover...but have you ever woken up next to Kris Kringle himself? Augusten Burroughs has, and in this caustically funny, nostalgic, poignant, and moving collection he recounts Christmases past and present-as only he could. With gimleteyed wit and illuminated prose, Augusten shows how the holidays bring out the worst in us and sometimes, just sometimes, the very, very best.
The Children’s Blizzard, by David Laskin - Thousands of impoverished Northern European immigrants were promised that the prairie offered "land, freedom, and hope." The disastrous blizzard of 1888 revealed that their free homestead was not a paradise, but a hard, unforgiving place governed by natural forces they neither understood nor controlled, and America’s heartland would never be the same.
On an unseasonably warm winter day in the Great Plains, a ferocious blizzard suddenly blew up out of nowhere, and soon 500 people (mostly children) were dead. A harrowing story from the author of Braving the Elements.
Young Adult (YA):
The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden - A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik's Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern'sThe Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman's myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice. At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind--she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or confinement in a convent. As danger circles nearer, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed--this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.
Frozen, by Melissa de la Cruz - More than a century after a catastrophic disaster wiped out most of humanity and covered much of the earth with ice, 15-year-old Cass yields to the voice in her head urging her to embark on a dangerous journey across a poisoned sea to the mythical land, Blue.
The well-paced action is taut, the characters diverse and finely drawn. And while this is a multiple book series, the ending of this first story is fully satisfying and doesn’t leave the reader dangling until the sequel comes out.
The Tragedy Paper, by Elizabeth Laban - While preparing for the most dreaded assignment at the prestigious Irving School, the Tragedy Paper, Duncan gets wrapped up in the tragic tale of Tim Macbeth, a former student who had a clandestine relationship with the wrong girl, and his own ill-fated romance with Daisy.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st St., by Karina Yan Glaser - Told that they will have to move out of their Harlem brownstone just after Christmas, the five Vanderbeeker children, ages four to twelve, decide to change their reclusive landlord's mind.
Greenglass House, by Kate Milford - At Greenglass House, a smuggler's inn, twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his winter holidays relaxing but soon guests are arriving with strange stories about the house sending Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, on an adventure.
Milo’s world seems comfortably contemporary; the current history of his parallel world is mostly background that’s revealed at the close. An abundantly diverting mystery seasoned with mild fantasy and just a little steampunk.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis - Four English schoolchildren find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch, who has cursed the land with eternal winter.