Reading on a Snowy Day

It is winter here in spite of what the calendar indicates.  Winter is the perfect time to snuggle up and read a picture book to your child.  Somehow that quiet snowfall leaves a space in time that begs to be filled by a fire, an afghan, and a beautiful picture book.

Here are some suggestions from the Family Reading Corner for winter reading:

Winter Words… Brrr!

by Family Reading Partnership

SnowmanReading11CLRWith snow in the forecast and much more cold weather ahead, it’s time to read about the season with your children and appreciate winter while it’s here. Sure it’s chilly, but that the fun! There are plenty of ways to play with snow and traditions you can start now so your family will look forward to this time of year.

Winter books to read with your young child:

“The First Day of Winter” by Denise Fleming. What does it take to build a snow person? A song and friends! Written to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” this tale describes the ten days leading up to creating the perfect snow creature (will it be a snow man or snow woman?). Collecting trimmings such as a cap, mittens, and pockets builds the anticipation. Fleming illustrates her books with handmade paper images that are warm and colorful and uses playful words combinations.

snowballs “Snowballs” by Lois Ehlert. Each image in the book is a collage with added found objects such as buttons, fabric, and seeds. Children can recreate Ehlert’s illustrations outside with real snow and household items. Pack some snowballs; roll them in more snow to make them big, then add clothes, kitchen gadgets, sewing materials, and whatever else is handy to make a whole family out of snow. Make an indoor snow family by using white paper circles and small items you have at home, glued or placed on the paper snowballs.

“It’s Winter” by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Susan Swan. Even though this is written as a story, this book is full of facts about cold weather, snowflakes, and the change of seasons. Illustrations are beautiful cut-paper artwork and there are suggestions for activities in the back of the book. This book is the third book in a series of four titles on the various seasons, appropriate for early elementary ages.

“Snow” by Roy McKie and P.D. Eastman. Two kids play in the snow and tell us about the fun they have skiing, making snow angels, building an igloo, making a snowman, and finally relaxing with mugs of hot cocoa. The rhyming text in this book is designed for beginning readers.

“Animals in Winter” by Henrietta Bancroft. Illustrated by Helen K. Davie. Where do monarch butterflies go in winter? What does a woodchuck do when the grass is covered in snow? What do mice and deer find to eat when it is cold out? Each illustration in this short book has a few lines of simple text about the winter habits of a variety of animals.

“Snow” by Uri Shulevitz. You know the kind of day when the snow falls lightly, but steadily? The fluffy snowflakes drop down lazily and no one thinks it is anything to worry about. In this story, a boy and his dog know that a few snowflakes can add up to a city being transformed into a winter wonderland, despite what all the grown-ups think. The simple, poetic text paired with watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations mimic the mood of this slowly building snowfall.

 Also, don’t forget my book, Before I Was Born.  It makes a wonderful present. When you buy Before I Was Born you are giving two gifts.  A gift to the child who receives the book and a gift to a unknown child who benefits from the sale of the book.  I donate 100% of the cost of the book to Story Storks.  The folks over at Story Storks give a new book and a packet on literacy to children born in two area hospitals.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, just send me an Email at  The cost of the book is $20 and will be tax deductible for you.


give books

Chanukah is early this year.  It starts November 27 and coincides with Thanksgiving.  In keeping with my header, I would like to suggest you give some thought to including books in your gift giving for the Chanukah season.  I would like to share some titles with you that I found at the Nerdy Book Club:


The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snickett and illustrated by Lisa Brown (2007)

Reminiscent of the Ginger Bread story, Snickett’s latke scampers out of the kitchen and encounters several Christmas icons. The dialogue between the latke and symbols expresses the differences between the rituals and the importance that one’s identity be accepted.

The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate  by Janice Cohn and illustrated by Bill Farnsworth (1995)

Cohn’s story is based on events that occurred in Billings Montana in 1993. Families of different backgrounds and faith united against anti-Semitic attacks. The book provides multiple avenues for discussing the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs.

Elijah’s Angel  by Michale J. Rosen and illustrated by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson. (1992)

A renowned African American Christian woodcutter and a young Jewish boy create a memorable relationship that illustrates the importance of respecting religious differences.  This book can be a starting point for understanding the fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity.


Hanukkah Lights: Holiday Poetry Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and pictures by Melanie Hall (2004)

This small collection of poetry is found in An I Can Read Book Level 2 book.

Hanukkah Haiku by Harriett Ziefert and illustrated by Karla Gudeon (2008)

This is a very short book designed for preschoolers. However, it provides good examples of how haiku can describe simple aspects of Chanukah

Holocaust and Chanukah

One Candle by Eve Bunting and illustrated by K. Wendy Popp (2002)

Through the eyes of a child, readers will learn about how Jews celebrate Chanukah as well as hear a retelling of how some Holocaust survivors cherished the celebration of Chanukah in Buchenwald. Passing the story from one generation to the next reaffirms the importance of following traditions.

Nine Spoons: A Chanukah Story by Marci Stillerman and illustrated by Pesach Gerber (1998)

See previous Nerdy Book Club posting- Notable Holocaust Picture Books Illustrate People Making a Difference.

Historical Fiction

Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue by Heidi Smith Hyde and illustrated by Jamel Akib (2012)

Readers will get a glimpse of 18th century American Jewish history in Massachusetts. Jewish immigrants from Portugal were afraid to reveal their Jewish identity. The use of their menorah becomes a lifesaver.

Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Greg Harlin (2006)

This book takes Chanukah back to the time of the Revolutionary War.  George Washington comes upon a soldier who is lighting Chanukah candles. The dialogue provides information about Chanukah and the significance of fighting for freedom.

Folk Tales

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (1985)

Hershel comes to the rescue when a town is besieged by goblins who prevent them from celebrating Chanukah. While fighting off the goblins readers learn various things about Chanukah. Good overcomes evil when Hershel is able to outsmart the group of scary goblins.

The Magic Dreidels: A Hanukkah Story by Eric A Kimmel and illustrated by Katya Krenina (1996)

Story teller Kimmel retells the tale of “The Tablecloth, the Donkey and the Stick” in a Chanukah setting . A goblin outwits a trickster woman who is trying to take advantage of a young Jewish boy. Everyone benefits from the goblin’s goodness.

Also, don’t forget my book, Before I Was Born.  It makes a wonderful present. When you buy Before I Was Born you are giving two gifts.  A gift to the child who receives the book and a gift to a unknown child who benefits from the sale of the book.  I donate 100% of the cost of the book to Story Storks.  The folks over at Story Storks give a new book and a packet on literacy to children born in two area hospitals.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, just send me an Email at  The cost of the book is $20 and will be tax deductible for you.



To continue my celebration of Picture Book  Month, I want to tell you about a group of women from Haddon Heights who have taken their belief in the value of reading to our children and put that belief in action.

Adrienne Evans and Maureen Hicks were completing their teaching clinical for their master’s degree program in Camden.  They saw first hand the need for an early literacy program within this community.  In response to this need, along with Barbara Funkhouser, they started a not for profit organization named Story Storks.

Last year Story Storks volunteers visited more than 1,000 mothers of new babies.  During that visit each mother is given a book for her child.  The volunteer discusses with the baby’s mother the value of reading to the newborn child.  The mother is left with additional information on how she can create a reading routine.

The volunteers from Story Storks give special attention to the babies in the NICU.  With the parent’s permission the volunteers spend time reading to these neediest of newborns.

On Tuesday, November 12, the ladies are giving a presentation about their organization to the Evening Membership Department of the Haddon Fortnightly.  The program will start at 7:30 PM.  The Fortnightly Clubhouse is located at the corner of Kings Highway and Grove Street in Haddonfield.  All are welcome to attend.

If you believe in the power of reading to young children, one way to support this organization is to volunteer to do hospital visits.  Another way is to buy a copy of my picture book, Before I Was Born.  I will donate a 100% of the price of the book to this organization.  To purchase this book, just send me an Email at

And don’t forget I am giving away a copy of my book every week in November.  Just leave a comment telling why picture books are important to you to become eligible for the drawing.


For two weeks in November, McDonald’s plans to distribute children’s books in an epic happy meal promotion.

From November 1st to November 14th, the fast food company will give out 20 million copies of the following titles: The Goat Who Ate Everything, Deana’s Big Dreams, Ant, Can’t, and The Dodo Goes to Orlando.

Reading is Fundamental will partner with the fast food company as well, sharing 100,000 Happy Meal Books with “children who do not have easy access to books.”

A new DK eBook will be released and available for download at on a monthly basis throughout the rest of 2014.

Books are essential for inspiring children to explore, dream, and achieve, yet far too many children do not have this basic resource.  That is why I am donating all the profits from the sale of “Before I Was Born” to Story Storks.  If you want to help children who do not have easy access to books, please consider buying “Before I Was Born”  for yourself or as the perfect gift.  “Before I Was Born” can be purchased at my Etsy Store – Bernadette’s Books or on EBAY.