By Cindy Woodruff
It’s true that people have been saying it for years, “winter is for the birds!” Winter is for all of us, really, as it reminds us to slow down, bundle up and enjoy the quietness of a fresh snowfall. Take these short days and long evenings to share some peace-focused books with your children. All of these titles are available for loan from the Peace Study Center.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is a Caldecott Award-winning book that gives readers and listeners a sense of the quiet that winter provides in the northern parts of the world. A child and his/her dad bundle up and go out in search of an owl. They move slowly and quietly into the woods. The dad sends out an owl call and then they wait. The beauty of the night is accented with the owl who visits them briefly. This book inspires watercolor artists of all ages to capture the colors of winter. It also reminds readers of the bonds that we treasure between adults and young explorers.
One Winter’s Day by M. Christina Butler is a story of sharing told with gentleness and colorful illustrations that assure young listeners that all will be well in the end. When a strong wind blows away Little Hedgehog’s nest, he trundles off for Badger’s warm house. On his way, Hedgehog meets his friends, all shivering in the winter bluster. One by one, Hedgehog gives away his warm mittens, hat, and scarf. But will Little Hedgehog make it through the storm to safety without his warm clothes? This book is about sharing with the added treasure of soft flocking wherever Little Hedgehog’s mittens, hat and scarf appear.
Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joose takes readers to the Arctic region to meet an Inuit mother and child. The timeless question by the child is answered by a loving and wise mother: (“I love you more than the raven loves his treasure, more than the dog loves his tail, more than the whale loves his spout”) The setting brings a richness to a simple concept that is knows no boundaries. The beautiful colors, folk like perspective and gentle language make this a book to own and cherish. It is available as a picture book and a board book.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost is the text for this graphically powerful picture book with illustrations by Susan Jeffers that extend and complement this classic poem. Explore the frosty New England landscape as the poem slowly moves along on the reader’s tongue. The art includes animals that children will enjoy finding in the scenes. Try it out with different age groups and see how they respond to the theme by one of America’s most beloved poets.
Under My Hood I have a Hat by Karla Kuskin is for very young listeners who love to hear rhyming words and join in with a familiar theme- dressing up to go out in the winter weather. Simple and colorful illustrations create a cheerful book with plenty of repetition and humor. This author has many poems for a wide range of ages. Check her out!
Six Snowy Sheep is another action-oriented picture book by Judith R. Enderle. What a simple way to teach alliteration to young children as six sheep head outside to try out their Christmas presents. Five “snowy sheep, snug in woolly warm fleece,” in turn, sled, skate, ski, snowshoe, and saucer down a hill and all end up going “…Shmoosh! into a snowbank.” Luckily, the last sheep received a handy gift and comes to the rescue. This counting story with sound effects and plenty of repletion will have children chanting along! The whimsical watercolor cartoons with pen-and-ink crosshatching are both clever and charming for the 3 to 7 year old listener or reader.