Books that Feel Like Winter

Whether unconsciously or intentionally, we often gravitate toward books that evoke the season that surrounds us. Winter reads are the coziest of all seasonal reads. They are often deeper and more meaningful than those which echo other seasons, speaking to themes that we may not feel drawn toward during the brighter months, but which seem to invite us as we hunker down out of the wind and cold. 

Picture Books

An ode to serendipity & belief that is destined to be a new Christmas classic. Red and Lulu make their nest in a particularly beautiful evergreen tree. It shades them in the hot months and keeps them cozy in the cold months, and once a year the people who live nearby string lights on their tree and sing a special song. But one day, something unthinkable happens, and Red and Lulu are separated. It will take a miracle for them to find each another again. Luckily, it's just the season for miracles.

From Matt Tavares comes a heart-tugging story combining the cheer of Christmas, the magic of New York City, and the real meaning of the holiday season: how important it is to be surrounded by love.

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Far to the north by the great Arctic Sea, where the winter sun barely rises above the horizon, live the People Who Fear the Winter Night. On the long winter nights the People huddle around their hearths, fearing visits from terrible Blizzard, who can destroy anything with its icy winds and snow.

Among the People lives a young girl named Teune -- the finest robemaker they have ever known. One night while Blizzard rages outside, the sparks from Teune's fire accidentally set fire to Blizzard's magnificent robe and consume it. But while the People Who Fear the Winter Night rejoice that Blizzard is no longer a threat, Teune sorrows that Blizzard's mighty robe is destroyed and sets out to make amends.

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Late one winter night a little girl and her father go owling. The trees stand still as statues, and the world is silent as a dream. Whoo-whoo-whoo, the father calls to the mysterious nighttime bird.

But there is no answer.

Wordlessly the two companions walk along, for when you go owling you don't need words. You don't need anything but hope. Sometimes there isn't an owl, but sometimes there is.

A beautiful story that puts you in the winter mindset, snow or no snow.

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Our story begins on a frosty night…
Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair. But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.

A darker tale for the upper middle grade readers, this companion to Mafi's Furthermore is perfect for winter.

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Lily refuses to believe what everyone else accepts to be true: that her father has died while climbing Denali, the highest mountain in North America. Lily has grown up hiking in the Alaskan wilderness with her dad. He's an expert climber. There's no way he would let something like this happen. So instead of grieving, Lily decides to rescue him. Her plan takes her to Denali and on a journey that tests her physically and emotionally.

In this powerful debut, Hannah Moderow has written an authentic Alaskan adventure that crosses terrain both beautiful and haunting—and ultimately shows the bond of family and the wonder of wild places. (And what could be more wintery than the frozen Alaskan wilderness?)


Harry Potter lives with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But a mysterious visitor tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. Harry is taken to his new school, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Harry finally feels like a normal kid, but even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the Boy Who Lived.

Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it

from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces darker than he could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come. It may just be me, but Harry Potter always feels like Christmas.


Welcome back to the irresistible world of Greenglass House where thirteen-year-old Milo is, once again, spending the winter holidays stuck in a house full of strange guests who are not what they seem. There are fresh clues to uncover as friends old and new join in his search for a mysterious map and a famous smuggler’s lost haul.

We're back to the mysteries of the Greenglass House and it's unusual guests in the second installment in this series. It's perfect for an intriguing read during the holiday break.


A charming and suspenseful tale based on "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it's taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation:

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Christmas is a key element in this retelling, and much revolves around the snow and the cold, making it a perfect winter read.


In a house haunted by memories, the past is everywhere … As darkness falls, a man caught in a snowstorm is forced to shelter at the strange, grim house Wuthering Heights. It is a place he will never forget. There he will come to learn the story of Cathy: how she was forced to choose between her well-meaning husband and the dangerous man she had loved since she was young. How her choice led to betrayal and terrible revenge – and continues to torment those in the present. How love can transgress authority, convention, and even death.

The bleakness of this classic is perfect for the coming icy winter months. The wild dark of the moors (and a few of the characters) mirrors the dark and cold outside our windows.

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Books that Feel Like Fall

Whether unconsciously or purposefully chosen, we usually gravitate toward books that feel like whatever season we're in at the time. Fall reads feel different from others. They feel cozy and nostalgic, and the adventure may be a little bit darker than a summer read, mirroring the shortening days.

Picture Books

A gold leaf appears in the forest. As soon as the animals notice it, each wants it more than anything else in the world. But in their struggle for it, the leaf is destroyed. Heartbroken, the animals wonder: Will we ever again see such a leaf?

This book is the anticipation of fall, beginning with one beautiful golden leaf.

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Young Isaac Gutenberg isn't a curious boy... that is, until he meets an old shopkeeper who tells him about The Book of Gold. This special book, hidden somewhere in the world, holds all the answers to every question & turns to solid gold when opened. Isaac is determined to find the book--it will make him rich! He opens many books in his search, but quickly closes them when they don't turn to gold. That changes one day when he opens a book, looks at the page, & a question pops into his mind. From then on, he reads every word. 

When I think of fall, I think of learning new things. The search for knowledge in this book feels right at home with this season's blooming curiosity.

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Walking his dog at dusk, one boy catches glimpses of the lives around him in this lovely ode to autumn evenings, exploring your neighborhood, and coming home.

This book feels like warm sweaters & crisp fall evenings, & it will make you want to go for a walk.


Middle Grades Books


Pax & Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter's dad enlists in the military & makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather's house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn't where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, & grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures & discoveries of his own...

This book is so obviously fall I want to say it's actually fall in the story. If not, then the tone & atmosphere carry the quintessential essence of fall, such as nostalgia and the comforts of home.

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Kansas, 2065: Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house more than a hundred years ago and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate.

Oklahoma, 1934: Amid the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine’s family’s situation is growing dire. She must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

England, 1919: In the recovery following World War I, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America. But can she make it that far?

While their stories span thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined in ways both heartbreaking and hopeful. In Jodi Lynn Anderson’s signature haunting, lyrical prose, human connections spark spellbindingly to life, and a bright light shines on the small but crucial moments that determine one’s fate.

 Melancholy and haunting memory are two elements that make this a good fall read.

Early Young Adult & Classics

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

Caramel popcorn, hot cider, and evenings at the circus: these are the elements of fall in this book. The circus is all fun, games, and illusions, on the surface that is. Something a little more sinister lies underneath the bright lights and carnival treats.

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Orphaned Jane Eyre grows up in the home of her heartless aunt, where she endures loneliness and cruelty, and at a charity school with a harsh regime. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane’s natural independence and spirit—which proves necessary when she takes a position as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving the man she loves?

The Gothic setting of this classic is perfect for cozying up in the shortening days.

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