By our Smarty friends at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
This holiday season cozy up with a good book! Here are some titles about warm friendships and cold weather that showcase kindness and love. We think they’re perfect for cuddling up and reading together with the special little ones in your life.
Sampson in the Snow by Philip C. Stead
When the weather changes and a storm blows in, kind and gentle Sampson, a wooly mammoth, worries about a little red bird who might need help. As he looks for her, friendships grow, and the snow falls in beautiful crystals. As you read, ask your child questions about the characters. Can your child predict for whom the mouse is looking? Point out new vocabulary words such as “trudged” and see if your child can act out what “trudging” through the snow would look like. And make connections from the book to your child’s life. For example, mouse is having a bad day. Has your child ever had a bad day? Why? What made him or her feel better? This sweet book provides a great opportunity to talk about the importance of acts of kindness, both big and small. What small act of kindness can your child do this season?
Pup and Bear by Kate Banks
Polar Bear is not Pup’s mother, but she can cuddle him, keep him safe, teach him how to fish and do many other things mothers do. When Pup grows up, he adopts a little lost bear cub in return and the cycle of love and kindness begins again. The sweet and simple illustrations, often in panel form, make this an excellent title to “picture walk” with your child. When you take a picture walk, you don’t read the words; instead you talk about the pictures in the book, asking questions about what you see. You can help your child tell their own version of the book based on the illustrations. This helps build their comprehension of the story! Some sample picture walk questions might be: Why is pup alone on the ice? How do you think he feels? What do you think Polar Bear and Pup say to each other? What are they doing together? Where do you think this story takes place? What other animals do they meet?
Bear and Wolf by Daniel Salmieri
Bear and Wolf are out walking in the snow when they spot each other and decide to walk together. Quietly, peacefully, they look, listen and enjoy the woods around them. Bear and Wolf use many of their five senses to observe the forest. Can your child name something he or she smells? What about something he or she hears or feels? Next time you’re outside walking with your child challenge him or her to stop and notice small details the way Bear and Wolf did. In this way, you can extend the story and enjoy a nature walk!
A Whisper in the Snow by Kate Westerlund
On the night before Christmas the rabbits and mice find a teddy bear lost in the snow. He’s obviously been very loved, so they work together to warm him up and get him home in case there is an unhappy child somewhere missing him. If you’ve read the other books on this list, you can ask your child how this story is similar and different. Just like in Sampson in the Snow someone is found and needs help. How do the animals in each book react? By relating one book to another you’re helping your child become a strong reader who can make connections between what they already know and what they’ve already read.
You can check out all these titles and more from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library! Our friends at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, who share a space with us at ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center, have launched The Kindness Project, and they’re eager for more acts of kindness in the world, too!
From all of us at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, we wish you the best for a joyous and peaceful holiday season!