Picture Books for the Winter Solstice

by Josée

The winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the official start of winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice typically occurs on or around December 21st. While there are many wonderful ways of celebrate the winter solstice with children, one of my favourite activities is to cozy up under a fluffy blanket and read winter solstice picture books.

This book list includes our favourite winter solstice themed picture books. Did I miss one? Let me know in the comment section below.

For more winter themed books check out: Magical Winter Picture Books for Kids or check out my Amazon storefront.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

A Solstice Tree for Jenny by Karen Shragg

Jenny’s parents don’t celebrate Christmas and while it never bothered her before this year she feels left out. To help Jenny, her school teacher suggest she learn about the winter solstice. Together with her parents Jenny discovers this new tradition and way of celebrating winter that is inclusive to all.

Ages: 5 to 9

Dear Rebecca, Winter Is Here by Jean Craighead George (Author) and Loretta Krupinski (Illustrator)

On December 21st, grandmother Rebecca writes a letter to her granddaughter about the beginning of winter and the changes happening outside. Originally published in 1993, this lovely book introduces children to the winter season through lovely illustration and gentle storytelling.

Ages: 4 to 9

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak (Author, Illustrator)

A beautifully illustrated book about nature transitioning from fall to winter – one of our family favourites. This book is part of Kenard Pak “Goodbye…Hello…” series: Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn and Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring.

Ages: 3 to 6

Iliana: A Winter Solstice Tale by Walter Fordham (Author) and Tatjana Krizmanic (Illustrator)

The days are getting shorter and everyone is worried about the disappearing sun. Iliana, determined to find out why and save the kingdom, sets out to find the son. A magical story about friendships.

Ages: 4 to 8

Winter Solstice by Bonnie Loveday (Author), and Tucker Loveday (Illustrator) (*New October 2023)

Step into a magical world of wonder with our latest children’s book, “Winter Solstice,” a heartwarming tale centered around young Blaze celebrating the longest night of the year.

Ages: 4 to 8

One Short Day in December by Lilith Rogers (Author) and Noni Cox (Illustrator)

Join the Doe deer family of two moms and their baby deer who celebrate the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.

Ages: 4 to 8

Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter by Eugenie Doyle and Becca Stadtlander

December has come and it’s time to prepare the farm for winter. The strawberries are covered with straw, the harvest is brought in, a cover crop is sowed and raspberries canes are trimmed. There is much work to be done before the farm can be put to bed for the winter. A lovely lyrical book about a farm preparing for the winter.

Ages: 2 to 5

Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven (author, illustrator)

A lyrical and poetic book about a baker bringing the sun inside during the darkest time of the year. Beautifully illustrated with magical pictures, and a favourite books for celebrating the winter solstice. This book includes a recipe for sun bread at the back. A family favourite!

Ages: 3 to 6

The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming (author, illustrator)

A story based on The Twelve Days of Christmas song about a young child decorating a snow man. Very cute!

Ages: 2 to 4

The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer (Author) and Ted Lewin (Illustrator)

A lyrical story about the longest night of the year and animals vying to bring the sun back that’s beautifully illustrate with watercolour pictures.

Ages: 4 to 8

The Reasons for Seasons by Gail Gibbons (Author)

A non-fiction book that introduces young readers to why there are seasons with simple diagrams, vocabulary and explanations. Originally published in 1995 and updated in 2019 because it’s just such a great book!

Ages: 4 to 8

The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice by Carolyn McVickar Edwards (Author)

While this isn’t a picture book (there are no pictures inside), the twelve tales in this book are great read aloud for older children.

Ages: 10+

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper (Author) and Carson Ellis (Illlustrator)

“So the shortest day came, and the year died…” A poem by Susan Cooper that was originally written for a theater production has been turned into a stunning picture book that celebrates the winter solstice.

Ages: 5 to 8

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer (Author) and Jesse Reisch (Illustrator)

This much loved non-fiction picture book about the winter solstice explains why the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter. This book also looks at winter solstice traditions over the years and across cultures.

Ages: 3 to 7

The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren

Originally published in 1997, The Tomten has become a classic children’s book about winter. Based on an old Scandinavian folktale, the Tomten is very old and has seen many winters. At night the Tomten comes out to comfort the farm animals and leaves small footprints behind, nobody sees the Tomten but they know he’s there.

Ages: 2 to 6

The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson (Author), Jan Davey Ellis (Illustrator)

A detailed non-fiction book about the origins of winter solstice traditions and celebrations over time and culture.

Ages: 8 to 12

Winter: A Solstice Story by Kelsey E. Gross (Author), Renata Liwska (Illustrator) (*NEW October 2023)

A lyrical story about how forest animals come together to help bring back the light by decorating an evergreen tree. A gentle and heartwarming story about the start of winter and sharing light with others.

Ages: 4 to 8

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