Winter Book Recommendations for Toddlers

Written by: Tara Gray, M.A., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

These are, again, all board book recommendations. We, here at Small Talk, love board books for their durability and easier-to-turn pages for little hands. This winter, there are so many perfect books to explore and expand your child’s knowledge of the season! You can read these books at night, during playtime, or just have them with your child’s other toys to promote an early love of reading. The more fun you have reading these stories, the more fun your child will have, too.

The Snowy Day

by Ezra Jack Keats

This book is full of descriptions with illustrations to match, great for talking about these words. Also a great book to imitate actions in: he walked “slowly” in the snow, you could take the book out on a snowy day and copy the main character, Peter’s, actions. Talk about the actions you’re doing or make a plan before going out in the snow – this can be a language-rich activity with your child.

Where’s the Snowman?

by Ingela P. Arrhenius

This is a lift-the-flap book to find a snowman and other winter characters. This board book is one of my favorites for a simple reason…the flaps you lift are FELT! If you’ve ever had a lift-the-flap book before, you know when they’re made of paper they will absolutely rip, sometimes within moments of your first read-through. This book is much more durable! It’s also a colorful and simple book that’s great for working on “where” questions and using prepositions (in, under, behind, outside, etc.). You can model this type of language or have your child answer the questions.

Little Book About Winter (Leo Lionni’s Friends)

by Leo Lionni and Jan Gerardi

This book is quick and simple. As it doesn’t have a lot of words on each page or throughout the book it’s a perfect book to make up your own story or even have your child do the same. This book also has actions happening on each page and you and your child can talk about what the mice are doing now. If you do choose to read the words on each page, it has a rhyme scheme which is great for establishing and working on your child’s phonemic awareness – their ability to play with the sounds in spoken language. 

Hello, World! Snow

by Jill McDonald

This book is engaging for a wide range of ages. It’s filled with scientific information about snow: where it comes from, weather information, how it relates to nature, and many more fun facts! It’s great for teaching your child more complex language and vocabulary in a context that is interesting to them and can be turned into a multi-sensory learning experience simply by going outside in the winter! This is an excellent winter-themed book for building your child’s vocabulary for common and uncommon words. Common word examples from the book: snow, snowball, cold, ice, snowflake, snowsuit, hat, mittens, boots. Uncommon word examples from the book: frosty, crystals, water vapor, nickname, microscope, blizzard, wool, and more!

Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear?

by Bill Martin Jr / Eric Carle

This isn’t truly a winter book, but with a polar bear on the cover I think it works! The book is great for naming animals, but it also has a variety of great vocabulary for describing the sounds each animal makes: a fluting flamingo, a roaring lion, a bellowing walrus, etc. This book is especially great for our early communicators because of the repetitive nature: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you hear? I hear a lion roaring in my ear.” The ends of these sentences are great for working on speech and language at home. Once your child learns the pattern, you can have your child complete the sentence, provide the last word, or do a movement to participate in the story.

These are all lovely books, but above all our greatest recommendation is to read with your child. According to recent research, reading to your child everyday can improve their language skills. A goal recommended in this research is to read one book to your child every day. This is stated to be an “easy goal,” but with busy schedules it can be tricky to fit in. Try reading one book before bedtime each night to start, it’s a great calming activity to add to a bedtime routine and a wonderful way to add reading and books to your child’s life. Happy reading, families!