Special Seasons, Special Days
The Fall and Winter are the seasons that inspire ultimate coziness. You’ll wear sweaters (oversized are the best), drink a hot something from your favorite mug, snuggle in blankets, enjoy the holidays and observances, and so much more.
Such as, of course, reading (your favorite) books! There is nothing like being in your nook all bundled up and toasty as you read from your personal collection or pile(s) of library reads!
Other than reading books centered on folklore and anthologies of folktales, my go-to genres for this time are children’s books. There is something so pure and special about reading this genre, as it inspires magic, warmth, open-hearted awareness, and celebration. To me, these sorts of books embody the seasons so beautifully.
I want to share with you a starter list of books that the young readers in your life may enjoy - along with anyone who loves children's literature. I hope that these books will give them a special sense of the seasons from a range of cultures.
Au revoir, Fall!
This collection of whimsical and humorous poems on Autumn is absolutely special! It is entertaining for adults and children alike. The poems are quick yet capture the reasons why Fall is a fantastic season. Here’s a poem I personally found to be lovely:
What do you like
Trick or treat?
A narrative nonfiction book that explains the science behind autumn and the social history of harvest-time celebrations with remarkable traditions through different cultures and time periods. It is a tad long, but it is so lyrical, informative, and engaging! Also, the pictures are so brilliant and vibrant! Fun fact: The Fall Equinox occurs around September 21 each year.
This is an honorary book recommendation. The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to embody gratitude. It begins in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, where a full Cherokee year of festivities and happenings follow. The book itself displays the universal importance of community and thankfulness with emphasis on the significance of traditions and carrying on a Cherokee way of life.
Nice to see you again, Winter!
One of my absolute favorites: a beloved tale of a young boy who explores the city on a snowy day. Ezra Jack Keats was an amazing author and illustrator, with genius in delicate prose and imagery. It is a relatable and sweet story of wonderment that is a classic for a reason. Not only is it the first picture book that features a child of color, but it is New York Public Library's #1 book on the list of “Top Check-Outs of All Time”!
A young child questions her mother if she will love her no matter what. Even if she puts out the fire or puts salmon in her parka. She does come to find that her mother will love her “forever and always.” This beautiful story is so heartwarming with the unconditional love of a mother. The wonderful book has beautiful illustrations and text that evoke the world of the Inuit, with a glossary of terms is included at the back.
A young boy narrates how one certain family celebrates Hanukkah. From the lighting the candles of the menorah to sharing gifts, it is delightfully realistic. It is also an educational book, especially since it explains certain words (like latkes) making it simple for all children to understand. Plus the pictures are so adorable!
The Winter Solstice is a powerful day for many cultures, involving significant rituals, ideologies, and customs during this time. It is a transition from the shortest day to the longest night. The day has various names, including Yule, when the return of light is celebrated! Cooper’s poem has beautiful prose and images as well as an exploration of diverse practices, making the celebration universal!
When I was a kid, I was a huge watcher of LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow TV series to promote literacy and the love of reading! This was one of the books that were featured, and as a Jane Yolen fan, I had to read it. The book is a dazzling story where a little girl and her father go out to observe owls. It is an enthralling story of companionship, hope, the bonds of family (here: father and daughter), and so much more. I am always in (happy) tears when I read it!
There is nothing like a timeless story in a radiant retelling. “The Nutcracker in Harlem” is a story that focuses on Marie, who battles rats and dreams the fantastic! A jazz-inspired version of the beloved classic by E.T. A. Hoffman evokes the dreamy wonder of the original, yet it's set in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance!
A warm and festive read about a family who visits a pine tree lot to pick their Christmas tree and moves on to post-selection activities including decorating the tree (as well as the house)! It is specifically Christmas, but the togetherness of family and friends is a joy to read!
“Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.” ~Dr. Seuss