January is the time of year that everyone thinks of cold winds, freezing temperatures, and snow. But it’s also the perfect time to cozy up under a warm blanket and read books.
So I have put together a list of the top 30 January books for kindergarten you need to include in your classroom library or home book collection. These enchanting titles are perfect for you to read aloud during a snow day, incorporate into your winter lessons and activities, or simply enthrall your students with the beauty of the winter season.
In this classic picture book by Ezra Jack Keats, a young boy named Peter opens his blinds one morning to discover a new world of white. He puts on all of his snow gear before setting off on a day of adventure. Peter has so much fun that he attempts to save a small reminder of this extraordinary day…but it doesn’t quite work like he thinks it will. This sweet story is the perfect addition to your January books for kindergarten.
Little Owl is so excited to see the winter season is on its way! He observes leaves falling, his friends settling in for their long hibernation, and the weather getting colder. Join Little Owl as he learns to appreciate the quiet of winter and experiences the snow with his woodland friends.
The beautiful illustrations and sweet story will make this book one of your favorite winter books for years to come.
3. Owl Moon
In this eloquently crafted poetic story by Jane Yolen, a little girl and her father experience the peaceful quiet that surrounds them as they walk along one winter night silently listening for owls. Because this is her first time owling, the young girl notices all of the sounds in nature including the sound of the snow crunching beneath their feet.
The special relationship between the child and her father comes to life in this charming story thoughtfully illustrated with fluid watercolors.
Written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, this true story about Wilson Bentley, a boy who was fascinated by snow, is utterly captivating. Bentley believed each snowflake was a tiny miracle, and to show their support of his interest, Bentley’s parents saved their money and bought him a camera and microscope. After cataloguing hundreds of snowflake photos over the course of many years, Bentley published his first book at the age of 66.
Kate Messner does a wonderful job of comparing the interesting things seen on top of the snow and those unseen things beneath the snow cover. This is the perfect book for introducing your little learners to the variety of winter animals found in the forest.
The delightful illustrations and charming story make this a great choice for your book collection and a title you will revisit throughout the winter months.
This unique story by Benji Davies follows two unlikely characters including a young girl named Noelle and a little snowflake, who both long to find their places in the world.
The two unexpectedly cross paths when the snowflake lands on Noelle’s tiny Christmas tree. The each find a new friend in the other and learn just how much potential we all have to shine…even in difficult circumstances.
7. The Mitten
The Mitten has to be one of my favorite books on this list of January books for kindergarten because it is truly a masterpiece. The illustrations are exceptionally detailed adding as much insight into the tale as the words themselves. Each creature is a beautiful addition to this simple story about a lost white mitten found on the snow-covered forest floor one winter day.
Follow along as a little boy and his grandmother explore the forest together. The cutaway images showcase the hidden animals all cozied up for their long winter hibernation.
With annotated illustrations explaining hibernation facts about the different animals featured in the story as well as what each animals does when spring arrives, this book would be a great way to seamlessly incorporate science standards into your reading block.
Another fun book to introduce science concepts through literature. Written by Henrietta Bancroft, this is one of the many books included in the Let’s Read and Find Out series. These books are designed to be engaging and informational for young students, which makes this one a perfect addition to our list of January books for kindergarten.
10. Bunny Slopes
If you want an interactive book that will keep your listeners engaged and laughing throughout, this is the book you need.
From shaking, turning, and twisting to direction-following, kids will love joining Bunny on his skiing adventure. But watch out because cliffs and other dangers are on the horizon.
A beautiful Caldecott Honor book by Uri Shulevitz all about the first day of winter bringing cold temperatures and glorious snow.
When the first flakes begin to fall from the sky, no one thinks they will amount to much. It isn’t until the snowflakes begin to swirl around that everyone sees what a young boy and his dog have believed the whole time!
12. The Big Snow
When the geese fly south, the other animals know it is time to get ready for winter before the snow falls. Observe how each of the different animals prepare, which ones stay, which ones hibernate, and which ones leave as the temperature decreases.
Caldecott Honor book recipients Berta and Elmer Hader show just how winter arrives and affects the different woodland creatures in this classic book full of charming illustrations and dialogue.
13. The Shortest Day
A long time ago, the early people would gather together on the winter solstice to prepare for the longest night of the year. They would play music and bring fire for light while also wondering whether the sun would rise again.
This poem written by Susan Cooper and simple imagery by Carson Ellis is bound to capture the attention and hearts of all who read it.
14. Red Sled
This almost completely wordless book by Lita Judge is another excellent addition to your January book collection. When a group of woodland creatures decides to take a child’s sled for a ride, chaos ensues.
This funny story is perfect for early readers because of the minimal word count and also for the silly illustrations. Children and adults alike will enjoy this delightful tale!
15. Brave Irene
Irene Bobbin is the daughter of the town’s dressmaker. When her mother falls ill and can’t deliver the ball gown she made for the duchess, Irene volunteers to do it. Because a huge snowstorm brewing, Brave Irene must start her journey quickly.
Fierce winds and other dangers lurk along the way to her final destination, but she perseveres and overcomes every obstacle she encounters. This sweet book by William Steig about determination is an absolute treasure.
One beautiful winter morning, Lina wakes up to quiet…the kind that only comes from snow. As she walks to her grandmother’s house to cook a special meal, she discovers ten different ways to notice things she might have missed on any other day. This great book thoughtfully represents the culture of an Arab American family while also delving into empathy and mindfulness.
Tacky is a penguin who doesn’t fit in with the other little penguins. He likes to do cannonballs and loudly greet his neighbors, which causes them to talk about how he is…different. But when poachers come to his home, Tacky might be just the distraction the others need.
Young readers (and adults alike) will adore this funny book by Helen Lester reminding us that being different can actually be a really good thing!
Join Laura and Mary as they help Ma around the house during the winter months. When the temperature outside dips low, they all work together to make the log cabin cozy and warm.
If you’re a fan of the original Little House on the Prairie books but want a picture book version, this will be a fantastic addition to your collection.
This classic story written by Shirley Neitzel is perfect for younger students. With short, simple, rhyming text and rebuses throughout, even the most hesitant readers can take part.
Kids will love adding layer after layer of clothing to the main character before removing each uncomfortable piece. This adorable story is sure to be the perfect read for your kindergarten students.
20. First Snow
In this precious story by Bomi Park, a young child wakes up to see the world covered in snow. It’s her first snowy day, and she is so excited to start her adventures. With minimal text and black and white illustrations (with small pops of other colors), this book is ideal for preschool and kindergarten pre-readers and early readers.
If you are looking for photos of real snow crystals in all of their diverse beauty in a book written by a nature photographer and real-life snow scientist, then this will be one of your favorite children’s books related to winter!
You can even find directions for catching snowflakes to right way. Keep your little learners thoroughly engaged with this winter book!
Discover polar bears, penguins, arctic hares, caribou, and many other polar animals as you set off on a journey through the polar region.
Find out which animals can survive the cold arctic air in this informative non-fiction book full of colorful photographs. Students will love seeing the animals in their natural habitats.
23. Polar Animals
This Level 1 Scholastic reader is perfect for beginning readers. With gorgeous photographs and eye-catching images of polar bears, walruses, penguins, arctic foxes, and seals, this non-fiction book will be a guaranteed winner on this list of January books for kindergarten.
You will also find three pages of winter activities (right inside the book) designed to engage, challenge, and entertain your young learners.
Almost all children love learning about animals! And that’s what makes this book such a great option to add to your winter break reading list or classroom read aloud rotation.
With insight and informational text, young learners can find out about the unique skills these arctic animals possess that allows them to live in the bitter cold climate. Discover interesting facts that will keep your listeners engaged from the first page.
Twinkling lights, colorful displays, and glowing candles bring warmth and inspire togetherness. The cold outside inspires children and adults alike to participate in activities that only come around during this winter season like sledding, building snowmen, and so much more.
This nonfiction book is an excellent addition to your library of January books for kindergarten because it focuses on the winter traditions celebrated during the season.
This book list is chock full of read alouds that will be perfect to share with your students throughout the long dreary days of winter. While it is my list of the top 25 January books for kindergarten, it is certainly not all-inclusive!
If you are looking for more amazing titles to add to your library or incorporate into your January lesson plans, be sure to check out…