Books at Bedtime: Winter Where You Live

Winter can pack a wallop where I live in Canada.  Because it can be so severe, stories are often about survival.  The people who immigrate here learn to adjust to winter in often unique ways that contain traces of their origins and yet orient them to this climate.  In Thor, by W.D. Valgardson (illus. Ange Zhang,) we see an Icelandic Canadian boy go out with his grandfather who is a fisherman on Lake Winnipeg, to fetch fish from his nets.  It is the dead of winter.  “The snow was at the top of the fences, as high as the windows.  The snow was so cold it crunched under their feet like dried bread under Grandmother’s rolling pin.  Their breath made white clouds.”  Thor must wear two sets of clothing and a bushy, fur-lined hat with earflaps before they set out in his grandfather’s Bombardier.  While outside, Thor and his grandfather notice some snowmobilers driving recklessly over thin ice.  One of them falls in.  It is up to Thor to to rescue him.  Will he be able to do it?

In The Big Storm by Rhea Tregebov (illus. Maryann Kovalski,) we meet a Jewish girl named Jeanette and her cat, Kitty Doyle.   It is winter in north end Winnipeg.  On the day of a snow storm, Jeanette forgets about Kitty Doyle who comes to pick her up from school every day.  After school, Jeanette plays in the snow and goes over to her friend Polly’s for latkes.  At Polly’s, she suddenly remembers that Kitty has been waiting for her all this time.   She hurries out only to find Kitty huddled under the snow in an alleyway.  Is Jeanette too late?  Will Kitty Doyle survive?

Thor and The Big Storm are stories about winter where I live.   What about where you live?  What is winter like for you and your children?


4 Responses to “Books at Bedtime: Winter Where You Live”

  1. janet Says:

    Where I live, market stalls are filled with sweaters and jackets just in case the temperatures goes too far below 30 Celsius. It’s winter in Bangkok where cool and cold are synonymous! Even though as a former Alaskan with winters in my past that were easily the equal to Winnipeg’s, I still find myself shivering a bit at night and pulling a sheet over my body to keep from feeling too cool–or perhaps cold.

  2. Corinne Says:

    Rain, rain and more rain! Perhaps a few days of snow but if that happens Vancouver will be thrown into chaos. A great book that sums up winter in Vancouver (and perhaps every other season as well) is Mister Got To Go – The cat that wouldn’t leave by Lois Simmie, illustrated by Cynthia Nugent.

  3. Andrea of JustOneMoreBook! KidLit Podcast Says:

    We live in Canada too and, with all the global warming talk, are happy to report that we have snow today, temperature forecasts for -28C tonight and we’re off this very minute to trade up x-country ski boots for this year’s size. But even better than cross-country skiing, is our lovely Rideau Canal where, when the weather allows, we just walk to the end of our street, strap on skates and have 14 km of gorgeous winter fun.

    If you had asked about winter weather Monday-Friday at commute time, however, my comment wouldn’t be quite so warm & fuzzy!

  4. Sally Says:

    Thanks for telling me all about what winter is like where you live. Even in Canada, there’s quite a bit of variation on the snow theme! And Andrea, we’re competing with your Rideau Canal longest skating rink record with our river ice trail down the Assiniboine River which I skated a portion of last year. A post about skating books — now that would be fun and wintery!