Animals in Winter: Migration, Hibernation, and Adaptation

December has arrived in all its frosty glory, and we humans bundle up with hats, scarves, and big, puffy coats to keep warm. But what about the other living things in our world? What do animals do when chilly winds blow and snow starts to fall? This month, we’re bringing you a list of fictional and informational books that tell the story of animals in winter – the ones who burrow in deep and sleep, the ones who move to warmer places, and the ones who have special characteristics that allow them to live in the cold. When searching for children’s books on this topic, try using the subject terms “animals wintering,” “migration,” or “hibernation.” You can even try “animals polar regions” to find books about animals who live in the cold all the time. Search any of these phrases along with “juvenile literature” for nonfiction or “juvenile fiction” for fiction.

Picture Books

Carnesi, Monica.
Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear. 2014.
How can two friends share winter when one of them is hibernating? When winter comes Beatrice can’t find Bear anywhere. She hears he’s gone to hibernate, but where on earth is that? When Beatrice learns that hibernation is not a place and that Bear will be sleeping all winter long, she fears it will be a lonely…unless she comes up with a brilliant plan to share winter with Bear too.
[SHELL S Collection SE. C216s]

Fernandes, Eugenie.
Kitten’s Winter. 2011.
A young kitten explores the woods on a cold winter day as other animals shelter from the weather or engage in their usual seasonal activities.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. F391kw]

de Haas, Rick.
Peter and the Winter Sleepers. 2011.
Peter lives in a lighthouse with his grandmother and dog, Leo. After a giant blizzard, the lighthouse turns into shelter for the birds and bunnies, who just want to sleep through the winter. But should he let the fox in to sleep, too?
[SSHEL S Collection SE. H1119p:E]

Helquist, Brett.
Bedtime for Bear. 2011.
Just after the first snowfall, Bear is ready to go to sleep until spring but his friends encourage him to spend one last day playing with them.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. H369b]

Johnson, Amy Crane.
Lewis Cardinal’s First Winter. 2009.
Lewis Cardinal notices all his friends getting ready for the coming winter. Some of his friends like Cinnamon Bear and Polly Frog are getting ready to hibernate and robins are flying south for the winter. He does not know what to do for the winter so asks for advice from wise Solomon Raven, who helps him understand how different animals react differently to winter.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. J6302l]

Krensky, Stephen.
Chaucer’s First Winter. 2008.
Chaucer knows that bears are supposed to sleep through the winter. But it’s much more fun to stay up and play!
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books Q. SE. K882c]

Messner, Kate.
Over and Under the Snow. 2011.
Over the snow, the world is hushed and white, but under the snow is a secret world of squirrels and snowshoe hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many others who live outside in the woods during the winter.
[SHELL S Collection Q. SE. M5641o]

Na, Il Sung.
Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons. 2011.
While other animals migrate, hibernate, or stay busy all winter, a little white rabbit watches.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books Q. SE. N11s2011]

Pendziwol, Jean E.
Once Upon a Northern Night. 2013.
In this exquisite lullaby, a parent paints a picture of a northern winter night for a sleeping child, describing the beauty of a snowfall, wild animals that appear in the garden, the twinkling stars, the gentle rhythm of the northern lights and the etchings of frost on the window pane.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. P374o]

Stead, Philip C.
Bear Has a Story to Tell. 2012.
It was almost winter and Bear was getting sleepy. But first, Bear had a story to tell…
Bear found his friend Mouse, but Mouse was busy gathering seeds and didn’t have time to listen to a story. Then Bear saw his friend Duck, but Duck was getting ready to fly south. What about his friend Toad? He was busy looking for a warm place to sleep. By the time Bear was through helping his friends get ready for winter, would anyone still be awake to hear his story?
[SSHEL S Collection SE. St3112b]

Nonfiction: Migration

Cohn, Scotti.
On the Move: Seasonal Migrations. 2013.
Imagine seeing hundreds of the same type of animal gathered at the same place at the same time! Right here in North America, many animals gather in huge numbers at predictable times and locations. Not all migrations are tied to seasonal food changes–some are tied to life cycles. Certain birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, fish, and even insects migrate during spring, summer, fall, or winter. Travel along with them as you learn about what puts these animals On the Move.
[SSHEL S Collection S.591.568 C661o]

Crossingham, John.
What Is Migration? 2002.
A simple presentation of the migratory habits of such animals as geese, eels, frogs and toads, and more.
[SSHEL S Collection S.591.568 C884w]

Gans, Roma.
How Do Birds Find Their Way? 1996.
Explores the mysteries of bird migration, including theories on how birds find their way and how scientists learn about migration.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. S.598.1568 G157H]

Hiscock, Bruce.
Ookpik: The Travels of a Snowy Owl. 2008.
Fed by his parents, Ookpik, which means “snowy owl” in the Inuit language, grows quickly in the short Arctic summer. By autumn he has learned to hunt on his own, but prey is scarce on the tundra that year. The owl’s instincts tell him that he must leave this land or starve. Ookpik flies south, over the great forests of Canada, and finally lands in the United States, searching for food and a winter hunting ground.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. S.598.97 H621o]

Rylant, Cynthia.
The Journey: Stories of Migration. 2006.
Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant joins naturalist painter Lambert Davis to create a vibrant picture book that follow the migratory journeys of some magnificent creatures: locusts, gray whales, American silver eels, monarch butterflies, caribou, and terns.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books Q. S.591.568 R983j]

Nonfiction: Hibernation

Crossingham, John.
What Is Hibernation? 2002.
Describes the process of hibernation and the various ways in which different animals use this process to survive in harsh climates.
[SSHEL S Collection S.591.565 C884w]

Ganeri, Anita.
Hibernation. 2005.
What is hibernation? Where do different animals hibernate? Which animal hibernates for more than six months? Animal hibernation follows a pattern. Most animals hibernate when it becomes too cold and it is hard to find food. They go into a deep sleep until it gets warmer. Read Hibernation to find out why this pattern happens.
[SSHEL S Collection S.591.565 G154h]

Gerber, Carole.
Little Red Bat. 2010.
Takes young readers on an educational journey through one red bat’s seasonal dilemma of hibernating or migrating.
[SSHEL S Collection S.599.4 G313l]

Hickerman, Pamela.
Animals Hibernating: How Animals Survive Extreme Conditions. 2005.
Whether to avoid extreme weather, conserve energy or survive on meager resources, animals hibernate in some unexpected ways. Packed with illustrations, facts, activities and easy-to-do experiments, Animals Hibernating is an innovative approach to understanding animal life.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. S.591.56 H528an]

Nonfiction: Adaptation

Bancroft, Henrietta.
Animals in Winter. 1997.
Describes the many different ways animals cope with winter, including migration, hibernation, and food storage.
[SSHEL S Collection and SSHEL Oak Street Q. S.591 B221a1997]

Kirkland, Jane.
Take a Winter Nature Walk. 2008.
Field guide for finding, observing, and identifying plants and animals in winter.
[SSHEL S Collection S.591.42 K6356t]

Miller, Debbie S.
Survival at 40 Below. 2010.
As temperatures drop and the snow deepens, the animals that make the tundra home must ready themselves for survival. Follow the arctic ground squirrel as it begins the cycle of sleeping, supercooling, and warming that will occur at least a dozen times before spring arrives. See how the wood frog partially freezes itself in hibernation beneath layers of snow, or how the woolly bear caterpillars makes it through the winter months with a special antifreeze substance that prevents ice from forming in their bodies. Then when the temperatures finally rise and the snow begins to melt, these creatures emerge and the pulse of life returns to the arctic.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. S.591.75 M613s]

Powell, Consie.
The First Day of Winter. 2005.
Go outside and see what winter means to the earth and its animals.
[SSHEL S Collection S.508.2 P871f]

Seuling, Barbara.
Winter Lullaby. 1998.
Depicts the ways various animals spend the cold months of winter, from bats sleeping in caverns to fish swimming deeper in lakes where the water is warmer.
[SSHEL S Collection S.591.543 Se81w]

Stewart, Melissa.
Under the Snow. 2009.
A journey through the fields, forests, ponds and wetlands to see how animals survive in the snowy winter months, and when the sun’s rays grow stronger, join all the animals as they get ready for springtime.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. S.591.43 St497u]