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]

Winter Wonderland: Books About Snow and Cold

December brings with it the first day of winter and a change to the season of cold, snow, and ice. For kids this means snowmen, ice skating, and hopefully, snow days! Celebrate the wonder of winter by sharing some of these frosty reads with the children in your life. There’s no better way to welcome in the season than by reading about the cold and snow outside while snuggled up warm indoors. For more books on winter weather try searching “Snow,” “Winter,” and “Blizzards” as subject terms, adding “Juvenile Fiction” for fiction works and “Juvenile Literature” for non-fiction books.

Picture Books

Berger, Carin.
A Perfect Day. 2012.
Young friends enjoy a day of sledding, snowball fights, and ice skating one snowy day in their hillside village.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SE. B4533p]

Briggs, Raymond.
The Snowman. 1978.
When his snowman comes to life, a little boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight high above the countryside.
[SSHEL S-Collection and Center for Children’s Books SE. B76s]

Ehlert, Lois.
Snowballs. 1995.
Some children create a family out of snow. Includes labeled pictures of all the items they use, as well as information about how snow is formed.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SE. Eh56s]

Keats, Ezra Jack.
The Snowy Day. 1962.
No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better thanThe Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child’s wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.
[SSHEL S-Collection and Center for Children’s Books SE. K22s]

McGhee, Alison.
Making a Friend. 2011.
When the snow falls, a young boy makes a snowman that becomes his friend until the seasons change.
[SSHEL S-Collection SE. M459ma]

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.
[SSHEL S-Collection Q. SE. M5641o]

Sabuda, Robert.
Winter’s Tale: An Original Pop-Up Journey. 2005.
Winter’s Tale is Robert Sabuda’s most spectacular original pop-up story yet. The simple, elegant text is illustrated with breathtaking artwork and extraordinary paper engineering. Stunning visual effects of foil, glitter, and a twinkling surprise further capture the magic of winter.
[Rare Books & Manuscript Library SE. Sa139w]

Shulevitz, Uri.
Snow. 1998.
As snowflakes slowly come down, one by one, people in the city ignore them, and only a boy and his dog think that the snowfall will amount to anything.
[SSHEL S-Collection and Center for Children’s Books SE. Sh9s]

Intermediate Fiction

Kirby, Matthew J.
Icefall. 2011.
Princess Solveig and her siblings are trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen fjord, along with her best friend and an army of restless soldiers, all awaiting news of the king’s victory in battle, but as they wait for winter’s end and the all-encompassing ice to break, acts of treachery make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst.
[Center for Children’s Books S. K6316i]

Paulsen, Gary.
Brian’s Winter. 1996.
Instead of being rescued from a plane crash, as in the author’s book Hatchet, this story portrays what would have happened to Brian had he been forced to survive a winter in the wilderness with only his survival pack and hatchet.
[SSHEL Oak Street and Center for Children’s Books S. P285b]

Ursu, Anne.
Breadcrumbs. 2011.
Hazel and Jack are best friends until an accident with a magical mirror and a run-in with a villainous queen find Hazel on her own, entering an enchanted wood in the hopes of saving Jack’s life.
[SSHEL S-Collection and Center for Children’s Books S. Ur7b]

Wilder, Laura Ingalls.
The Long Winter. 1994.
After an October blizzard, Laura’s family moves from the claim shanty into town for the winter, a winter that an Indian has predicted will be seven months of bad weather.
[SSHEL S Collection S. W645LO 1994]

Young Adult

Crockett, S. D.
After the Snow. 2012.
Fifteen-year-old Willo Blake, born after the 2059 snows that ushered in a new ice age, encounters outlaws, halfmen, and an abandoned girl as he journeys in search of his family, who mysteriously disappeared from the freezing mountain that was their home.
[SSHEL S-Collection and Center for Children’s Books S. C8726a and Uni High Fiction C872a]

Fisher, Catherine.
Snow-Walker. 2004.
The snow-walker Gudrun came from the swirling mists and icy depths beyond the edge of the world to rule the Jarl’s people with fear and sorcery, but a small band of outlaws will fight to the death to restore the land to its rightful leader.
[SSHEL S-Collection and Center for Children’s Books S. F531sn]

Northrop, Michael.
Trapped. 2011.
Seven high school students are stranded at their New England high school during a week-long blizzard that shuts down the power and heat, freezes the pipes, and leaves them wondering if they will survive.
[Center for Children’s Books S. N818t]

Pratchett, Terry.
Wintersmith. 2006.
When witch-in-training Tiffany Aching accidentally interrupts the Dance of the Seasons and awakens the interest of the elemental spirit of Winter, she requires the help of the six-inch-high, sword-wielding, sheep-stealing Wee Free Men to put the seasons right.
[SSHEL S-Collection and Center for Children’s Books S. P887wi and Uni High Fiction P887wi2006]


Berner, Rotraut Susanne.
The Winter Book. 2008.
Here is a celebration of winter in all its glory. From the late days of fall and Halloween to the earliest days of spring and Groundhog and Valentine’s days, this varied collection is sure to bring joy to the year’s coldest months.
[SSHEL S-Collection S. 808.8033 W7341]

Gibbons, Gail.
It’s Snowing! 2011.
Introduces readers to snow and discusses topics such as different types of snowstorms, regions where snow falls, and how to prepare when a snowstorm approaches.
[SSHEL S-Collection S. 551.5784 G352i]

Hirschi, Ron.
Winter. 1990.
Text and photographs introduce the natural world in winter.
[SSHEL Oak Street S. 574.543 H616W]

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs.
Snowflake Bentley. 1998.
A biography of a self-taught scientist who photographed thousands of individual snowflakes in order to study their unique formations.
[SSHEL S-Collection and Center for Children’s Books Q. SB. B477m]

Miles, Elizabeth.
Snow. 2005.
What is snow? How does snow form? What causes an avalanche? Read this book to find out all about snow.
[SSHEL S-Collection S. 551.5784 M594s]

Winter Holiday Books

Winter is a time for many holiday traditions around the world. Join in the celebration and learn about other cultures through stories, games, and craft projects! The following is a sample of fiction and non-fiction winter holiday titles that can be found in the Education S-Collection. Also included are search tips for finding additional titles, and useful websites for further exploration.

Hanukkah (Chanukah) – Judaism
December 15, 2006-December 23, 2006

Benderly, Beryl Lieff
Jason’s Miracle: a Hanukkah Story. 2000.
Twelve-year-old Jason has ambivalent feelings about Hanukkah until he finds himself transported back to the time of the Maccabean revolt in Judea.
Location: Education Storage
Call Number: S.B4321j

Hughes, Monica.
My Hanukkah. 2004.
Illustrations and simple text describe how one family celebrates Hanukkah.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: S.296.4 H874m

Kimmel, Eric A.
The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories from Chelm. 2000.
Drawing on traditional Jewish folklore, these Hanukkah stories relate the antics of the people of Chelm, thought – perhaps incorrectly – to be a town of fools.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: S.K571j

Newman, Leslea.
The Eight Nights of Chanukah. 2005.
The wondrous days of Chanukah come to life through the eyes of a young child, whose family gathering grows bigger and bigger as the holiday progresses.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: S.296.435 N346e

Winter Solstice (Yule) – Various
December 21, 2006

Jackson, Ellen.
The Winter Solstice. 1994.
Presents facts and folklore about the shortest day of the year, a day that has been filled with magic since ancient times.
Location: Education Storage
Call Number: Q.S. 394.2683 J133W

Pfeffer, Wendy.
The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice. 2003.
Describes how and why daylight grows shorter as winter approaches, the effect of shorter days on animals and people, and how the winter solstice has been celebrated throughout history. Includes activities.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: S.394.261 P475s

Christmas – Christianity
December 25, 2006

Lankford, Mary D.
Christmas Around the World. 1998.
(From Booklist, 9/15/95) “…looks at the rich diversity of Christmas traditions found in 12 distinctly different cultures…the book features a small selection of craft activities (with step-by-step instructions and diagrams), a helpful pronunciation guide, and an interesting selection of Christmas superstitions.”
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: S.394.2663 L276c1998

Rau, Dana Meachen.
Christmas. 2000.
Introduces the many aspects of Christmas, including its history, customs, meaning, and the way people celebrate it today.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: S.394.2663 R19c

Whybrow, Ian.
The Kingfisher Book of Classic Christmas Stories. 2004
An anthology of fourteen Christmas stories, both previously published and newly commissioned, by such authors as Louisa May Alcott and William Dean Howells, and illustrated by such artists as Anna C. Leplar and Paolo D’Altan.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: S.K592

Wilson, Karma.
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger. 2005.
Unhappy in his cramped, cold hole, Mortimer Mouse moves into a nativity scene thinking it is the perfect home for him, until he discovers who truly belongs there.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: SE.W694mo

Kwanzaa – African Heritage
December 26, 2006-January 1, 2007

Chocolate, Deborah M. Newton.
A Very Special Kwanzaa. 1996.
Charlie’s school is holding a Kwanzaa festival, and he doesn’t want to be any part of it because last year he was made fun of when he participated. But Charlie soon learns that Kwanzaa is a celebration of creativity and caring, of family and friends, that Kwanzaa can be a pretty special time – for everyone.
Location: Education Storage
Call Number: S.C4512V

Medearis, Angela Shelf.
Seven Spools of Thread: a Kwanzaa Story. 2000.
When they are given the seemingly impossible task of turning thread into gold, the seven Ashanti brothers put aside their differences, learn to get along, and embody the principles of Kwanzaa. Includes information on Kwanzaa, West African cloth weaving, and instructions for making a belt.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: SE.M4672s

Murray, Julie.
Kwanzaa. 2003.
An introduction to the history, purpose, and observance of Kwanzaa.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: S.394.261 M964k

Pinkney, Andrea Davis.
Seven Candles for Kwanzaa. 1998.
Describes the origins and practices of Kwanzaa, the seven-day festival during which people of African descent rejoice in their ancestral values.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: S.394.268 P655s1998

New Year’s Day – Various
January 1, 2007

Erlbach, Arlene.
Happy New Year, Everywhere! 2000.
Describes New Year greetings and customs from twenty countries and includes games, recipes and craft projects.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: Q.S.394.2614 Er52h

Imler, Kathryn A.
New Year’s Day. 2003.
A basic introduction to how and why New Year’s Day is celebrated as a holiday.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: S.394.2614 Im5n

Rau, Dana Meachen.
New Year’s Day. 2000.
Discusses the history, customs, and celebrations of New Year’s Day.
Location: Education Storage
Call Number: S.394.2614 R19n

Chinese New Year
Februrary 18, 2007 (Year of the Pig)

Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane.
Celebrating Chinese New Year. 1998.
Depicts a San Francisco boy and his family preparing for and enjoying their celebration of Chinese New Year, their most important holiday.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: Q.S.394.261 H854c

Bouchard, Dave.
The Dragon New-Year: a Chinese Legend. 1999.
Frightened into sleeplessness by the noisy celebration of the Chinese New Year, a young girl takes comfort in her grandmother’s soothing story of a dragon, a mother’s sorrow, and Buddha.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: Q.S.398.20951 B66d

Katz, Karen.
My First Chinese New Year. 2004.
Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it.
Location: Education S-Collection
Call Number: SE.K159my

Search tips
Want to see more? Use the following subject headings to search the UIUC catalog:
Hanukkah — juvenile literature
Hanukkah — juvenile fiction
Winter solstice — juvenile literature
Christmas — juvenile fiction
Christmas — juvenile literature
Kwanzaa — juvenile fiction
Kwanzaa — juvenile literature
New Year — juvenile literature
Chinese New Year — juvenile fiction
Chinese New Year — juvenile literature

The following websites provide further information, along with craft and game ideas

Springfield Library’s Winter Holidays Website
Waterboro Public Library’s Resources for Winter Holidays Page
Kid’s Domain Winter Fun Website