Harris Center Reads: Stories for Long Winter Nights

December 1, 2021
An open book lying on a table, next to a white mug, with a wood stove glowing in in the background. (photo © Pravan Trikutam via Unsplash)

Lose Yourself in a Story…

Welcome to Harris Center Reads, a curated book list for curious naturalists of all ages. As winter looms, we offer our suggestions for works of fiction. Let these nature-inspired tales take you away into worlds of magic, beauty, drama, and imagination. Curl up with a good book while the winter winds howl!

For Adults

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde. Follow three generations of beekeepers — past, present, and future — and their complex relationships to their bees and their families in this international best seller by Norwegian author Maja Lunde.

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice. A post-apocalyptic novel about resilience in a small Anishinaabe community thrown into darkness and hunger. If you’re a fan of literary science fiction and writers like Cormac McCarthy, this one is for you!

Gloryland by Shelton Johnson. The first work of historical fiction by park ranger Shelton Johnson, Gloryland tells the story of Elijah Yancy, a sharecropper’s son turned cavalryman in the late 19th century. Vividly portrayed, Elijah’s search for meaning is deeply connected to time spent under the open skies and in the dramatic landscapes of Yosemite National Park. Ken Burns calls this “a work of extraordinary imagination and sympathy, a journey from slavery to the mountaintop, perfectly realized.”

Picture Books for Kids

Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol and Isabelle Arsenault. In this sweet lullaby-style picture book, a child snuggles under a cozy quilt as wild animals wander through the garden, snow softly falls, stars twinkle bright, and the northern lights paint the sky. A perfect winter’s night read.

Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler. Imaginative and filled with vivid mixed media illustrations, Beyond the Pond takes the reader on a fantastical journey — celebrating both the natural world and the imaginary worlds that live in each of us.

Chirri & Chirra series by Kaya Doi, translated by Yuki Kaneko. Meet Chirri and Chirra, Japanese sisters who go on magical journeys in nature. This charming series always shows Chirri and Chirra interacting with small animals in tender, caring ways. Read them all!

For Teens

The Trail by Meika Hashimoto. A page-turner reminiscent of classics such as Hatchet and My Side of the Mountain, this tale of adventure on the Appalachian Trail shines a light on one boy’s courage, compassion, and grit. You won’t want to put it down.

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller. Infused with magic and Korean folktales, When You Trap a Tiger is a timeless story of a girl and a magical tiger. Booklist called it “a heartfelt reminder of the wonder and beauty in our everyday lives.” Winner of the 2021 Newberry Medal, and a New York Times Best Seller.

Where to Find These Books

BUY. We’d like to give a special shout-out to our local bookseller, Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough! They’re open for in-person shopping, and they also sell online.

BORROW. In addition, most local libraries offer a wide variety of printed books, eBooks, and other digital options. Check with your town library for more information.