Harris Center Reads: Winter

December 3, 2020
A man reads a book under a tree. (photo © Josh Hild via Unsplash)

Let it Snow…

Welcome to Harris Center Reads — a monthly, curated list of good reads for curious naturalists of all ages! Winter is coming. Instead of feeling defeated by the impending cold, get into it with these chill recommendations. What better season is there to curl up someplace cozy with a good book?

For Adults

Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival by Bernd Heinrich. Dig into the deep freeze with one of Vermont’s most prolific nature writers, biologist Bernd Heinrich. Descriptive yet simple, Winter World highlights the many different evolutionary strategies animals use to survive winter’s grip.

Life in the Cold: An Introduction to Winter Ecology by Peter Marchand. A detailed picture of the complex interactions and amazing adaptations needed to survive the harshest season, this classic text sheds light on how plants and animals — including humans — have adapted to the life in the cold.

Wandering Through Winter: A Naturalist’s Record of a 20,000-Mile Journey Through the North American Winter by Edwin Way Teale. Take a trip with naturalist Edwin Way Teale and his wife, Nellie, as they follow winter across the continent, starting in southern California and ending in northern Maine. Snuggle up with this one, as it captures the plants, animals, landscapes, and people of a time gone by. Winner of the 1966 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. If you love this book, you might also enjoy the others in this collection: North with the Spring, Journey into Summer, and Autumn Across America.

Picture Books for Kids

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal. This charming book provides a glimpse of animals that live below the snow, some awake and active, others slumbering until spring. Dearly illustrated and filled with accurate natural history information, written in an inviting style.

Little Owl’s Snow by Divya Srinivasan. Join a sweet little owl as he discovers the magic of his first snow in this fiction book for young children. The simple text and delightful illustrations convey a sense of winter wonder and excitement.

Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak. Wander with a brother and sister as they explore their neighborhood, saying farewell to fall and greeting the arrival of winter. Luminous illustrations and simple prose beautifully capture the rhythms of nature.

For Middle School Readers

Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen. A sequel to the classic survival book, Hatchet. Find out what would have happened if 13-year-old Brian Robeson had not been rescued from the Canadian wilderness before winter set in. Boy versus elements: intense, exciting, adventurous.

The Ultimate Winter Survival Handbook: 157 Winter Tips & Tricks by Tim MacWelch and the editors of Outdoor LifeWant to know how to survive outside in the winter? Read this collection of life-saving tips and tricks for staying alive in the coldest season. A great resource for any intrepid teen.

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, many local libraries have re-opened and/or are offering curbside pickup, as well as a wide variety of eBooks and other digital options. Check with your town library for more information.