The Best Books of Winter
In this third post in my seasonal series, I’m highlighting the middle grade and YA books that are most suited to winter! They are especially perfect for those long afternoons by the glow of the Christmas tree, watching tufts of cotton snow fall outside the window as you indulge in the peacefulness of the season.
Maggie Rose: Her Birthday Christmas by Ruth Sawyer
A forgotten gem from a renowned author of the mid-20th century, this marvelous novel could really be considered a summer story more than winter one, as much of the book takes place in summer. But the final chapters come to a climactic crescendo at Christmastime, when a little girl’s dream of hosting an enormous “birthday Christmas” celebration finally comes to fruition. The elegant prose, captivating descriptions of the coast of Maine, and magnificent ending make this one of my very favorite books. It’s out of print now, but available to read for free on Open Library!
Louisa May Alcott’s Christmas Treasury
This collection of lovely Christmas tales by Louisa May Alcott is an absolute joy. My grandmother gave me this book two Christmases ago, and I read each story with delight, savoring Alcott’s sympathetic characters and happy endings.
Patty Fairfield by Carolyn Wells
Originally published in 1902, the first volume in the Patty Fairfield series follows 14-year-old Patty as she lives with each of her aunts in one unforgettable (and highly amusing!) year of picnics, parties, and adventures.
Friendly Gables by Hilda van Stockum
In this post, I detailed all the reasons why I love Hilda van Stockum’s Mitchell family trilogy, and this final book in the series is definitely the best of the three! Taking place in March and April in post-World War II Montreal, this sweet family story includes brand-new twin babies in the house, a secret meeting place, and an unpleasant housekeeper (who just might have a heart of gold). This novel has the feeling of a Christmas tale to me, but perhaps that’s because I read it for the first time as an 8-year-old right before Christmas! 🙂
The Family at Caldicott Place by Noel Streatfeild
One of my all-time favorite novels, this is a warm, uplifting depiction of a family struggling to cope with enormous loss. When a city family in reduced circumstances unexpectedly inherits a vast estate in the British countryside, their lives—and the lives of three unusual children who become their boarders—are changed forever.
Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories by L.M. Montgomery
Much like Louisa May Alcott’s collection of Christmas tales, this is another unforgettable compilation of stories filled with hope, goodwill, and the importance of family. Chapters of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Windy Poplars are included in this book, along with many stories about other characters.
Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott
I read this book last Christmas, and I fell in love with the large cast of warmhearted characters—most importantly conscientious Jack and impetuous Jill, whose sledding accident at the start of the novel is the catalyst for a series of heartwarming events in their close-knit village.
Betsy in Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace
The sixth installment in the Betsy-Tacy series, this book follows Betsy Ray through her sophomore year of high school in 1907, as she attempts to transform her typical vivacious self into a “dramatic and mysterious” personality. She also visits her friend Tib in Milwaukee for a splendid Christmas celebration (which is very fun to read)!
From Anna by Jean Little
I cannot recommend this novel enough. In fact, I should really dedicate an entire blog post to this achingly beautiful middle grade by popular Canadian children’s author Jean Little. The moving story of a nine-year-old girl who is uprooted from Germany in the 1930s and forced to come to terms with her limited eyesight, is one of the finest Christmas stories I’ve ever read. The rhythmic writing, realistic characters, and timeless message continue to amaze me every time I pick up this book.