There are some books that seem to provide us with the warmth we need when the temperature drops outside, often in the form of memorable descriptions of food. I often search the bookshelves for them in the winter, especially on snow days, which provide the perfect backdrop for a cozy read-aloud with a child. Here are a few favorites to look for on your own snow-day trip to the library or bookstore:
Sophie’s Squash by Zietlow Miller and Anne Wilsdorf: An utterly charming and believable story of a little girl who falls in love with the butternut squash her family buys at the farmers’ market and refuses to allow her parents to cook it. A satisfying and biologically accurate ending completes this delightful tale. (Warning: you may find yourself craving food containing gourds while reading; Sophie’s mom looks like a darn good cook!)
The Bears Who Stayed Indoors by Susanna Gretz: A quintet of co-habiting bears, faced with a rainy day, must entertain themselves, mostly by cooking and planning what to eat on their indoor rocket launch to the moon (mooncakes! What else?) William, the resident foodie bear, thinks and talks incessantly about eating—highly relatable to me!
The City in Winter by Eleanor Schick: Published in 1970, and beautifully illustrated by the author in orange and blue light pastels, readers get to spend a snow day with Jimmy and his grandmother in their cozy apartment when a snowstorm closes school for the day. They make a barn from a cardboard box, start a “garden” (a sweet potato sprouting in a jar!), and make soup for when Jimmy’s mom gets home from work. The humble, homey activities of the characters in the story are enormously comforting and perfect for a wintry bedtime.
Chicken Soup With Rice by Maurice Sendak: Sendak’s seasonal verse fills each month of the year with another reason to enjoy a brimming bowl of broth, proving my long-held theory that there is no bad time of the year for soup! Here’s one for this month: “In January it’s so nice/ While slipping on the sliding ice/ To sip hot chicken soup with rice!”