Monday, February 18, 2013

Letters from the Sky

Letters from the Sky
Non-fiction Picture Books about Snow

Some are old, some are new, some are tried, and all are true!

This post is dedicated to Mister...whose wondering inspired a post on books that tell about Snow!
Mister, thank you for the lightbulb moment when you wrote about your wonderings of snow in your writer's notebook!
Special Thanks! to Cathy Mere, Julie Balen and Mandy Robek for hosting this event!

Discovery and Snowflakes
By Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Illustrated by Mary Azarian
A biography of the life of Wilson A. Bentley, the "Snowflake Man" of Jericho Vermont.  This beautiful book won the 1999 Caldecott Award.  It tells of Bentley's life in a gentle yet powerful way to let the reader know how dedicated and serious the man was to his life's work-photographing snowflakes.

The story of Wilson Bentley and his quest to photograph the perfect snowflake...he so strongly desired the perfect snow that being out in a snowfall acutally contributed to him becoming sick and dieing from pnemonia.

"The Snowflake Man" from Chuck Smith on Vimeo.
A short video about the work and struggle to photograph the snowflakes!

Snowflakes in Photographs by Wilson A. Bentley
This book contains the photographs Bentley took of the snowflakes-no two are exactly alike!  Children will love looking at these pictures!  It may inspire them to want to run outside and catch snowflakes on black paper to observe with magnifying glasses.  Also, here is a link to the WA Bentley website

By Franklyn Mansfield Branley and Illustrated by Holly Kellar
A typical read and find out story-great for anwering questions that children might be wondering about snow!

by Josepha Sherman, Illustrated by Jeff Yesh
Kids will be able to learn about snow crystals. They will be able to learn how water is turned to snow.  The book contains a discussion of extreme weather conditions including a blizzard.

By Melissa Stewart and Illustrated by Contance R. Bergum
Children will be able to learn about how animals exist under the snow in this beautiful story.  It shows how animals survive during the cold months of winter. 
I also found a curriculum guide link to the story via Melissa's website

By Kate Messner Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Students will love this book!  Taking something simple, opposites of over and under, and recounting not so ordinary things that are happening in the moment both above the snow pack and under it.  There is a new word connected with this story-the subnivean zone!  Check out the story to learn more about this amazing process that's easily taken for granted.
Students may even want to write Kate a letter about what they learned from her views in the story.

By Mark Cassino, with Jon Nelson, Ph.D.
This is an amazing book with a more scientific feel to it!  The story explains how the snow crystals are formed, and how various shapes are changed by the temperature.  The story includes ending advice on how to catch your own snow crystals.  It ends with a glorious quote:
"A snow crystal is a letter from the sky."  --Ukichiro Nakaya, Japanese Scientist

So there you have my list of Non-fiction nods on Snow!
Happy Reading!



  1. Amy, I am adding your whole list to my order for grade one teachers. It is a fantastic collection of stories/information on a topic, and I am currently very focused on creating opportunities for students do explore their interests deeply. Snow is a perennial topic of interest, isn't it?

    I really like how our thinking about non-fiction texts leads us to other text forms like book trailers and videos.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amy, Love your list, especially because it begins with my favorite non-fiction book, Snowflake Bentley! Glad you included the links to the videos. I ran out of time!

    1. I love your themed list, Amy! And, since it's snowing today, I'm even more excited about getting my hands on some of these once the roads are clear.

  3. How neat that you picked a theme! I have heard so much about the Story of Snow - I need to add it to my wish list!

  4. Amy, I have another snow book for you that is a must: The Snow Show by Carolyn Fisher. It tells the story of snow through a TV show. The host is Chef Kelvin and it includes bloopers at the end. This is a very fun book.

  5. Amy,
    Love the focus on snow books --- even if I am ready for the snow to stop. There are so many titles here that are new to me. I have so many snow fiction books I love, but need to add to my nonfiction collection. Getting out my winter books every year is one of my favorite seasonal traditions. Now I have some more titles to add.


  6. We haven't had as much snow as usual here this winter... I will gladly take my snow from your list instead!

  7. I love that you went with all snow books! What a great idea, especially at this time of the year! :)

  8. Some fantastic snow books. I recently read a number of snow books with my class and some of these were on the list! I am adding some of these to my list for future snow themes. Thanks!

  9. Great idea to do a themed nonfiction list! I am currently interested in finding paired text sets...Snowflake Bentley and The Story of Snow would make a perfect pair! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Amy~
    Your post is snow cool, Love the snow focus! Many new titles to explore!

    Thanks a foot!

  11. Great list of snow books! We had a mini-blizzard on Wednesday and are scheduled for another one tomorrow. I may need to make a bookstore run today!

  12. I love the snow theme! Kate Messner's Over and Under the Snow is one of my favorites and it's a great mentor text. Thanks for sharing your list.


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