With my favorite holiday just around the corner, I wanted to share some of our most loved winter solstice books. These books explain how the seasons work and how different cultures celebrate the shortest day. Outside it’s cold and dark; inside we are warm, cuddled up under a blanket reading together.
The Winter Solstice By Ellen Jackson.
As you might guess, this book presents facts and folklore about the shortest day of the year, a day that has been filled with magic since ancient times. In picture-book format, this introduces the winter solstice customs and beliefs of the ancient Britons, Scandinavians, Romans, and Peruvians, as well as certain Native American sun ceremonies. We like the watercolor illustrations (Jan Davey Ellis), the friendly tone, and the folk stories.
The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer
Pfeffer has a book for each solstice and equinox that explains the science behind the seasons. In The Shortest Day, she describes cultures through time, and throughout the world, and how they dealt with the lengthening nights. We like the experiments and crafts at the end of the book.
A Solstice Tree for Jenny by Karen Shragg
Jenny is feeling left out. Her secular parents, born to different faiths that they no longer observe, don’t believe in celebrating Christmas. Then she learns about the ancient traditions surrounding the winter solstice. They get a potted tree to celebrate the solstice and all the winter holidays. Jenny feels better.
The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice by Carolyn McVickar Edwards
As you might guess from the title, these 12 stories honor the moment “the sun stands still.” Celebrations honoring the winter solstice as a moment of transition and renewal date back thousands of years and occur among many peoples on every continent. The Return of the Light makes an ideal companion for everyone who carries on this tradition, no matter what their faith.
Do you have any favorite solstice reads?