The word ‘solstice’ comes from the French words sol (sun) and status (to come to a stop). In the Northern Hemisphere, winter solstice traditionally falls on the 21st of December, also known as the shortest day of the year. On this day, the top of the world tilts away from the sun to its maximum extent.
Each year we wind up the semester with our traditional Winter celebration that either falls on December 21st or a day earlier or later. This is the perfect way to learn and read about Winter Solstice around a bon-fire with some hot chocolate and marshmallows. Since it has become a tradition before we break off for the winter break, we are always looking for inciting books for the children. Here are some recommendations of books that I have read and my students love as well…
The Solstice Badger is a very sweet tale about the Sun. It talks about how the Sun shone all day long, everyday. With the passage of time it begins to feel lonely and tired. Countless creatures on the Earth try to befriend the Sun but get burned with its heat. The Sun then comes across the Badger and they both become good friends. While sharing their stories with each other, the Sun loses track of time and its absence from the sky eventually causes dark skies and snow. That’s how the Winter Solstice begins…
The Winter Solstice is a beautiful multicultural approach to learn about the scientific reason for the shortest day of the year. It highlights upon how people of various cultures throughout history have responded to the ever-growing darkness of winter.
Sleep Tight Farm is my personal favorite book. A beautifully illustrated tale. The farmer talks about how the farm has worked to shelter the family, fed them, kept them warm and now it is time for it to sleep. He prepares for the winter’s rest and spring’s new growth to come. The farmer paints a warm picture of what winter means to the farm year and to the family that shares its seasons.
The illustrations in this book are all acrylic paintings. Arctic Lights Arctic Nights talks about 21st of each month and captures the beauty, drama and unusual features of the changing light of the Far North. It emphasizes the fact that winters may be unpleasantly frigid, but the light shows are always glorious!
The Sun Bread is a very sweet book. It talks about how everyone misses the sun and the baker decides to make sun bread. As she bakes, a golden and glorious sun bread, everyone comes out to enjoy its warmth and goodness including the sun itself. At the end of the book there is a recipe for sun bread that is just perfect to bake with your students or children.
This book is one of the most popular books about Winter Solstice. It focuses on the shortest day of the year. It is a combination of the historical and scientific facts about the effects of the Earth’s rotation. The last few pages talk about various celebration ideas. It is a great resource for Elementary students as it consists of two full pages about Earth’s rotation around the sun. There is also a fun activity to measure shadows on the shortest day and my students absolutely love it.
Acrostic Poems are one of our favorite activities in the Lower Elementary classroom. This is a well-loved book. It is a captivating picture book as the writer takes the reader on a journey through the colors and textures of winter.
The Return of the Light is a series of short stories honoring the winter solstice as a tradition among many people across continents. This book makes an ideal companion for everyone who carries on this tradition. These short stories renew our wonder from darkness into light.
I hope you all will enjoy at least one book from the above recommendations and I wish you all an enjoyable winter solstice and happy holidays!!