I grew up in the Northeast United States and although I’ve lived in sunny California for over twenty years now, I still associate the winter months with cold and snow. When school let out for winter break, I relished the long days with limited sunlight because it meant most of my time could be spent tucked away with a good book. I still prize a day with no commitments where I can just read read read above almost all else.
To celebrate this season of frosty weather, even if in some places it is still bright and sunny, around up of related middle grade novels for reading late into the night.
Winterfrost, by Michelle Houts
An ordinary Danish Christmas turns extraordinary when a family overlooks an important folkloric tradition.
Christmas has come, and with it a sparkling white winterfrost over the countryside. But twelve-year-old Bettina’s parents have been called away unexpectedly, leaving her in charge of the house, the farm, and baby Pia. In all the confusion, Bettina’s family neglects to set out the traditional bowl of Christmas rice pudding for the tiny nisse who are rumored to look after the family and their livestock. No one besides her grandfather ever believed the nisse were real, so what harm could there be in forgetting this silly custom? But when baby Pia disappears during a nap, the magic of the nisse makes itself known. To find her sister and set things right, Bettina must venture into the miniature world of these usually helpful, but sometimes mischievous folk. A delightful winter adventure for lovers of the legendary and miraculous.
Prisoner of Ice and Snow, by Ruth Lauren
When thirteen-year-old Valor is sent to jail, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s twin sister, Sasha, is serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family, and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.
Never mind that no one has escaped the prison in centuries. Valor has a master plan and resources most people could only dream about. But she didn’t count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make some unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.
This exciting middle-grade debut effortlessly melds an unforgettable protagonist, a breathless plot, and stunning world-building–and is impossible to put down.
The Contest (Everest series #1), by Gordon Korman
A thrilling adventure trilogy about a number of kids competing to be the youngest person to ever reach the top of Mt. Everest
Four kids. One mountain.
They come from all across America to be the youngest kid ever to climb Everest. But only one will reach the top first. The competition is fierce. The preparation is intense. The challenge is breathtaking. When the final four reach the higher peaks, disaster strikes-and all that separates the living from the dead is chance, bravery, and action.
Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu
The winner of numerous awards and recipient of four starred reviews, Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs is a stunning and heartbreaking story of growing up, wrapped in a modern-day fairy tale.
Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest with a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it’s up to Hazel to go in after him. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” Breadcrumbs is a stunningly original fairy tale of modern-day America, a dazzling ode to the power of fantasy, and a heartbreaking meditation on how growing up is as much a choice as it is something that happens to us.
In Breadcrumbs, Anne Ursu tells, in her one-of-a-kind voice, a story that brings together fifty years of children’s literature in a tale as modern as it is timeless. Hazel’s journey to come to terms with her evolving friendship with Jack will deeply resonate with young readers.
Blizzard: Colorado, 1886, by Kathleen Duey and Karen Bale
A raging snow storm creates the coldest kind of danger for two kids in this riveting tale of historical fiction, part of the Survivor series.
Haydn Sinclair hates absolutely everything about his aunt and uncle’s primitive Rocky Mountain ranch. He’d much rather be in a great city than stuck on the countryside.
Haydn’s cousin Maggie hates the thought of having her rich and spoiled cousin visiting for four long months. She’d be happier if he wasn’t around.
When Maggie’s father is injured and she and Haydn are left alone, they argue, and Haydn sets off on foot for the train station miles away. The next day Maggie learns that Haydn never made it to town, and she must search for him despite the blizzard that is raging outside. But even if she can find him, will they be able to survive freezing nights, vicious winds, and the constant threat of snow slides?