Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teach Your Preschoolers About The Arctic [reviews of 8 picture books]

The topic for January & February in the RTFEBC is the Arctic. It's pretty fitting that here in Michigan we've had a week of high temps in the teens and lows around zero!

The recommended picture book to read for the book club is In Arctic Waters, but I wasn't able to get it from my library. So I did a little digging and requested a bunch of other picture books about the Arctic that I want to share with you, in case you want to teach your kids about a new part of the world!


Way Up in the Arctic by Jennifer Ward
From Amazon: "Jennifer Ward and Kenneth Spengler have teamed up to create another wonderful, joyful, counting romp. This time they prance and dance readers through the Arctic and introduce kids to the fascinating animal mamas and babies that call the Arctic home. Set to the beloved tune of Over in the Meadow, read again and again this book will have kids singing along from one to ten with polar bears, beluga whales, Arctic foxes and more! Hey, kids! Look for the number hidden on each page!"

Recommended age:
 4-8 years

My thoughts: Rhyming, counting, Arctic animals, and a hidden number on each page combine to make this a great book! The back even contains additional facts about the animals and the Arctic. 


Hello, Arctic! by Theodore Taylor
From Amazon: "The Arctic is more than ice and snow. As the seasons change and winter turns to spring, birds return, seals leap and splash, and polar bears are born. Childlike, rhythmic text invites us to greet the animals that come with the turn of seasons--Hello, birds! Hello, seals! Hello, cubs!--while gorgeous illustrations reveal the wondrous creatures and colors of this stirring northern land."

Recommended age: 3-7 years

My thoughts: This book has no more than 10 words on a page, and most only have 4-6, making it great for younger children. It gives a basic introduction to the animals and seasons of the Arctic.


Immi's Gift by Karin Littlewood
From Amazon: "Karin Littlewood has crafted a simple, affecting story of how individuals around the world connect and even enrich each others lives. Her beautiful, full-spread watercolor illustrations colorfully depict the story s shifting locations from the frozen Arctic to the tropical shoreline, and the vast and diverse world that exists below the sea."

Recommended age: 4+ years

My thoughts: Surprisingly, out of all the arctic books we got from the library, this is the one my kids have requested at bedtime most often. The illustrations are beautiful, and it's a simple fictional story (would you really invite a polar bear into your igloo?!) that shows we can connect with people in other parts of the world.


by Susan Canizares 
My thoughts: These short non-fiction books use real photographs and a minimal amount of words on each page to show children what the arctic looks like.

Recommended age: Amazon says 4 and up, but these books are SO short and small (16 pages each) that I think MUCH younger kids will be able to sit through them.


Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights by Debbie S. Miller
From Amazon: "Imagine a land where the sun rises at 1:58 a.m. in the summer and shines for less than four hours on a winter's day. The animals in the wilderness near Fairbanks, Alaska, witness some of the world's greatest temperature extremes and light variations ever year. At an average low of -16 degrees Fahrenheit, the winters may be unpleasantly frigid, but the light shows are always glorious!"

Recommended age:
 5-9 years

My thoughts: I read this through once with both of my kids, and I think it may have been a little old for them. I explained and expounded a lot on the concept, to help them understand, and I think it's great for teaching kids about how the amount of daylight is different as you get closer to the poles. Each two-page spread represents a different month, starting with June, and tells when the sunrise and sunset occurs each month. The beautiful illustrations show how the landscape changes with the seasons too.

Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk
From Amazon: "This bedtime poem, written by internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts bestowed upon a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic. Lyrically and lovingly written, this visually stunning book is infused with the Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants."

Recommended age:
 preschool and up

My thoughts: This is a beautiful bedtime book, that shows the many different Arctic animals, and gives lots of warm fuzzy feelings and welcomes snuggles from your kids. :)


Arctic Son by Jean Craighead George
From Amazon: "Eskimo life has adjusted to the long summer day and the long winter night, the severe cold, and the arrival and departure of wildlife. In this stunning tribute to the Arctic and its inhabitants by the celebrated author of Julie of the Wolves, the warmth of the Inupiat Eskimo culture shines through."

Recommended age:
 preschool and up, though I think it's more early-elementary

My thoughts: "In the Arctic, where Kupaaq was born, things are very different." This book is the most in-depth and longest of the picture books we have, and it has a TON of Eskimo culture. I needed to explain a lot of it to my kids.

We have a friend who moved to Alaska to teach for a few years, and while there she met and married a local man (he even has an English name and an Inuit name, like the boy in the book). They have since moved back to Michigan, and have two daughters, who are friends of my kids. I was able to use this book to teach my 5 year old a bit of what life was like for Mr. George when he was young.


There's still a whole year ahead of us in the Reading Together Family Exploration Book Club! This week in the Facebook group we're discussing the chapter book The Year of Miss Agnes, and in February we're reading Julie of the Wolves together! Come join us!

This post does contain Amazon Affiliate links. Purchases you make after clicking through will help support The Lion is a Bookworm a little bit without changing the cost to you!


  1. Thanks for your insightful comment on my blog. I love these artic resources! I believe they would be good for older children, too. We would love to have you link up posts like these at Literacy Musing Mondays #LMMLinkup. http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=759

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'll check out your linkup! :)

  2. Great variety! I tried to read more Arctic books with my son, but he was not interested. Oh well. Maybe the next topic will go better.