It has arrived: UWaterloo is blanketed with snow. This isn’t just a dusting: across the city you can hear the sound of scraping shovels. From Canadian classics (that famous snowball), to the year of no summer, and a trip through the wardrobe, there are snowy books for every reader.
Fifth Business, Robertson Davies
The most famous snowball in literature, one which resonates across an entire series, makes its first appearance here.
Washington Black, Esi Edugyan
The winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, this neo-slave narrative was also a finalist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and the 2018 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Born in slavery in Barbados in the 1800s, Black escapes with an uneven white patron, following him to the Arctic.
Moon of the Crusted Snow, Waubgeshig Rice
A dystopian novel about a northern Anishinaabe community which loses power as winter sets in—chaos ensues, aggravated by white travelers from the south who appear to be escaping their own cataclysmic event. Rice is host of the CBC Radio show Up North; this novel received the 2019 Evergreen Award.
Split Tooth, Tanya Tagaq
Winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award for Published Prose in English ,and Longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Split Tooth combines mythology, philosophy, and narrative in its tale of a pregnant teenager. The structure itself reproduces the rhythms of life above the Arctic tree line.
Almost a Full Moon, Hawksley Workman
Based on Workman’s song of the same name from his 2001 Christmas album, this children’s book imagines a crisp winter evening. As guests arrive from far and beyond, a boy and an older woman prepare soup to feed all.
The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats
Keats received the 1963 Caldecott Medal for The Snowy Day, in which a young boy finds pleasure in doing all of those things one does in the first snowfall: walking with your toes pointed out, dragging a stick, smuggling a snowball into the house….
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis
In which banishing eternal winter becomes an epic battle, and we all wish for a place as cozy as Mr. Tumnus’s to keep warm, and a coat from the wardrobe to protect us from the elements.
Over and Under the Snow, Kate Messner
As a father and daughter ski through a wood—swoosh! down, down, faster, faster—readers peep into the “secret kingdom” under the snow, and learn about how animals survive the winter.
The Snow Day, Komako Sakai
There is so much snow that kindergarten was cancelled, and a father’s flight delayed. A mother and daughter spend the day doing the quiet things one does on a snow day.
Snow, Uri Shulevitz
Drawing on Shulevitz’s memories of pre-Holocaust Europe, Snow captures the magic of the first snowfall: “It’s snowing, said boy with dog. “It’s only a snowflake,” said grandfather with beard. Snow was named a 1998 New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year and a 1999 Caldecott Honor Book.
Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the novel takes up the anti-Japanese sentiment of World War 2, and its ongoing resonance in the lives of a small community in Washington state as they negotiate a possible murder.
Pym, Mat Johnson
In this wildly satiric and experimental novel, Johnson takes up Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, traversing the metaphorical landscape of American politics and racial identity, complete with a voyage to Antarctica. Mind the Snow Honkies.
Snow, Ruth Kirk
A non-fiction book about snow, which will increase your appreciation of it as a force of nature, as well as the variety of creative ways humans have interacted with it.
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
Many have claimed that The Left Hand of Darkness changed everything in science fiction—published in 1969, it won the Hugo Award with its portrait of an icebound planet where gender is not fixed.
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Due to the eruption of Mount Tambor, 1816 became known as “the year without a summer”—it even snowed in July. And so there Shelley was, at Lake Geneva, in what was a year of winter—is it any surprise the novel ends with an ice floe?