What are some of the best children’s books about arctic animals? There are a ton of picture books about the arctic and polar regions both fiction and nonfiction. There are books about polar bears, penguins, wolves, and more! Check out these picture books about the arctic!
If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!
Check out the books:
A Caldecott-winning wordless book from Matthew Cordell. The entire time the reader thinks that the child will be attacked by the wolves. Even with no words, the illustrator shows all of the emotion of the child and the wolves with little more than their eyes. A really heart-warming story about helping others even if you think those you are helping will not understand or even hurt you. This is also a great book to read in the winter!
Tree by tree, the forest is being cut down. Clues! There must be clues. For instance, look–there is a mysterious bear carrying an ax! But what would a bear want with so many trees? Perhaps the discarded paper airplanes littering the forest floor have a story to tell?
I love this book because it’s in English and Spanish and allows you to cover vocabulary for mystery stories with even primary students.
You can get a free lesson and activity in English and Spanish HERE
What is a boy to do when a lost penguin shows up at his door? Find out where it comes from, of course, and return it. But the journey to the South Pole is long and difficult in the boy’s rowboat. There are storms to brave and deep, dark nights.To pass the time, the boy tells the penguin stories. Finally, they arrive. Yet instead of being happy, both are sad. That’s when the boy realizes: The penguin hadn’t been lost, it had merely been lonely.
A fun Christmas story featuring an “ice bear” and some of Jan Brett’s famous trolls. This makes a fun story to talk about arctic life and the difference between real arctic animals and fictional arctic animals. Told in Jan Brett’s signature style with the clues on the sides of the book. This is also a favorite Christmas read aloud!
Another new Christmas story that takes a closer look at reindeer and where they live and how Santa Claus helped change Christmas. Dasher is an adventurous young reindeer with a wish in her heart. She spends her days with her family under the hot sun in a traveling circus, but she longs for a different life — one where there is snow beneath her hooves and the North Star above her head.
One day, when the opportunity arises, Dasher seizes her destiny and takes off in pursuit of the life she wants to live. It’s not long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a horse-drawn sleigh — a man named Santa. And soon, with the help of a powerful Christmas wish, nothing will be the same.
While not necessarily a book about arctic animals, this book talks a great deal about snow and the man who learned so much about it. Snowflake Bentley tells the story of Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley who was the son of a farmer. He was fascinated by snowflakes and he was the first person to photograph snowflakes. This is a classic book for winter and learning about perseverance and pursuing your passion. Snowflake Bentley would be a great read aloud for a community, investigation, or biography unit.
The Mitten and The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett
Is it winter if you don’t read at least ONE Jan Brett story? Her illustrations are amazing for predicting and foreshadowing. The Mitten tells the classic tale of the lost mitten that increasingly large animals climb into for warmth until a tiny mouse makes all of them fall out. A classic “straw that broke the camel’s back” story.
The Three Snow Bears tells an arctic version of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears fairy tale. Both of these stories are folktales and fairy tales and are great as part a of a study on folktales or fractured fairy tales. To be honest, though, there are enough Jan Brett books that you could do a complete author study on her. This is also a favorite fractured fairy tale!
All penguins at the Central Park Zoo in New York City find a mate, make a nest, and then have an egg to care for. All of them except two penguins: Silo and Roy. Two male penguins. They pair up, build a nest, but they don’t have an egg to care for until the zookeepers find an egg without anyone to care for it. They care for it, and they have Tango. The only penguin with two dads.
This is a remarkable true story of the chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo. And Tango Makes Three is perfect for having conversations about family and that that doesn’t always mean a mom and a dad. It’s also great because it’s available in Spanish as well: Con Tango son tres.
This book is the book that I always go to for teaching figurative language. Jane Yolen fills this book with similes, metaphors and personification that make it perfect for teaching them to your students. The book talks about a night of a full moon when a girl accompanies her dad walking in the woods trying to find an owl.
Their efforts are rewarded at the end when they come across a great horned owl. The illustrations add to the story and show many of the other animals in the woods. All of this illuminated by the light of an owl moon.
My students LOVE this book. I read this every year when I was in first grade, though, it is rather long. Every time polar bears come up in my now fourth grade class, one kid will mention Knut. It tells the story of the baby polar bear Knut born in Zoo Berlin and Tomas, the zookeeper who hand raised him. The kids love learning about and seeing how Knut grew and learned. Sadly, and this is thankfully not in the story, Knut died suddenly when he was very young from a brain abnormality. Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World is a student favorite and it has a plethora of text features that make it perfect for a non-fiction unit. What puts this firmly on my list of the best winter read alouds is that it is also in Spanish!
Best Children’s Books About Arctic Animals
Should I have included another book on this list of the best children’s books about arctic animals? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to read a new book!
Want to get a FREE week of lesson plans and activities for The Great Paper Caper? Sign up below!