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Best Children’s Books About Arctic Animals

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!

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Check out the books:

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell


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!

Get your lesson plan and activities for Wolf in the Snow HERE

The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers

the great paper caper Picturebookbrain

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

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

lost and found Picturebookbrain

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.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Lost and Found HERE

Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?

whos that knocking christmas Picturebookbrain

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!

Get the lesson plan and activities for Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? HERE

Dasher by Matt Tavares


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.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Dasher HERE

The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen Picturebookbrain

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin picture book front cover

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.

Get your lesson plan and activities for Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

The Mitten and The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett

The Mitten by Jan Brett picture book front cover

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!

Get your lesson plan and activities for The Mitten by Jan Brett

Get your lesson plan and activities for The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

And Tango Makes Three

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.

Get your lesson plan and activities for And Tango Makes Three

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

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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.

Get your lesson plan and activities for Owl Moon HERE

Knut by Juliana Hatkoff

Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World by Juliana Hatkoff picture book cover

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!

Get your lesson plans and activities for Knut by Juliana Hatkoff HERE

Check out the best children's books about arctic animals to read in the wintery, cold months.  Fiction and nonfiction books that are sure to engage your students in fantastic stories from award-winning authors.  These are the best picture books about arctic animals perfect for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth and fifth grade students.  Read some new books for your kids this winter for your arctic unit or polar unit!  Lesson plans and activities also included that could be used in K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grade!

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!

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Hey there! I’m Josh from Picture Book Brain here to share only the best literature for you to use with your students. If you are looking for a specific book, use the search bar below to check my archives. Glad you’re here, and glad to help you!

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