There’s no denying it – Snowmageddon is upon us. Much as I hoped we’d make it through this winter unscathed, the 28 inches of snow that fell in Central Pennsylvania this weekend have dashed my hopes for a mild season. The past 48 hours have been filled with the scrape of shovels, acrid snowblower fumes, and the conundrum of how to wrestle one-foot-high dogs out of two-and-a-half-foot snow banks.
Much as I enjoyed snow as a kid, adulthood’s required me to trade sledding and snow forts for shoveling and windshield defrosting. I am decidedly not a fan. Still, my parents always taught me to find the bright side of every situation, so I’m doing my best to stay positive about this Snowmageddon business. In an effort to do just that, I’ve put together a list highlighting great Young Adult and Middle Grade stories featuring ice and snow.
Perpetual Winter Fantasy Lands
Winterspell by Claire Legrand – I’m only part-way through this dark, sensual retelling of The Nutcracker, but so far I’m loving it. It’s got a wicked queen, curses, a sexy but possibly dangerous prince, and is set in the wintry, snow-covered land of Cane, a kind of a magical steampunk fairyland.
Winter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan – A tale of slavery, destiny, and magic, Winter of Fire takes place in a world where greenhouses gases have blocked out the sun and trapped humanity in a bitter, frozen world. Perfect for those who are into fantasy with strong heroines who fight for justice and equality.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis – One of my favorite childhood books, this classic follows the adventures of four siblings who stumble upon the magical land of Narnia. There, they must battle a wicked queen who has cursed her subjects to endure an endless winter.
Man vs. Snow
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George and John Schoenherr – When a young Eskimo girl runs away from home, she gets lost in the Alaskan wilderness. In order to survive, she falls in with a pack of wolves and is gradually accepted as one of their own.
Woodsong by Gary Paulsen – Every time I feel the urge to grumble about the cold, I think about Gary Paulsen and his wild survivalist adventures. The man traveled over 1,000 miles on a dogsled in sub-zero temperatures, hallucinating and eating sticks of butter to survive. Surely I can handle the long walk across the parking lot from my car to my job, no?
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder – Twenty-eight inches of snow doesn’t seem so bad when compared to the blizzards that swept through the Dakota Territory in the winter of 1880. As a kid, I was stunned by Wilder’s descriptions of cold so bitter that cattle nearly suffocated from their breath freezing over their noses and eyes, and snow that stung at you until your eyelids bled.
Nameless by Lili St. Crow – This retelling of Snow White begins with the discovery of a brutalized young girl half-dead in the snow. The wintry theme continues throughout the rest of the book, subtle yet pervasive, all ice and chills and frosty breath. (Read my review here.)
The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis – One of my all-time favorite books, this gorgeous but heartbreaking story is packed with wintry motifs. The pages are full of chapped hands, brutal winds, and frozen oceans, everything icy and frigid, the cold inescapable.