Ask a Librarian: Cozy Books to Curl Up With This Winter

Brrr. It’s cold outside, and what better way to thaw the chill of winter than by curling up with some hot cocoa and a good book? And who better to ask for book recommendations than a librarian?

Canyons District’s school libraries are full of warm winter reads for book lovers of all ages.

As part of a new “Ask the Librarian” segment we’ll be airing on the Connect Canyons podcast, we asked District Library Specialist Gretchen Zaitzeff and Brighton High Librarian Catherine Bates to list a few of their favorite titles.

  1. “Extra Yarn,” a Caldecott Honor Book by author Mac Barnett and illustrator Jon Klassen Zaitzeff describes this as a picture book in which the protagonist, a young girl, brings “texture, warmth, and color” to her black-and-white world with a magic box of yarn. “Each time she knits, she brings more and more color to her family, friends, and community,” Zaitzeff says about the book’s illustrations, which become more colorful with each turn of the page. “This book is full of magic and speaks the generosity and powerful ability of children to make life better for the rest of us.”
  2. “One Boy, No Water,” (The Niuhi Shark Saga) by Utah author Lehua Parker Think of this book as “Percy Jackson in Hawaii,” says Zaitzeff. Filled with the warm images of life in the Hawaiian islands, this novel is about a 13-year-old boy who has the misfortune of living on an island while being allergic to water.
  3. “The Holiday Switch,” by Tif Marcelo Though themed as a holiday read, this sweet, “heart-warming” romance will entertain high-school-aged readers year round. It’s about a bookish Filipino-American girl who, while earning some extra cash over winter break at a local inn, meets her boss’s aggravating nephew. The two accidentally switch cell phones, which leads to some laughs and a developing romance. “This is a Hallmark movie in a book,” Bates says.
  4. “The Impossible Climb,” by Mark Synnott A work of non-fiction written by the National Geographic documentary filmmaker who captured Alex Honnold’s daring “free solo” ascent of El Capitan. The book touches on the history and culture of rock climbing, and would be a great read for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, Bates says. But, as a tale about pushing the limits of human potential, it has appeal for many readers.

Zaitzeff and Bates also offer tips for introducing reluctant readers to the joy of books. Often, the best place to start, they say, is by finding subjects that interest your children.

Once you find a few “comfort books,” before you know it, you may find yourself digesting as many titles as Bates has this school year: a modest 62 books, as of January.

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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