The Best January Read Alouds for Kindergarten

It’s January!  Winter break is over, but the season has just begun.  What a great time to teach about winter and snow.  From New Year’s to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there’s so much you can teach about.  To help, we’ve put together a list of our favorite January read alouds.  For an easy way to purchase any book, simply click on the title.  

January Read Alouds

Let it Snow!

This snowy month is perfect for reading books about snowmen. There are so many wonderful snowman books to choose from.  These are our favorites.

Childrens book All You Need for a Snowman

All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle illustrated by Barbara Lavallee is a delightful book which shows the reader ALL you need to build a snowman.  It begins with “one small snowflake fluttering down” and on and on until finally you have all you need for a snowman except… 

The picture book Snowballs

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert has been a favorite of mine for years.  With its bold, bright, collage artwork this book inspires many wonderful art projects.

Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick is a beautiful and unforgettable book.  The story, told through a series of stunning photographs and endearing text, is about a stranger who has come into the woods and all the curious animals who must go and see it.  The stranger is a snowman, and he has brought treats for all the woodland animals… or has he?

Childrens book Snowmen at Night

Snowmen at Night written by Caralyn Buehner, pictures by Mark Buehner is a magical tale of what snowman do during the night while we’re sleeping.  No wonder snowmen look a little different in the morning, after all the fun they’ve had. 

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Since it is the winter season, here are two wonderful books about winter.  For more winter book recommendations along with activities to help you teach a fantastic winter unit, read our blog  Winter Activities for Kids.

Childrens book It's Winter

It’s Winter by Linda Glaser illustrated by Susan Swan.  Beautiful paper sculpture illustrations and  poetic text convey the winter season through the eyes of a young girl as she goes on a wonderful winter walk.

Childrens book Over and Under

Over and Under the Snow written by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal.  This book brings everything we teach about winter together in one beautiful story.  A child who is cross country skiing with her father learns all about what is happening under as well as over the snow.

January Holiday Read Alouds

Every holiday deserves a good book.  Beginning with New Year’s Day, followed by Martin Luther King Jr. Day  and finally Chinese New Year, here are some great read alouds.

New Year's

Since it is a New Year, how about some books we love about New Year’s. 

The Night Before New Year’s by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Amy Wummer.  This is another one of Natasha Wing’s Night Before books.  We love these books!  Written in the style of the original poem, this book is a FUN read aloud.  It’s all about how a family gets ready for New Year’s Eve and tries very hard to stay up until midnight.  Spoiler alert, they don’t.

Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport, pictures by Marion Eldridge is a joyful book.  In this story, Grandma forgets the black-eyed peas for New Year’s dinner.  Oh no!  Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good luck.  While on a mission to borrow some, Shanté learns the many different ways her neighbors celebrate the New Year.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

On the third Monday in January, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   Here are three books that help children understand and appreciate this great man.

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King Jr

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. written by David A. Adler and illustrated by Robert Casilla.  I am a big fan of the Picture Book Biographies by David A. Adler.  This book is perfect for building background knowledge and teaching children about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Childrens book Martins Big Words

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier.  This award-winning book is stunning!  It is beautifully illustrated and uses many of Dr. Kings own words.  This book deserves thoughtful discussion to ensure comprehension.

Childrens book A Sweet Smell of Roses

A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Eric Velasquez.  Beautifully written and illustrated, this inspiring story is about two young girls who sneak out to join Dr. King in a march for freedom and justice. 

Chinese New Year

Colorful and festive, Chinese New Year is a wonderful way to celebrate the Chinese culture.  It is the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar (between January 21st and February 20).  Here are two books we recommend.

Non fiction childrens book Celebrate Chinese New Year

Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto is one of National Geographic’s popular Holidays Around the World series. Complete with colorful photographs and educational text, this nonfiction book is great for anyone teaching about Chinese New Year.

Childrens book Ruby's Chinese New Year

Ruby’s Chinese New Year By Vickie Lee, illustrated by Joey Chou.  Grandma can’t come to Ruby’s house this year to celebrate Chinese New Year.  So Ruby makes a special present and is going to her Grandma’s house to deliver it. This cute story cleverly uses all the animals of the Chinese zodiac as characters which help Ruby on her journey to Grandma’s house.

Childrens book The Night Before Lunar New Year

The Night Before Lunar New Year by Natasha Wing and Lingfeng Ho, illustrated by Amy Wummer.  This is one of Natasha Wing’s Night Before books.  In this story, we learn all the things a little girl’s family must do to get ready for Lunar New Year.  She’s excited, but also a little frightened of the loud noises she will encounter.  Don’t worry, she makes a plan (earmuffs), and they all have fun celebrating.  This fun rhyming book is full of information about Chinese New Year.

More January Read Alouds

We love Jan Brett books anytime of the year, but the The Mitten and The Hat are great read alouds for January.  After reading the mitten, we had our students practice retelling the story with big paper mittens and animal characters they’d made.  The Hat is a wonderful silly tale in Jan Brett’s distinctive style with lavish illustrations and whimsical characters.  

Jan Brett's book The Hat
Childrens book Extra Yarn

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen.  This magical story is about a little girl who finds a box of colorful yarn and begins knitting sweaters for everyone and everything.

We love The Three Little Pigs, in fact, in January we would teach a whole unit on comparing different versions of The Three Little Pigs.  It is a great way to teach story elements.  You know the story; here are some of our favorites.

Childrens book The Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs by Patricia Seibert, illustrated by Horacio Elena. This book is perfect if you want a traditional version of the story.

Steven Kellogg's version of The Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs by Steven Kellogg.  This story has some pizzazz.  Not only do the pigs outsmart the fox, they also have their own business (they make waffles).  The ending in this version is pretty clever.  

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig picture book

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.  This is my favorite Three Little Pigs book.  Although there aren’t three little pigs in this version, there are three little wolves and only one pig, a BIG BAD PIG.  The wolves and the pig are adorable.  The ending is a happy one, with everyone becoming friends.

Childrens book The Three Little Javelinas

The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell, illustrated by Jim Harris.  This is a fun southwestern version.  “Javelinas are wild, hairy, southwestern cousins of pigs.” Watch out for the coyote, little javelinas!

Woman holding the book Snowballs

List of The Best January Read Alouds for Kindergarten

– LeighAnn

More Winter Blogs from 4 Kinder Teachers

Despite the chilly weather, winter can be a fun time for kids.  If you’re looking for some great activities to do with your kindergartners in the winter, read our blog, Winter Activities for Kids.  And don’t miss our Gingerbread Man Activities blog.  Boy can those cookies run!

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