First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear announces 2011 Winter Reading List

Press Release Date:  Thursday, December 22, 2011  
Contact Information:  Parry Barrows

FRANKFORT, Ky.– In an effort to increase youth readership during the winter months, First Lady Jane Beshear today announced her Top 10 Winter Reading List as a part of the First Lady’s Reading Recommendations Initiative. 

“As the temperature outside drops and we look for more indoor activities to occupy our time, I can’t think of a better solution than to curl up with a good book,” Mrs. Beshear said. “While winter months can be dreary, reading is one of the best ways to stir children’s imagination and keep them intellectually engaged while physically cooped up. My selections for this season feature several adventurous tales as well as classic books that convey positive messages for readers of any age.” 

Mrs. Beshear introduced the Reading Recommendations program in the summer of 2009 and issues reading lists four times per year.

2011 Winter Reading List

1.The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (All Ages)
“While this story is told with simple words and illustrated with line drawings, the message speaks volumes. It follows the sincere connection between a tree and a boy as he grows up and in the end, allows the reader to interpret his or her own view on the gift of giving.”

2.Snowballs by Lois Ehert  (Ages 3–6)
“’Tis the season for wintry weather, and this book is certain to spur young people’s excitement about adventures in the snow. Ehlert uses her classic method of photographing real-life objects to make colorful and exciting pictures to engage children’s minds. This particular tale depicts building a family of snow characters after the season’s first big snowstorm.”

3.High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary (Ages 15 & up)
“In 1953, New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first known climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.  This personal account of the momentous feat describes a tale nothing short of great struggle and triumph. It is undoubtedly considered one of the best works in this genre.” 

4.The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (Ages 4 & up)
“There comes a time when every child begins to question his or her belief in Santa.  This book is the storyteller’s reflection as a boy on Christmas Eve, traveling on a magic steam train to meet Santa at the North Pole. Mr. Claus gives the boy a silver bell from his sleigh, and only true believers can hear it ring.” 

5.Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Ages 9 & Up)
“This Newberry award-winning novel will help young readers develop a personal connection with history. Through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie, we learn her unique and brave experiences as she helps shelter a Jewish friend from the Nazis during the German occupation of Denmark. The story sheds needed light on human decency and compassion amid times of war.”

6.The Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood (Ages 3-6 )
“Filled with misty blue artwork, this soothing, rhythmic tale has been a favorite bedtime read for many years. It chronicles a home full of sleepers, from a dreaming child to a snoring grandma, who all awake in the end, due to the commotion caused by a tiny flea.”   

7.Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Ages 16 & up)
“Set during the turn of the 19th century, the novel’s themes of social standing and wealth, morality and character and the influence of a person’s upbringing still resonate with today’s young readers. At the heart of this literary classic is the relationship between the lively, judgmental Elizabeth Bennet and the arrogant, but surprisingly noble, Mr. Darcy.” 

8.The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (Ages 4-8)
“This clever, interactive book follows a cheerful postman as he delivers letters to and from familiar children’s characters. Readers can physically remove and read each letter from this book, such as an apology note from Goldilocks to the Three Bears.”

9.The Invention of Hugo Cabret  by Brian Selznick (Ages 9 & up)
“Known now as a popular film, this imaginative mystery follows an orphan thief and clock keeper named Hugo who lives in a Paris train station. Hugo’s undercover life is put at risk when he abruptly meets a cynical old man and an eccentric young girl at the station. The secrets that continue to unfold in this adventure are worth discovering through a read before viewing on the big screen.” 

10.The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (Ages 4 & up)
“This classic tale should be shared with every child. It teaches and reminds us that love, friendship and ‘being real’ are beyond skin-deep, and that what is inside truly matters most. The story imparts an uplifting message that coincides seamlessly with the spirit of this season.”