By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd 

Crackling fires, fuzzy blankets, hot tea and great books… these are some of my favorite things on cold, winter days and things that are hygge. I was recently introduced to the concept of hygge which, according to Wikipedia, is a “Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.” I encourage you to give hygge a try. Select a few books from the selections this month, pour a cup of your favorite tea, cozy up to a warm fire with your children and welcome a little hygge in your life today.

Preschool to Pre-K — Stir Crack Whisk Bake: A Little Book about Little Cakes by America’s Test Kitchen Kids and Maddie Frost

This unique and creative board book is sure to be a favorite with your children. Written by the creators of the cooking show, America’s Test Kitchen, and the New York Times bestselling kids cookbook, The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs, this book welcomes readers into a virtual kitchen for a fun culinary experience. Young ones will love the interactive storytelling experience while they use their imaginations to bake up some delightful treats.

Early Elementary — Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

From the well-known creator of Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, and Kitten’s First Full Moon, Chrysanthemum is a a classic, heart-felt story about self-esteem, teasing and embracing who you are. Author-illustrator, Kevin Henkes, beautifully captures the range of emotions that Chrysanthemum feels about her name — from loving it in every way to feeling sad about it as she is mercilessly teased about it. This wonderful picture book will help children love who they are and what makes them special.

Older Elementary — Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Flint is called Squint by classmates because he is losing his vision. The middle schooler used to play football, but gave it up when he could no longer see. He also loves to draw and is working hard to finish a comic book to submit in the Find a Comic Star contest before keratoconus, an eye disease that could make him blind, becomes too pronounced. McKell is a new student with a love of songwriting and poetry. She also has a terminally ill brother. McKell feels compelled to befriend Flint, but is worried that it will come at a cost of being nixed by the popular kids. This story explores trust, realizing what really matters and the beauty of discovering true friendship.

Young Adult — Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Willodean Dixon is hilarious and fearless. This self-described fat girl is being raised by a former beauty queen mom. Will is not bothered by the idea of wearing a bikini as she has always felt comfortable in her own skin. She becomes attracted to Bo, a former jock she meets while working at a local fast food restaurant. To her surprise, he likes her back, but Will feels her self-confidence wane. To reclaim her strong self, Will signs up to compete in the Miss Clover City beauty pageant. After all, she deserves the crown as much as anyone else, and the residents of Clover City need to know that as well.

Moms — The Library Book by Susan Orlean

The devastating fire in the Los Angeles Public Library on April 29,1986 destroyed more than four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Decades later, the mystery around how the fire happened still haunts everyone. Susan Orlean, an award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author who has a lifelong love of reading and books, expertly crafted this amazing book that delves deep into the mystery. She brings the library to life and expresses why these buildings are much more than the books they hold. This is a wonderful, captivating selection for all book lovers and perfect for book clubs.

Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit and to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.

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