The snow tells a story. It’s something that we don’t often think about, but it’s true. Furthermore, there are different types of snow – something that our English language simply doesn’t do a good job describing. And that’s where our children’s Alaska book comes in. The Secret Language of Snow is a beautiful, informative story that talks about the different types of snow, their names, and what we can learn about each.
The Different Types of Snow
Think about snow. Do you imagine falling snow? Do you imagine snowman building snow? Or do you imagine the light and dry stuff? How about a snow drift? Or the snow on the trees? In our English language we simply call all of it “snow.” But the Inuit people of Alaska did more than just call it “snow” in their language. For each different type of snow, they also had a different word.
Overview of The Secret Language of Snow
Written in 1984 by Terry Tempest Williams and Ted Major, The Secret Language of Snow, quickly became one of my favorite books. It is a chapter book, so it is more suitable to slightly older children. With twelve chapters, the book’s first two chapters discuss the importance of snow and gives a little information on the Inuit people who live in Northern Alaska. The following ten chapters talks about ten different types of snow, their names in the Inuit language, and how the Inuit people and Alaska animals interact with that type of snow. While it is a very informative book, it is also written as a story so it keeps both adults and children engaged. To be completely honest, I was totally impressed with how much information is literally packed into this book…and yet both my son and I were absolutely fascinated by the story.
On almost every page is a simple black and white sketch. The sketches are very realistic and pretty, enough to help keep your children’s attention as you read to them. But, as would be expected with a chapter book, the book does not include full color pictures like a story book.
In Conclusion: A beautiful book to teach your children about snow AND Alaska Native culture
My 7 year old was totally able to follow along with the story and concepts and truly enjoyed it. Our 4 and 3 year olds flitted back and forth listening a little, but it was definitely a little bit above their age level. And me? Well, I loved The Secret Language of Snow. To be completely honest, I read it once to my kids and then read it once to just me. It is packed with information and I love learning about Alaska Native culture and life up north. I was fascinated by the book’s stories and concepts that were included. If you have very young children, this might not be the best book for you. But for elementary aged children, this is a wonderful book that I truly believe that they will enjoy.
Whether you find the book or not, be sure to check out this free printable to go along with The Secret Language of Snow. The worksheet is more closely connected with the book than many of my other worksheets because I wanted children to be able to learn about the Inuit names for a few of the different types of snow even if you could not find the book! Included in the worksheet is a pronunciation guide and activity to go along with some of what they learn from the worksheet. I’m excited to hear what you think about it! In the meantime, be sure to check out our other children’s Alaska book reviews, and we look forward to sharing another book with you next month!