Winter Classics: Novels for Teens

During the long, cold winter nights of this time of year, encourage your teen to escape into the world of winter-themed literature. Whether it means discovering a time-tested classic or enjoying a modern novel, your teen may relate to the characters enduring the snow and frigid temperatures. Described here are ten classic and contemporary novels set in winter.

Find available tutors

winter novels

1. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

If you're seeking a novel that is inescapably winter-themed, then look no further than one set in a Soviet prison camp where the temperature drops more than 40 degrees below zero. This brief novel describes the brutal conditions that prisoners faced in the Stalin era. More than a fictionalization of a dark period in human history, this novel is a compelling tale of the irrepressible human spirit.

winter stories

2. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Part of the Little House on the Prairie series, The Long Winter is a fictionalized version of the events of the winter of 1880-81 in the Dakota Territory. The Ingalls family faces a blizzard, isolation, a food shortage and other perils, yet they still find a way to celebrate Christmas.

winter books

3. Snow Bound by Harry Mazer

In order to get back at his parents, teenager Tony Laporte runs away in his mother's Plymouth. He picks up a hitchhiking girl named Cindy Reichert along the way. When a massive snowstorm hits, they crash far from the highway and must find a way to work together to survive.

vacation reading

4. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Wharton's 1911 classic follows Ethan Frome, his wife Zeena and her young cousin Mattie. Ethan and Zeena are in a loveless marriage, which is made worse when Ethan falls in love with Mattie. Set against a harsh New England winter, the weather in Ethan Frome is almost a character itself, representing the bleak nature of Ethan's situation.

winter tales

5. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Buck is a domesticated dog living an ordinary life until he's sent off to the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush to serve as a sled dog. Once there, his wilder instincts return and he grows more ferocious. Buck's transformation enables him to survive in the harsh wilderness.

christmas vacation activities

6. Trapped by Michael Northrop

When a brutal blizzard hits teenager Scotty Weem's New England town, he and several classmates get trapped in their school. As time passes, the situation becomes increasingly dire; the students must face worsening cold and a lack of food and water. This gripping page-turner will make readers question how they'd respond, and if they could survive.

christmas stories

7. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

While it's been adapted for TV shows, cartoons, movies and more, A Christmas Carol began as a novella in 1843. It tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by a series of ghosts on the night before Christmas. Though the story will be familiar to most readers, the details and narrative style that Dickens offers make it a compelling read.

winter activities

8. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

This 1994 novel, which has found its way into many high school English classes, centers around the murder of a well-known Washington fisherman during the 1950s. The man accused of the murder is Japanese American, which complicates the case because anti-Japanese sentiment was strong in the years following World War II. While the trial builds steam, a large snowstorm engulfs the community.

young adult novels

9. Brian's Winter by Gary Paulsen

Brian's Winter is part of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet series, which follows teenager Brian Robeson. In this book, Brian is stranded in the Canadian wilderness following a plane accident. In order to survive, he must build a shelter, avoid a bear and find his way to help.

classic literature

10. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Pasternak's epic novel describes the Russian Revolution through the eyes of the title character, who is both a physician and a poet. Though it's dense with characters and historical events, the tale of Zhivago and Lara, the woman he loves, is at its core.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Integrating Literature Into Middle School Reading

    Studies have shown that access to literature is an important element in a well-rounded education. In reading classrooms, teachers are looking for supplemental materials to integrate into the curriculum. This article provides suggestions for implementing a variety of literature into reading programs.

  • More Blog Articles
    How Facebook Could Help Teens in Trouble

    If your child was depressed and having suicidal thoughts, where would he or she turn? And where might your child's best chance for help be found? The answer may be Facebook.

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth