We’ve been cozied up by the fire with our books all winter long, but now that Spring is here, we’re ready for a reprieve from the cold weather! That doesn’t mean we want to put down our books though. We’re just ready to read under a tree instead of under a blanket. With that in mind, I’ve compiled this list of the eight best books to read as winter fades into spring!
1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
When orphan Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors. The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead or can Mary bring it back to life?
Serving as a reminder that after the harshness of winter comes a new life with spring, this book is ideal for someone stuck in a cold rut. It’s a book that is just as wonderful for adults as children, offering an uplifting journey from darkness into light.
2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery
Written for all ages, it has been considered a classic children’s novel since the mid-20th century. Set in the late 19th century, the novel recounts the adventures of 11 year old orphan girl Anne Shirley sent by mistake to two middle-aged siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who had originally intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in the fictional town of Avonlea in Prince Edward Island, Canada. The novel tells how Anne makes her way through life with the Cuthberts, in school, and within the town.
If you’ve seen or heard of the Netflix TV show “Anne with an E” you’ll recognize the story. Both the show and the book are perfect past-times that will warm your heart with a beautiful coming of age story.
3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
We all know the story… A young girl named Alice sits bored by a riverbank, when she suddenly spots a white rabbit with a pocket watch and waistcoat lamenting that he is late. The surprised Alice follows him down a rabbit hole, which sends her down a lengthy plummet but to a safe landing. Inside a room with a table, she finds a key to a tiny door, beyond which is a beautiful garden. As she ponders how to fit through the door, she discovers a bottle reading “Drink me.”
If a novel full of magic, mystery, and adventure can’t cure your winter slump, nothing can. Following along with Alice through Wonderland and taking in all the beauty around her always makes me hopeful for the first inklings of spring.
4. The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
This coming of age book centers around the power of drag. W follow along as a boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen. Then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist– The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers, to show ourselves to the world in bold colour. It’s not about being ready, it’s not even about being fierce or fearless, it’s about being free.
For some people, drag represents a new birth into a life you thought you could never have, similar to the feeling of the first flower blooming.
5. Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Oseman’s graphic novel is currently split into five volumes, following along the lives of two teen boys. Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie, but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. However, love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…
Originally a webcomic on Tumblr and Tapas, Heartstopper amassed an enormous online fanbase with over 52.1 million views to date. The series has been adapted for a Netflix show, of which the second season is coming soon.
6. Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa
Sentaro feels like he’s failed, with a criminal record, a drinking problem, and his dream of becoming a writer just a distant memory. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days in a tiny confectionery shop selling dorayaki– a type of pancake filled with sweet bean paste. Suddenly, into his life comes Tokue, an elderly woman with disfigured hands and a troubled past. What’s unique about her is that she makes the best sweet bean paste Sentaro has ever tasted.
This Japanese novel is a sweet and heartwarming story about the unlikely friendship between a 73-year-old sweetmaker and her new assistant. It is exemplary of forgetting the mistakes of the past to move into the sweet and warm future.
7. The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton
Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady, but she’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.
Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own, but both men have made one grave mistake– Never underestimate a woman.
This fun and witty story of forbidden love will remind you of the wonders that come with spring and the turning of the seasons.
8. Things to Look Forward To: 52 Large and Small Joys for Today and Every Day by Sophie Blackall
In these pages, beloved author and illustrator Sophie Blackall gathered a collection of joys for all of us—reminders of everyday magic, like the sun coming up and new babies being born. With wisdom, whimsy, and compassion, the 52 illustrated ideas in this book offer moments of uplift and serendipity for yourself and your loved ones. Suggestions range from baking muffins for a friend to drawing a face on an egg and putting it in the fridge where it will smile at you each time you open the door.
Blackall’s novel is full of gentle reminders of the objects, occasions, gestures, and ideas that warm our hearts. There is always something bright on the horizon, and sometimes that horizon can be a lot closer than we think. Perfect for someone who just needs a little joy in their life.
For some inspiration for springtime reading locations, read on here!