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Recess at 20 Below

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  124 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
The temperature outside is 20 below zero. Is school cancelled? Nope. How about recess outside? No way! Learn from the kid's point of view about what it is like playing during recess when it is really cold, how it sounds outside, how it tastes outside, how it looks, and even how it smells when the thermometer says it's 20 below. What happens when you put on layer after laye ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Alaska Northwest Books
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Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Though it was a long time ago (okay - a long, long, long time ago), I still remember despising indoor recess. My young mind and body needed that escape from the classroom, those precious moments of fresh air and freedom.

In Alaska kids go outside for recess, even when it's 20 degrees below zero. It takes them a long time to bundle up, and it helps to remember what color coats and jackets your friends are wearing, 'cause when you get outside, all you can see are their eyes.


And, imagine - building
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Melki

Do non-Alaskans ever give much thought to what it’s like for Alaskan children during winter recess? In just a few pages, this book offers a surprisingly interesting peek--for children and adults alike. Featuring photos of Alaskan children on their snowy playground, it brings their unique experience to cheery life. Recess in winter is clearly much more fun in Alaska than in any other state.

I like how this book puts into perspective how vastly different Alaska is from the rest of
Sally Deem
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After reading this book, I had to read it to my first graders. They loved it! The books describes what recess is like for children in Alaska and how they have recess outdoors even if it is 20 below zero. The photographs and story describe a school day for children in Alaska, beginning with their morning walk to the bus stop, the process of bundling up for recess every day and the activities they do at recess. It also describes the challenges of living with a variety of wildlife in the Alaska, st ...more
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bean-books
Apparently, we are all softies in Ohio. Our thermometers plunge below zero, we cancel school. In Alaska, kids not only have school, but they still have recess (unless the temperature drops below -20. Gotta draw the line somewhere). My daughter, who received this book from grandparents who recently visited Alaska, was especially interested in the pictures of children whose hair, eyebrows and eyelashes had turned gray from moisture freezing on their faces. "They are still smiling!" she observed (I ...more
Joyce McCombs
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who dreams of living in Alaska, grandparents, parents, KIDS!
Cindy Aillaud is multi talented: award winning physical education teacher in Delta Junction, Alaska... incredible photographer... and now a brilliant author. She combines the best of her photos of kids at play in winter, with perfect descriptions of everything from getting dressed for winter to tasting snowflakes as they fall. You'll be transported to a simpler (and cooler) time as soon as you begin reading. The photos of real kids playing outside is an inspiration to couch potatoes everywhere.. ...more
The temperature outside is 20 below zero. Is school cancelled? Nope. How about recess outside? No way! Learn from the kid's point of view about what it is like playing during recess when it is really cold, how it sounds outside, how it tastes outside, how it looks, and even how it smells when the thermometer says it's 20 below. What happens when you put on layer after layer of clothing to avoid frostbite and then hit the playground? Did you see the tiny ice crystals in the air and hear your boot ...more
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book, loved it the first time I read it. It reminds me of how our recesses as children at Casstown Elementary were outside, rough and tumble, jumping out of the swings, making snow angels, climbing the death defying Jungle Gym and hanging off the merry-go-round of death that built character, gave scabs and scars and made your stomach twirl. Kids need to be outside, in fresh air and sunshine, if only for 10 - 20 minutes in duration. We all need to blow the stink off of us and watch th ...more
(NS) Panagiota Angelos
You may think it’s cold in the winter in Chicago, but you haven’t been to Delta Junction, Alaska. Recess at 20 Below is a nonfiction picture book written from a student’s perspective of what recess is like at their school. The book begins by discussing the preparations for going out into the cold. Then it describes different activities students participate in outside such as sledding, making snow forts, snowball fights, and playing soccer and football. But if the temperature drops below negative ...more
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Librarians & Teachers & kids
Shelves: z_11, non-fiction
You know how you're complaining it's cold? Stop. In Alaska they go out when it's 20 below zero.

Pretty great. Informative, but more useful as a NF story than a research book. Kids liked it and so did I. It's simply something I had never considered before.

The photographs are a huge selling point. Seeing the slide in line with the snow was great. Frozen eyelashes and hair are things kids understand and get after they see them. I just wish they had included some 4th & 5th graders in the photogra
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
My students loved this book! Excellent for comparing and contrasting!
What a cool topic for a kids book! How many people stop and think what recess might be like somewhere other than where they are? This book shows, from a student's perspective, how they have recess in Alaska with temperatures that drop down to 20 below zero and snow that is so dry that children can't make snowballs. This book would be great to use with 1st through 3rd grade children. Perhaps used in a writer's workshop introduction to expository writing, or in reading to work with compare and con ...more
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very enlightening book about winters, schools, and recess in Alaska, where the season lasts far longer than we can imagine. Recess at 20 Below follows one class as they 'suit-up' for recess in an Alaskan winter. The winters are so dry snowballs are hard to form, but they find ways to have fun with the conditions anyway.
Katrina Cole
This book was very will written, with many fun facts and engaging pictures for students. We all learned something new about how children do things the same and different around the world. I loved the picture of the swings sitting on top of the snow because it had piled up so high. Sleds at's like a snow day everyday.
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Told from a kid’s point of view, this book explains what it sounds like, looks like, feels like, and even smells like to have recess at 20 below. Getting ready for recess takes on a whole new meaning. Clear photos and soft pastels imprinted with snowflakes accompany the straightforward text making this a student favorite, even here in Alaska.
Mary Dye
This was a really good informational piece about how to stay warm in the winter. I think that this could be a good book to break out when the temperature starts to drop so that the students are aware of how important it is to bundle up.
Sunday Cummins
Easy to read aloud and then ask the question, "How does the experience of these children contrast with ours?" This gets at the CCSS of contrasting concepts/ideas across texts - this text and the text of our lives.
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't wait to share this with my students who think temperatures in the 30s and 40s are "so cold". There are many details that will amaze them in this picture book about a very topic dear to their hearts.
Kaitlyn Lawrence
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: k-4, seasons, picture-book
This would be a good book to read when the weather starts getting cold. Students will be able to relate to the cold weather but this will give them facts about the cold weather in Alaska and how they deal with it. Students will be able to compare their state's to Alaska's weather.
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this book this week to my students. A very different way to look at recess. This was good for my students to see in other places they have to do things differently. My students really loved the pictures of the actual kids and how they play in that cold of weather.
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I frequently buy or recommend this book for others, as a look into what it is like to live and play in a cold climate. It takes a wonderful kid's eye view of getting ready for recess when it is really cold.
Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous book, It is filled with beautiful photographs and ahealthy outlook on life for children, wherever they happen to have recess!!
Stephanie Lerner
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mentor Text- Descriptive Language (Similes, ) Sense of Voice/5 Senses (crunch, crunch, crunch), personal narrative

Anchor Text- Comparing Communities
Michelle Kelley
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting account of school and recess at 20 degrees below zero told from the perspective of a child in Alaska.
Amianne Bailey
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds
Read Aloud--2nd & 3rd; I read this right before we had the snow days. The kids came back and made connections with the book. Excellent nonfiction read aloud!
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Story about the elementary school I taught at in Alaska. Author is my friend and colleague. :)
Oct 24, 2010 added it
I got this book to do a diversity lesson with my students
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Racine BOB 2013.
A cute NF book about recess where it is very cold. Makes our winters seem mild in comparison.
Grade: K-3
In Class Use:
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Real good book about Alaskan recess
Megan Mkrtschjan
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book makes me feel like "cold days" aren't so cold here in Chicago.
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