valentines day books for kids

The best picture books for kids to share on Valentine’s Day

Are Valentine’s Day books for kids a thing these days?

Well, yes and no.

As a mum and now as a teacher, I use Saint Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to discuss two things:

  • the origins of Valentine’s Day and the celebrations and customs which go along with it;
  • the concept of love in all its many forms;

For many years now I’ve been using picture books as a springboard for discussing these things so I thought it was time I shared my list of the best picture books for kids about love, our hearts and St Valentine’s day.

Some of the books on this page explicitly mention St Valentine’s Day and some don’t. All are books that I think are good for prompting children to think about what it means to love and to be loved and about how we express love for our friends, family members, pets and for the world.

I like to keep the concept of The 5 Love Languages in mind here – the idea that we express our love in five different ways: by physical touch like hugs; by giving gifts; by spending warm, focused, one-on-one time with the people we love; by doing loving, helpful things for people; and by speaking loving words which affirm our respect for and delight in the people we love. The books on this page reflect those ways of expressing our love and it’s helpful to have this discussion with children. Of course, some children notice and can describe the different ways we show we love people without any prompting from us. Either way, it’s a lovely, life-affirming chat to have with them.

If you’d like to discuss Valentine’s Day with your child, you may like to begin by talking about how St Valentine’s Day is a day when many people like to think about and celebrate the love they have for the people in their lives. These people can be husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends but people also celebrate the love they have for their friends, family members, pets and even for the world. I also like to talk about the fact that hearts are a symbol of love because we often feel a kind of swelling, expanding feeling in our chests when we feel loving towards somebody

Oh, and if you’re interested in picture books about the origins of Valentine’s Day, I’ve written a post about that too. Hop over to this page if you’re interested in picture books about the history of Valentine’s Day.

I hope you enjoy these lovely St Valentine’s Day children’s books.

guess how much i love you
Guess How Much I Love You is one of my favourite books to read to babies and young children. It’s also one of the very special books we include in two of our gift baskets. You’ll find it in our Bedtime Gift Basket and in our Baby’s First Library Gift Basket. Guess How Much I Love You is a sweet and tender story which follows Big Nutbrown Hare as he helps his son get ready for bed and their discussion about how much they love each other. As well as being the perfect bedtime story for little ones, this book is a beautiful way to prompt discussions about love, especially the love between a parent and a child.

Suggested for ages: 0-4 years

sometimes im bombaloo
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo is a book I often share with children in the classroom. It’s about a little girl called Katie who’s usually pretty happy and can do lots of cool things. But, like all of us, Katie gets angry and sometimes she even explodes and has to have a bit of time to herself to calm down. When she explodes, Katie says she becomes someone quite different from her usual self and she calls the person she becomes “Bombaloo”. It’s scary being Bombaloo but her mum understands that and gives her hugs.

This is a great book for discussing how Katie’s mum shows that she loves her: she doesn’t get mad when Katie explodes because she knows that’s a normal part of growing up and that Katie is still a good person; she understands that getting so mad is scary for a child and she lets Katie have the time and space to feel her feelings and to calm down; and, when Katie is calm, her mum provides hugs and reassurance and then helps Katie put things right.

Suggested for ages: 3-8 years

i am love
I Am Love is a book of sparse but beautiful text and really gorgeous illustrations. It’s written in the first person so it’s a bit like a series of affirmations about the ways our children can love themselves, other people and the world.

The forward is just beautiful and gives you an idea of the flavour of the book:

This book is my love letter to the world, as each one of us is worthy of love in all its forms and expressions, and we are ALL capable of adding light to the world when we listen to our hearts and choose love.

The book discusses how we express love for ourselves and for others by listening, comforting, offering hugs, choosing our words and actions carefully and taking care of ourselves.

Suggested for ages: 3-10 years

love, valentines day books for kids
Love is a picture book about what love looks like in action. It opens with a baby’s-eye view of two parents looking into the baby’s bassinet and the words:

In the beginning there is light and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed and the sound of their voices is love.

The book moves on to describe the sights and smells and sounds of a big city (it looks like New York) from a child’s point of view, with each double-page spread featuring a different child. The descriptions of these scenes are lyrical and beautiful and the author does an almost magical job of describing the small, often mundane interactions that happen in a child’s life and showing the love that’s inherent in them. This is a great book for opening up a discussion about how we know we are loved and how we receive the messages of love through our five senses when we are noticing and paying attention.

Suggested for ages: 5-12 years (and adults!) 

in my heart, valentines day books for kids
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings is a book I use with almost every class I teach to start our discussion about our feelings. It’s a gorgeous book to handle because the pages are made of beautiful, thick card to accomodate the heart-shaped cut-out in its middle. The book starts out with the words:

My heart is full of feelings. Big feelings and small feelings. loud feelings and quiet feelings.

Then, on each page, the little girl who narrates the book describes how her heart and body feels when she is feeling brave, mad, sad, afraid, etc. The illustrations in this book are delightful and each emotion is beautifully described in detail. Every time I read this book aloud, I have the most amazing and enlightening conversations with the children. It really is the perfect book for starting to talk about emotions and for building children’s emotional literacy. It’s also great for talking about why we feel our emotions in our hearts and why we use hearts as a symbol of love.

Suggested for ages: 4-8 years 

the i love you book
Like all Todd Parr’s books, The I Love You Book is bright and colourful with simple, repetitive text, gorgeous illustrations and a positive, reassuring message. Each page begins with the words “I love you when … ” and the message is very clearly one of unconditional love. Each double-page spread contains two opposite situations and the reassurance (which children so badly need to hear) that their parents love them no matter what. Examples are: I love you when you sleep, I love you when you don’t sleep; I love you when you are scared, I love you when you are brave. The book ends with the words: Most of all, I love you just the way you are.

Suggested for ages: 0-6 years

the velveteen rabbit, valentines day books for kids
The Velveteen Rabbit was first published in 1922 and has become a classic of children’s literature. It’s a longer picture book with a more complex text and storyline and a message which centres on the power of love. The book is about a much-loved toy rabbit who yearns to become a real rabbit as he’s been told can happen when a toy is loved by a child. When the boy who owns the rabbit becomes ill with scarlet fever, the rabbit stays with him throughout his illness and convalescence until the day the doctor orders all the boy’s toys to be burnt (this was the 1920s, remember). The rabbit is thrown on the rubbish heap but, before he can be burnt, he is transformed by the nursery fairy into a real rabbit.

This is an old-fashioned story but the descriptions and conversations still feel very real and relevant and very relatable for children. It’s a great book for talking about the transforming power of love and about how the loudest, most glamorous things are not necessarily the ones which are the most valued or loved.

Suggested for ages: 5-7 years 

love the world
Love the World is a very simple rhyming text about loving yourself (your nose, your toes; your eyes, your size; your walk, your talk) and the world (the bees, the trees; the land, the sea). It’s a great book to use as a springboard for talking about why it’s important to love yourself, how special we all are, why we should love the animals and the world in general and so on. Why do these things matter?

Suggested for ages: 1-5 years

my heart, valentines day books for kids
my heart is a rhyming book about a little girl’s heart and all the different ways it can feel. It begins:

My heart is a window, my heart is a slide.
My heart can be closed or opened up wide.

The book has the most exquisite monochrome illustrations with touches of yellow and they’re perectly complemented by the sparse but lyrical text. I especially love the metaphor of the heart as a light and a guide and the final lines:

Closed or open … I get to decide.

Suggested for ages: 3-10 (and adults!) 

cuddle time, valentines day books for kids

Cuddle Time

Cuddle Time is a very simple story about two siblings waking up in the morning, playing together and then climbing into bed with mum and dad for snuggles and cuddles. The siblings could be boys or girls or one of each which is one of the beauties of this lovely book – all children can see themselves in it. I use this bok to talk about one of the many ways we can show love to each other – by hugging and cuddling. When I ask children: how do you know your mum loves you? they often reply: because she cuddles me.

Suggested for ages: 1-5 years

our favourite day
Our Favourite Day is a book about a grandfather who lives alone and follows the same routine every day. He drinks his tea, waters his plants, tidies up and goes into town on the bus. But Thursdays are different because Thursday is the day his grand-daughter visits him each week. It’s their favourite day of the week as they have dumplings for lunch and make things together. This is a gentle story with wonderfully warm water-colour and cut-paper illustrations which look almost 3-D and which beautifully capture the love between the grandfather and his granddaughter almost on their own.

Suggested for ages: 3-7 years

words and your heart, valentines day books for kids
Words and Your Heart is a simple text about the power of words to heal, to create, to destroy and to spread love. The illustrations are simple line drawings in black and white with touches of red and the message is positive and empowering for children. I really love the simplicity of this book, with its single, clear message and uncluttered illustrations. It’s an important message and I love that the book includes some examples of affirming things children – and all of us – can say to each other.

Suggested for ages: 3-8 years

we belong together, valentines day books for kids
We Belong Together is a simple text which was written for children who’ve been adopted or who are living with foster families. Having said that, it’s a lovely book about becoming a family and the love that children and parents share so it’s a beautiful book to share with any child. It starts:

We belong together because you needed a home and I had one to share. Now we are a family.

This is a great book to prompt conversations about love within families, how people show their love and know they are loved in return and about the fact that families are made in all sorts of different ways.

Suggested for ages: 2-5 years 

koala lou, valentines day books for kids
Koala Lou is an Australian children’s classic, first published in 1988. At its heart, Koala Lou is a story about sibling rivalry and not winning an important competition and it’s also a story about love. Koala Lou is her mum’s oldest child and loved by everyone around her. A hundred times a day her mum laughs and says “Koala Lou, I DO love you!” Until brothers and sisters start to be born and mum becomes too busy to tell Koala Lou she loves her quite so often. So Koala Lou wonders – as all older siblings do – whether mum still loves her. So she enters the Bush Olympics, hoping to win so her mother will throw her arms around her and once again say  “Koala Lou, I DO love you!” Despite her best efforts, Koala Lou comes second and is devastated. But, of course, her mum still loves her and she says those all-important words.

Suggested for ages: 3-8 years

somebody loves you mr hatch, valentines day books for kids
Somebody Loves You, Mr Hatch is a heart-warming story about a man who follows the same routine every day, rarely talks to anyone and just generally “keeps to himself”. When he receives a big, heart-shaped box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day with the message “Somebody loves you”, he is at first confused and then delighted and everything changes from there. He starts to connect with the people around him, waving and chatting, sharing the chocolates with his workmates and helping people out where he can, wondering all the time whether one of the people he sees and talks to might have sent the chocolates. When the postman reveals that he delivered the chocolates to Mr Hatch by mistake, Mr Hatch is disappointed and reverts to his old ways which worries all the friends he’s made who now, of course, love him. To cheer him up they all visit with cards for Valentine’s Day and a big sign that says they love him.

This is a lovely book to use as a springboard for discussing how it feels to be loved and how feeling loved can change the way we interact with people. It’s a really gorgeous story.

Suggested for ages: 3-10 years

pearl barley and charlie parsley
Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley is a delightful story about the love between two friends who are very different from one another. Pearl Barley is loud and brave and adventurous while Charlie Parsley is shy and quiet and likes to feel safe but the two friends take very good care of one another and love to spend time together.

This is a lovely story to use as a prompt for discussing the love we have for our friends and how we express that love. It’s also a good introduction for discussions about friendship and how we can be friends with people and love them even when they’re very different from us.

Suggested for ages: 3-7 years

the invisible string
The Invisible String has been around for a while now and has become something of a classic in the genre of picture books about love. It’s the story of twins Jeremy and Liza who are frightened during a thunder storm. They want to be with their mum so mum explains to them that people who love each other are always connected by a special string made of love which you feel with your heart. The invisible string connects best friends, children and their pets and, of course, parents and their children.

This is a great book for prompting discussions about how children can tune in to the feeling of being loved wherever they are and whoever they are with. They can access the reassurance and comfort of their parents love at school and when they’re alone at night. The book is also a lovely way to introduce the idea that all human beings are connected and that we are all here to help each other and love one another.

Suggested for ages: 3-7 years

when the moon is a smile
When the Moon is a Smile is a book about a little girl and her father and the love they have for one another. The little girl’s parents don’t live together so she spends regular time with her dad and the book shows the fun they have together on one such visit. They do lots of things together and the little girl is sad when her father has to leave. When she wants to know when he’ll be back again, her father tells her about the different faces of the moon and shows her the way it looks like a smile. He tells her it will change and when it looks like a smile again he’ll be back to see her. So every night the little girl watches the moon and thinks about the next time she’ll see her dad.

This is obviously a great book to share with children whose parents don’t live together. You can also discuss the ways this father shows his love for his daughter by doing things with her, spending time with her, etc.

Suggested for ages: 3-8 years

a crazy much love

A Crazy-Much Love is a story about the love adoptive parents have for their children. It was inspired by the experiences of nine families who adopted their daughters from China 15 years ago and subsequently became friends. The book tells the story of how these parents waited for their child, travelled to meet them, brought them home and watched them grow. It’s also a simple story of how a parent loves their child and how this love is deep and lasts forever.

This is a lovely story to use as a springboard to discussing the love parents have for their children. It’s especially – but not only – good to share with a child who has been adopted or who is living with a foster family. For other children, it’s a great prompt for discussing the different ways people become families and the love parents have for their children no matter how they’ve come together.

Suggested for ages: 3-8 years

the day it rained hearts
To be perfectly honest, The Day It Rained Hearts is not my favourite book, though the illustrations are charming and children do enjoy it which is why I’ve included it here.

It’s the story of Cornelia Augusta who, on the day it rains hearts, catches the hearts and uses them to make cards for her friends for Valentine’s Day. The hearts are all different and she takes time to find just the right heart for each friend. She posts the cards and we see her friends opening them. And it never rains hearts again.

This is a good book for discussing how we show love for our friends, not just by making them Valentine’s cards but by thinking about what they might like most, as Cornelia Augusta does when she makes her cards.

Suggested for ages: 3-5 years

 

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valentines day childrens books

Over to you

Do you and your family celebrate St Valentine’s Day?

Have I missed one of your favourite Valentine’s Day books for kids?

I’d love to hear what you think so drop me a line in the comments.

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Hello!

I’m Felicity. I write about children’s books and reading and about their potential for enriching the lives of young humans.

I review picture books, board books and sometimes books for older children.

As well as being a lover of all things to do with books and reading, I’m a mum of three young adults and a primary school teacher. I also create gift baskets filled with the very best books for children from newborns to four-year-olds.

Welcome. It’s nice to meet you.