I am always on the hunt for amazing seasonal books to add to my son’s bookshelf, to the point that shelf #1 is quickly overflowing and we’re starting on shelf #2. An avid reader as a child, I’ve worked hard to instill that same passion in my son.
Because of that, I like to update his book selection all the time, and I’m realizing that there are a ton of great books for kids out there in various seasons and subjects. Valentine’s Day, as minor a holiday as it may seem to many, is no exception.
Growing up, my parents would always make sure to take my brother and I on their Valentine’s date. After all, love isn’t just about a couple… love resonates in the entire family, the entire household. It makes sense that, during a season of love, it would be nice to include kids, and new books are a great way to do that.
So, here are my top picks for the month of February. If you don’t have them in your collection, you can click through to their listing on Amazon!
If I Could Keep You Little by Marianne Richmond
I’ll be honest, this book isn’t specifically marketed as a Valentine’s Day book. In fact, when I first saw it, I walked right past it. Then, I decided to go back and find some new Valentine’s books to add to my son’s collection, opened it up, and literally cried right there in the middle of Walmart. Not some sort of discreet teary-eyed cry, but that “tears streaming down my face, ugly cry where I’m choking on tears” crying. I don’t know if it was just about the fact that my son is getting ready to get his first hair cut, or that I see the changes in him every day, but this book hit me hard.
It seems simple enough… “If I could keep you little, I’d kiss your cuts and scrapes. But then, I’d miss you learning from your own mistakes.” Essentially, the book is saying, if I could keep you little, I’d be able to take care of you, and make sure you have everything you need, but at the same time, I’d be missing out on the child you’re becoming, on watching you grow into something special.
And that, well, it’s worth a really good cry. I dare you to get through the entire book without at least welling up with a few tears.
You can purchase this book here: If I Could Keep You Little
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Joffe Numeroff
On a less serious note, Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! features all of the best characters from the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series, and talks about Mouse creating a special valentine for each of his friends. I think the book is great in that Mouse lovingly considers each of his friends and what he likes about them as he creates their valentine. That is a very special thing to teach kids, making this book a perfect start for a conversation about thoughtfulness, and also helping them more clearly share what they like about the people they care about.
Of course, it’s lit with fun illustrations and familiar characters, making it a staple in any home that loves the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books.
You can find this book here: Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! (If You Give…)
Duck and Goose: Goose Needs a Hug by Tad Hills
I wasn’t familiar with the Duck and Goose stories until just a year or so ago when I picked up “Duck and Goose: It’s Time for Christmas.” My son and I had so many giggles over lines like “Goose! It is not time for making a SnowGoose!” that it quickly became a favorite during the winter time. While the Goose Needs a Hug installment isn’t necessarily specifically Valentine’s themed, it does show an important way to express caring for individuals through hugs. A simple hug can cheer up someone’s day and take them from sad to glad in just one brief moment of physical touch; if that wasn’t so, then Free Hugs campaigns wouldn’t be so popular! Goose Needs a Hug is a heartwarming tale for those who already love Duck and Goose, but it’s also a great introduction to Duck and Goose books if you’re not already familiar with them.
You can find this book here: Duck & Goose, Goose Needs a Hug
Happy Valentine’s Day, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer
I feel the need to include this one because Little Critter was a staple of my childhood. Truly, it wouldn’t have been a childhood for me without spending countless hours reading and re-reading, searching for that little spider hidden on the pages. I loved devouring the Little Critter books, and of course, this cute tale is no exception. It’s mushy-gushy in the right places, with just a touch of that Little Critter snark everyone knows and loves, and it’s destined to become a classic, especially if you’re a parent who loved Mercer Mayer as a child.
You can find this book here: Little Critter: Happy Valentine’s Day, Little Critter!
The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
The name of this author may look familiar to some, but even if the name doesn’t, a quick flip through the pages will refresh your memory. Felicia Bond is the well-loved illustrator of the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books. These cute drawings are perfect, and the storyline is just so wholesome and fun. It starts with a girl seeing hearts begin falling from the sky like raindrops. As she catches them, she realizes each one is unique… and that each would make a great valentine for one of her friends! A cute book with darling illustrations, it’s one that will be read again and again, especially by families with younger children.
You can purchase this book here: Day It Rained Hearts
I Loathe You by David Slonim
I think we can all admit that sometimes, the “I love you THIS much” genre gets a bit mushy gushy. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a good, sweet, overly mushy book– if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be crying over books in the middle of Walmart, would I? But this book has it right when it comes to providing that amazing unconditional love… without really going the mushy-love route. As two monsters talk and get so disgustingly silly with their loathing for one another, you quickly realize that this is a tale of love, albeit a different kind of love, expressed in an atypical way. This book is especially good for the kids who wipe away kisses saying “YUCK!” like my own son. It’s perfect in a secretly-loving, but extra-awesome way.
This book can be purchased here: I Loathe You
Ten Little Zombies: A Love Story by Andy Rash
Okay, so, I have to warn you here, this isn’t exactly a children’s book. Or, well, it is, but it kind of depends on the type of kid you have. You won’t see anything worse than an episode of CSI in here, but there are bits and pieces about zombie dismemberment, including the use of chainsaws, acid, and other horrifying stuff. It even has a special twist ending! But really, for an older kid, or a kid who has been exposed to their fair share of zombies, you’ll find tons of giggles in this silly counting book. It has a little bit of everything– humor, grossness, and even some love. It’s a cute story, and the illustrations are rudimentary, so it isn’t the stuff of nightmares so much as the stuff of “Eww! Dead zombie blood!” I think it’s well worth reading, especially if you’re an off-beat parent.
You can purchase this book here: Ten Little Zombies: A Love Story
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Do you have a favorite Valentine’s book for kids? Share it in the comments below!