Valentine’s Day is a special holiday celebrating heartfelt feelings for loved ones and friends. Here are some great picture books that help to make this a meaningful event. The first four books are board books, small and good for ages two through four. The rest of the books are good for ages four through eight.
Sweet Hearts, by Amy E. Sklansky, and brightly illustrated by Anna Dunn, is a clever heart shaped book with tiered pages that begins with a small heart page and eventually ends with a large heart shape page. The rhyming text supports the shape of the book by reinforcing the importance of love.
How Do You Say I Love You?, by Hannah Eliot, and illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez, showcases the expression of love in several different languages. Japanese, Russian and Portuguese are a few of the languages exhibited here. The text is simple and the pronunciation is also demonstrated. The pictures show a brief hint of the culture as well.
Colors of Love, by Tina Gallo, and painted with a rainbow of colors by Tony Neal, brings out the many possibilities of love found throughout the world. The text on a very azure blue kitchen says: “Love looks like sitting in my sky blue kitchen with my family for breakfast. Seeing them first thing every morning makes me happy. I love my family.”
Whooo Loves You?, by Sandra Magsamen, is an interactive board book where the very young (newborn through ages three) can enjoy lifting flaps of different shapes on every open page. The dazzling pictures take up both sides as little ones look for the flap to open. The birds on the clothesline and the owl in the tree find their loved one behind the flaps. The owl featured on the front is three dimensional and is made of fabric and is soft to the touch.
Click, Clack, Moo I Love You!, by Doreen Cronin, and wonderfully painted in her trademark style by Betsy Lewin, has little Duck and her friends at the farm preparing a Valentine’s party. She hangs balloons and creates many bright red hearts throughout for all to enjoy. But one little fox desires to come and encounters the alarm of all the farm animals at his arrival. But all works out in the end. The pages are filled with sparkling embellishment on every open page.
I Love You, Baby!, by Claire Freedman, and illustrated with adorable animal families by Judi Abbot, is a sweet tribute to little ones from their loving mothers and fathers. Penguins, lambs, bear cubs and kittens are a few of the many assortments of animals shown throughout the book as they are engaged in reading, playing or getting ready for bed with their parent. The colors are muted and fill the pages.
A Friend is Someone Who Likes You, by Joan Walsh Anglund, is a delightful little book that was first published in 1958. The author has produced her exquisite drawings along with her simple text to produce a message that has survived sixty years – “Sometimes you don’t know who your friends are. Sometimes they are there all the time, but you walk right past them, and don’t notice that they like you in a special way.”
In Your Hands, by Carole Boston Weatherford, and painted with watercolor, gouache and India ink by Brian Pinkney, demonstrates to children the great love and support of their mothers as they grow and discover and become more independent. “I will pray that you are safe in neighborhoods beyond our own and that you feel confident when you face new challenges.” But the love is always there with their child. The text flows with poetic vibrancy and the colors are hues of green, blue and pink.
Through Your Eyes: My Child’s Gift to Me, by Ainsley Earnhardt, and beautifully painted with watercolor and digitally laid out by Ji-Hyuk Kim, expresses in lyrical form the love from mom to child. As days pass by, it’s important not to miss the little things that bring great joy in life and love of your child. “You built mountains from sand / Played tag with a tree / Who would have guessed / You could teach me to see?” The beautiful pictures take up the entire open page throughout the book.
Valensteins: A Love Story, by Ethan Long, has Fran Stein preparing a Valentine for someone he is in love with. However, his friends, which include Witch, Mummy and Ghost, don’t know what to think of this new development with their friend. They don’t even know what a heart is. This fun and funny story will have youngsters cracking up as Fran attempts to give his heart away. The colors are muted and exhibit shadows of gray which follows the theme of the story.