Last month, while I was at Barnes & Noble, scouring the shelves to find specific material in children’s literature, a little girl came up to me surprised by the number of books I took. As I sat in a corner and spread the books apart, she was delighted with what she saw and started telling me about some of her favorite children’s books.
As I remember that sweet encounter, I realized we were getting closer to that time of the year again. Time to celebrate love and show appreciation for our friends and loved ones. I couldn’t help but think of some of my favorite children’s books to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the little ones.
For kids, this is a special day. Whether it is writing a special note, creating a sticker-filled card—who never received one of those?—or giving that warm hug to Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, teachers, or friends, there is a magic about the date. Not to mention, this becomes another excuse to eat more candy.
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What Are the Best Children’s Books for Valentine’s Day?
But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about candies, right? There is no better way to teach children the meaning of Valentine’s than with our beloved books. And to celebrate this date, here are some of my favorites children’s books for Valentine’s, in no particular order:
1 2 3 Valentine’s Day: A Counting Book by Jeanne Modesitt; Illustrated by Robin Spowart
This is the story of a mouse who goes around knocking on his neighbor’s doors on Valentine’s Day to give each of his fellows a gift.
The story is sweet. The book has cute illustrations, and children will learn to count with the mouse as he moves along on his journey. The lettering is large, making it a quick read. At the end of the book, there is a step-by-step on “How to make a Valentine’s Day Heart.” Children ages 2–5 will love it.
The Berenstain Bears’ Funny Valentines by Stan & Jan Berenstain
Who doesn’t like the Berenstain Bears?
Sister bear was having issues with a pesky classmate, while her heart skipped beats for another. Valentine’s Day is on the way. Sister Bear will have to exchange Valentines with her entire classroom, including her not-so-kind friend; an idea that didn’t make her happy. The surprise comes when she receives a special Valentine. And guess what happens?
In this sweet Valentine’s story, children will learn that things are not always what they look like and should not jump to conclusions. A great story for children ages 3–6.
Valentine’s Day by Anne Rockwell; Picture by Lizzy Rockwell
This book is a story of friendship.
Mrs. Madoff and Mr. Siscoe’s class is getting ready for Valentine’s Day. They are preparing valentines for a dear friend who lives abroad, and to say they are excited about their creations is an understatement. From sweet messages, complete with memories of their fellowship to arts-and-crafts-filled cards, this book teaches respect and kindness.
Young children will also get in touch with colors and shapes of different sources and be able to rhyme.
Above all, this book also teaches an underline lesson of diversity and multiculturalism; making this material one of my top favorites. A beautiful story for children ages 2–5.
Arthur’s Valentine by Marc Brown
Arthur is confused. He is receiving Valentine’s Day messages even though it is not Valentine’s Day yet. Who could they be from?
Arthur uses his instincts to pay back to the person trying to prank him. In the end, someone will have the best laugh.
This book is a great read for children ages 3–5, especially because it teaches kids how to be a good sport and not take things too seriously. Children will also enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day with Arthur and his friends.
Rhyme Time Valentine by Nancy Poydar
Valentine’s Day is a special day for Ruby. Prior to the date, she was bursting with joy while preparing Valentine’s Day cards filled with rhymes. When the day comes, she gets ready for school and doesn’t waste time reddening up her wardrobe for the day.
For a moment, though, Ruby’s enthusiasm is short-lived. A strong wind blows away the valentines she put so much effort into creating. But not all was lost. In school, Ruby recreates her cards in different colors and has fun sharing and rhyming with her classmates, until something magical happens.
This is another beloved story that teaches kids that when we put effort into something or do things with goodness in our hearts, in the end, we are rewarded.
Although this is not a rhyming book per se, young children will rhyme with Ruby and enjoy Valentine’s messages throughout the story. As a bonus, at the end of the book, there is a step-by-step tutorial on how to do a “Ruby’s Valentine.” Recommended for children 2–5.
Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool by Kimberly and James Dean
Pete is not happy with Valentine’s Day. That until he meets with his friend Callie, who convinces him that “Valentine’s Day is cool.” Pete jumps into action and starts creating Valentine’s cards for his friends, beginning with Larry.
But Pete is too hard on himself about his creative endeavor and frustration gets on his way. Throughout the story, he gets little nudges from his mom and his friend Callie, who both help him see the situations through different lenses. In the end, everybody is content, including Pete.
This book has beautiful and colorful illustrations. Though it teaches a cute lesson on the meaning of Valentine’s Day, patience, and perseverance, it is the repetition of words or phrases that make it especially useful for children who are starting to recognize the letters and sounds and put words together. As a bonus, it comes with a Valentine’s Day poster, cards, and stickers. Recommended for children 3–5.
What are some of your all-time children’s books for Valentine’s Day? Let’s keep the discussion going on Instagram. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.