Tech & Media

6 Sweet and Tender Books That Teach Kids All About Love

Feb 8, 2018

My eldest son is a hugger. He gives hugs often and freely to family and friends (and sometimes strangers, which we’ve been working on). While he knows that he needs to ask before he gives someone a hug, the joy on his face when he has the chance to wrap someone in an embrace is one of the purest things I’ve ever witnessed. He gives hugs with his eyes closed and his heart open, and a big smile on his face. It’s incredible, really, the way that kids can offer their love so easily and enthusiastically to everyone they meet. So when Valentine’s Day rolls around, we celebrate love in a big way.

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This year, Valentine’s Day will involve making some special treats to share with classmates, as well as baking some heart-shaped goodies and enjoying a few Valentine-themed activities. And when we’re ready for a bit of quiet time, we’ll snuggle up together under a cozy blanket to read some of our favourite books. Here are six sweet stories that are just right for the occasion. 

ABC Love (Written and Illustrated by Christiane Engel)

This bright and cheerful book from children’s illustrator Christiane Engel is a wonderful way to take your littlest reader through their ABCs. They’ll learn that love comes in many forms and can be felt in many ways, whether they’re sharing treasures with friends or helping to care of the family pet.

No Matter What (Written and Illustrated by Debi Gliori)

No Matter What begins with a very grumpy “Small,” who is having a bad day and worrying that “Large” might not love them anymore. When Large assures Small that they’re loved no matter what, Small creates some silly scenarios to put Large’s love to the test. Would Small still be loved if they were a bear or a bug? Little ones are sure to get a giggle from Small’s “what ifs” while also learning the concept of unconditional love. Recommended for ages 0 to 3.

I Love You Because You’re You (Written by Liza Baker, Illustrated by David McPhail)

Another great read that demonstrates unconditional love is Liz Baker’s I Love You Because You’re You. In this story, a mother fox reassures her pup that she always loves him, whether he’s being playful and proud, or sad and angry. With a gentle rhyming text, this book emphasizes the idea that it’s safe for kids to express their emotions — both positive and negative — without fear of losing their parents’ love. Recommended for ages 3 to 5.

One Love (Adapted by Cedella Marley, Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton)

Adapted from the classic tune by legendary musician Bob Marley, One Love by Cedella Marley shares the message that loving and caring for each other can help make the world around us a better place. Through Vanessa Brantley Newton’s vibrant illustrations, we see a little girl bring her community together to create a beautiful park that they can all share. (Bonus points if you follow up your reading with a dance party to the reggae hit!) Recommended for ages 3 to 6.

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That’s Me Loving You (Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated By Teagan White)

This read-aloud book is a gentle reminder for kids that even when they can’t be with a loved one, they still carry that person’s love with them wherever they go. Signs of love are all around, from drifting clouds to gentle breezes. A perfect read to help reassure little ones who may struggle with being separated from a parent. Recommended for ages 3 to 7.

Love (Written by Matt de la Peña, Illustrated by Loren Long)

Fans of Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever are sure to enjoy this beautiful book by Matt de la Peña (who also wrote Last Stop on Market Street), which explores the ways we experience love from birth to adulthood. Paired with gorgeous illustrations by Loren Long, de la Peña’s story assures kids that love is a constant force in our lives, even in hard times — from the sound of our parents’ voices when we’re born, to a comforting hug when we’re afraid. (Keep the tissues handy for this one!) Recommended for ages 4 to 8.

Article Author Alicia McAuley
Alicia McAuley

Read more from Alicia here.

Alicia McAuley is a freelance writer, editor and all-around web nerd who never met a pop culture reference she didn't like. The former editor of a parenting website, these days she shares a home office in the suburbs with her husband, two adorable boys, and two lazy cats. You can find her cracking jokes on Twitter @aliciamcauley and pinning projects for her to-do list on Pinterest.

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