I’ve said a million times that one of my favorite ways to celebrate the holidays is with some good picture books.
My girls love looking for them at the library or going to the book store and checking out the newest titles, and I love displaying them for the month.
Of course, Valentine’s Day is so fun ANYWAY – all things pink and chocolate – so a few Valentine’s Day books just add to the festivities. Here are some of our family favorites:
12 favorite Valentine’s Day Books
This Is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
This was new to our Valentine’s Day books collection last year, and I just love how it follows a little boy giving the most thoughtful little gifts to the little friend he has his eye on. It’s such a sweet way to recognize that the best Valentine’s of all are the ones that acknowledge “I pay attention to you and what you like.” It’s been getting KILLER reviews, and it deserves them all.
Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter H. Reynolds
I’m basically obsessed with everything Amy Krouse Rosenthal does (Little Pea, anyone?) and this glittery book is no exception. The catchiest rhyme you can imagine about a little girl who plants a kiss and, what do you know? Something grows.
Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
I was dubious about this one for some reason, but it just made me smile and then it made me laugh. It’s just so darn cute, about a little guy who is a hugging machine, ready and willing to hug absolutely everyone and everything. (How is a hug machine fueled? By pizza, of course).
Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda
Dear heavens, I’m obsessed with the whole Cat series by this duo (there is a Christmas one and an Easter one too). The back and forth between the off-screen narrator and the cat, who communicates mostly by signs and facial expressions, never stop to make me laugh. I’m so happy to have this one in our Valentine’s Day books now.
My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
I would never have believed how many animals you could make entirely out of hearts, but Michael Hall creates the coolest images of shapes and colors in all his books, and this one is perfect for every little animal lover (which is every child in my house).
Love Is . . . by Diane Adams, illustrated by Claire Keane
If you’re the kind of parent who feels a little sad about how fast your children are growing up, maybe pass on this one. Or at least grab some tissues. It’s just so sweet, and I love the beautiful illustrations.
The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll, illustrated by Jeni Bassett
I feel like any parent who ever saw a “fun” project go to pieces in front of their eyes can totally relate to this story about Valentine making gone wrong. It has a happy ending, much like I always hope ours do.
The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
I can only imagine how nuts my girls would go if it actually rained hearts. In my mind, this is one of the most classic Valentine’s books out there.
No Hugs for Porcupine by Zoe Waring
Poor Porcupine. Nobody wants to hug him. I mean, it’s pretty dangerous! Happily, a friend comes up with a perfect solution!
Snowy Valentine by David Petersen
I know almost nothing about snowy Valentine’s Days, but this is a cute story about a rabbit searching for ideas for his wife for the holiday. Each of his animal friends suggest a new idea, but they all fall flat until a bird shows him that his walk has created a footprint heart in the snow.
The Biggest Kiss by Joanna Walsh, illustrated by Judi Abbot
Do you basically want to kiss your baby’s cheeks off every dang day? So do I (thanks, babies, for all having fat little cheeks). This book basically forces you to kiss your baby on each page as a penguin leads the way through a parade of animals, all who need a little smooch of one kind or another.
XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex, illustrated by Scott Campbell
I’ll admit this book might not be for everyone, but our family was obsessed with this hilarious story about Ox writing love letters to glamorous Gazelle who is NOT impressed.
Any favorite Valentine’s books that I missed?
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The Hug Machine! It’s the cutest book I’ve read recently.
He valentine bears by eve bunting & Jan Brett has been a favorite of mine for years. I read it every 1st or 2nd grade class I taught.
These are all so adorable! I love this one 🙂 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13642602-i-haiku-you
We have The Biggest Valentine sitting on Jay’s bookshelf right now. It’s been so fun reading it before bed the last couple weeks.
Just added all these to my library list. Thanks!!!
Helen Harris says
We just checked out “Love Is…” by Diane Adams from our library and it’s beyond adorable! Such a beautiful message of love and caring, plus the illustrations are gorgeous! It’s become my 3 year old’s current favorite.
We’ve read a few of the Love monster books and they’re so clever and cute. I also adore Worm Loves Worm for its creative way of demonstrating a powerful message.
Somebody loves you mr hatch by Eileen spinelli
Susan Johnson says
I second that. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch is my all time favorite. As a primary teacher I read it year after year to all my 1st and 2nd grade classes. Such a good reminder to include everyone and offer kindness.
Rachel Backes says
I also love this book and it is so well written! It is a joy to read each Valentine’s day!
Kathy Josefy says
Yes, I read this to first and second graders. It’s fun to have a wrapped package or a large candy valentine heart to grab their interest.
Sandra Boynton’s Snuggle Puppy! is one of our favorite Valentine’s Day books (although we read it year round).
Janssen Bradshaw says
I LOVE Sandra Boynton.
Kristen Kwisnek says
My students LOVE The Hug Machine, especially making the finger puppet after we read the story. Have you made that craft with your kiddos? It’s really fun: http://d28hgpri8am2if.cloudfront.net/tagged_assets/15265/hugmachineactivities.pdf
Sara Millett says
Love Monster and the Last Chocolate
The Giant Hug by Sandra Horning is about sending a birthday hug, but it would be a great Valentine’s read as well.
Not sure if it counts as a Valentine’s book. We love the book “I Love You Already”. My girls love it, and I love reading it.
We love The Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson. It’s a funny story about a guy writing a letter to Valentine–but none of them make it to her.
We found a new one this year that my 3 year old loves – Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear’s Valentine.
It’s a little older, but I remember absolutely loving the book “The Best Valentine in the World” by Marjorie Sharmat. It’s illustrated in grey, green, and purple, which makes it stand out among all the pink and red. The main characters are foxes, and they’re each certain that the other has forgotten all about them for Valentine’s day! But the ending is happy and it’s really just an adorable story that I think is underappreciated.
Susan Johnson says
To echo another reader, “Somebody Loves You , Mr. Hatch” by Eileen Spinelli is absolutely wonderful and so poignant. Retired now, but I read it every year to my 1st and 2nd graders, such a sweet story. Another favorite is “Louanne Pig in The Mysterious Valentine” by Nancy Carlson, about trying to find out who sent an anonymous valentine. I love your lists for my granddaughters
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Jenae Jeppesen says
Porcupining: A Prickly Love Story by Lisa Wheeler. Such a favorite of ours. A porcupine in a zoo is looking for love but no one can see past his spines until he meets [spoiler alert!] a hedgehog.
Somebody Loves You Mr Hatch is my FAVORITE!
I also love Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch. I’m not sure whether you’ve heard of StorylineOnline, where Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) authors read children’s books, but I love Hector Elizando’s reading of this book https://youtu.be/AGAS_Aj85cA.
We checked out as many of these as we could and our favorite has been XO, OX: A Love Story. Hilarious!
Janssen Bradshaw says
Isn’t that one SO GOOD?!
Brooke Gagnon says
We have the “here comes the Easter Cat” where he ends up helping out with his motorcycle. We absolutely love it…I didn’t know they made other stories with him. We’ll have to go on the search!
Cindy Harris says
Somebody Loves You Mister Hatch
Is my all time favorite valentine book.
my kindergarten class loves Slugs in Love! One of my favorites!
Xo, ox is my absolute favorite! So so cute and funny!
“Mr Goat’s Valentine” by Eve Bunting
Amy Carr says
As the mother of 2 girls as well as 3 boys, I found the traditional Valentine’s books didn’t appeal at all to my boys. But we have discovered some really fun ones that have been a staple in our house as well as in classrooms when I go read to my kid’s classes.
Zombie in Love (by Kelly DiPuchhio)
Zombie 2+1 (Dipucchio)
Valensteins (Ethan Long)
They all make us laugh out loud!
Have you ever seen Twosomes: Love Poems From the Animal Kingdoms by Marilyn Singer? It is so cute. I bought it for my middle daughter almost a decade ago.
We love The Day It Rained Hearts. Also Time For a Hug which we read year round.
Debbie Jarmusik says
These are cute! Cranberry Valentine is a good one too. My girls loved that book when they were little.
Janssen, you definitely need to check out Valentine Foxes by Clyde Watson. Every mother of young children can relate to it!
Marian Adamson says
My favorite Valentine’s book isn’t really about Valentines, but it’s about sharing love which is how our family celebrates Valentines. It’s “Delivery” by Aaron Mishon. My littles love following the red heart as it goes from one form of transportation to the next. And there is a fun twist at the end!