Tuesday, February 6, 2018

14 children's books with great messages about love

They won't cause cavities or a sugar high, yet their insides are sweet and satisfying. I'm talking about these 15 great new (and new-ish) books about love, perfect for a Valentine's Day gift or anytime gift. They're filled with messages about making connections, adoring others and being adored and embracing people (and monsters) of all kinds. While they're geared toward non-readers and emerging readers, they're delicious for children of all ages—and their adults.

Colors of Love by Tina Gallo
Having breakfast with your family in a sky-blue kitchen, watching fireworks in a purple sky on a rooftop with friends: we experience love in diverse ways, as this book explores in glorious color.

Love by Matt de la Peña and Loren Long
Love can be fun (a police officer plays with kids enjoying a park's sprinklers). Love can be tender (a grandpa fishes with his grandson). Yet it can also be scary(a child cowers beneath the piano as parents fight). With evocative illustrations, this meditation brings love's many meanings to light and its powerful effects on us all. This new bestseller is one you'll want to read again and again. 

This is an important addition to any child's library, because it's about the greatest love of all (cue Whitney Houston): learning to love yourself, and what makes you unique. From the author of "On The Night You Were Born," this keeper celebrates different abilities, interests and personalities, with beautiful drawings in chalk, watercolor and pencil. The opening words set the tone: "We're not all the same. Thank goodness, we're not. Life would be boring, and I mean—a lot. And so, when we're born, we're supplied at the start, with our own bells and whistles to set us apart."

Love Monster by Rachel Bright
Poor googly-eyed, sharp-toothed monster doesn't fit in with his cuddly peers, so he leaves Cutesville to find the love of his life (wisely bypassing Tinder). It's hard out there and he gives up, except as he's about to head home something amazing happens. This book has lively illustrations and meaningful messages: being different is OK and everyone deserves to be loved. Amen!

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian
When two worms fall for each other and decide to wed, their friends go all out with the wedding plans. But, they tell the couple, there can only be one groom and one bride. What's a pair of forward-thinking invertebrates to do? This seemingly silly book has a happy ending that reinforces all you need is love, and a wedding planner. OK, not the wedding planner. 

Everyone's favorite serial feline is skeptical about Valentine's Day, until he realizes all the cool cats there are in his life and decides to make cards for them. Thing is, he forgets one particularly special one. The book comes with 12 cards, stickers and a pull-out poster.  

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
Little dude walks around hugging like it's his job, everything from a fire hydrant to a whale, fueled by pizza slices. "No one escapes the Hug Machine!" he declares. But then, he discovers that as great as it is to give, there's nothing better than receiving from... ah, no spoiler alert here!

Heart to Heart by Lois Ehlert
This author is a favorite in our home—her whimsical, playful books are fun to flip through. Her latest one is similarly irresistible, with rhymes centered around various foods like picture puzzles: "I'm [cherry] when I cu / [olive] u, n it shows / My [heart] starts [pumpkin] / from my head down [tomatoes]." If you don't appreciate puns, this book just might make you a convert. Or not.

The Valensteins by Ethan Long
Usually, the witch, the mummy and other members of The Fright Club scare people. But on this night, Fran K. Stein is making—wait, what?—a valentine! Even more terrifying: when two people love each other, the crew learns, they kiss on the lips. "EEEWWW!" they declare. Next thing you know, Fran K. is crushing on a girl who resembles Bride of Frankstein and he gives her the valentine. This book hilariously plays off kids stereotypes about love.

Click, Clack, Moo I Love You! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
Little Duck is throwing a Valentine's party in a barn she's decorated; when guests come in, she hands each a handmade heart. A little fox, hearing the music, decides to crash. Panic ensues—a fox! At a farm! Then Little Duck hands him a heart and...swoon. The latest edition in this popular series has a nice take on not judging others by their appearances. 

Vivid illustrations from the original beloved children's book come together in a celebration of love: "You are the apple of my eye; you make the sun shine brighter; you make my heart flutter." It's simple and cute; there's no story here, just sweet sentiments.

Elephants in love do the goofiest things: they hide behind a tree (not very effectively) when the object of their affection is nearby, stare aimlessly into the clouds, try to eat well but polish off the cheesecake. Sound familiar? This adorable book lets little ones in on what it's like to crush on someone—and shows that love is worth waiting for. 

Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal
OK, technically this book isn't about love but about how words affect our hearts. They can inspire and cheer others up, but they can also hurt. The simple message—using words to look after each others' hearts—is easy for kids young and old to understand, and a great conversation starter. 

I Love You Already! by Jory John and Benji Davies
Bear just wants to chill at home, except his neighbor, Duck, hauls him out then proceeds to pepper him with questions. Concerned by Bear's terse responses, Duck just isn't sure he's liked, to which Bear repeatedly insists "I love you already!" The truth comes to the test when Duck gets into a situation, and Bear is there for him. Aww. 

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  1. I need to get "Your all Kinds of Wonderful" and "
    Words and Your Heart" for home and for the high school essential skills com arts teacher. And maybe the after school program too!

    1. Love Amazon - my books will be on my doorstep tomorrow!

    2. I hope they're enjoyed! I have a serious Amazon Prime addiction myself.

  2. We just bought Click Clack Moo I love you in my son's scholastic book order last month! It has such a great message about acceptance and breaking down walls and barriers! I love it!



Thanks for sharing!

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