It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
Don’t forget to check out and sign up for our Literary Voyage Around the World Reading Challenge this year! After all, books have a way to transport you anywhere in this world—and beyond! Happy reading!
Below you will find 15 children’s books that fit perfectly with our theme. From board books to middle grade fiction, these books, which I borrowed from the library, celebrate love in its many forms. A few of these books are Valentine-themed. There are so many children’s books about love and these are just some of them.
Sam McBratney (Author), Anita Jeram (Illustrator)
“How much can you love someone? Little Nutbrown Hare wants to show Big Nutbrown Hare how very much he loves him—but love as big as his is very hard to measure!”
This is a classic. Of the 15 books listed here, this is the only personal copy. I loved this book since the first time I read it, and I can’t recommend it enough. It is beautiful and should be passed on from one generation to the next.
Lisa McCourt (Author), Cyd Moore (Illustrator)
“Even if her little boy were an alligator or a super-smelly skunk, this mother would love her child unconditionally.”
This is a tender story that illustrates how immensely and wholeheartedly a parent loves. Funny, cute, and has lots of love. A must-read!
Lauren Thompson (Author), Buket Erdogan (Illustrator)
“Early one morning Mouse follows his sister around the house. She’s making something red and lacy and very pretty. What will it be?”
Although I browse board books when I come across them in stores every once in a while, I am not a big fan of it. This is one of those books that took me by surprise. It is short but the ending is really sweet. A perfect read for siblings!
Eric Carle (Author/Illustrator)
“Using a range of images from the World of Eric Carle, and featuring the Very Hungry Caterpillar, this special gift book gives all the reasons why someone special makes the world a better and brighter place.”
Adorable tiny picturebook! It’s not only an expression of love. It is also a celebration and appreciation of someone special.
Barbara M. Joosse (Author), Barbara Lavallee (Illustrator)
“This carefully researched story will introduce young readers to a distinctively different culture, while at the same time showing that the special love that exists between parent and child is a bond that transcends all boundaries of time and place.”
Similar to I Love You, Stinky Face, this picturebook features a child who tests the love of her mother. It is a story of love and it is also a story of the native Arctic people who call themselves Inuit. This is a picturebook that talks about the universal theme of love while portraying a particular culture.
Julie Falatko (Author), Tim Miller (Illustrator)
“Congratulations! You’ve found a Best Friend Forever. A bosom buddy. The perfect pal. Now what? The possibilities are endless!”
I haven’t read Snappsy the Alligator—and I intend to at some point—which introduced Snappsy to the world. This is another Snappsy book that I picked up from our library. Read this book and find out how an extra-eager, super-friendly chicken named Bart ended up being friends with Snappsy the alligator who prefers to spend time alone. It’s the story of opposites and unlikely friendships.
Ethan Long (Author/Illustrator)
“The members of Fright Club are always ready to scare, but tonight Fran K. Stein has something else on his mind. He’s busy making something, and the other monsters want to know what it is. Could it be a mask? A big pink nose? Or maybe a paper butt? No… It’s a Valentine! EEEEK!! Is Fran in love? What could be scarier than falling in love?”
This picturebook explores various notions of love, particularly how one acts when one is in love. Fran K. Stein, however, has a different idea of what it means to fall in love. Grab a copy of this book and find out what it is.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Author), Peter H. Reynolds (Illustrator)
“One small act of love blooms into something bigger and more dazzling than Little Miss could have ever imagined in this epic journey about life, kindness, and giving.”
You can’t go wrong with a collaborative work by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter H. Reynolds. Here’s a sweet one, and it comes with a sparkly surprise!
Jen Wojtowicz (Author), Steve Adams (Illustrator)
“Rink Bowagon lives with his family in a faraway house up the winding path, through the thick forest, over Black Bear Creek, at the very top of Lonesome Mountain. The townspeople all agree that the Bowagons are quite strange but they are unaware of the most special of the Bowagon clan’s talents. Every full moon, Rink sprouts beautiful, sweet-smelling flowers all over his body.”
This picturebook offers a wonderful story that teaches us that what makes us different from other people is what makes us special. In the character of Rink Bowagon, children will discover a character who does not care about what people think of him. A new girl named Angelina shows up in school and gets befriended by a lot of kids in Rink’s class. Yet, it takes a special boy like Rink to appreciate Angelina for who she is. Great book about kindness, acceptance, and, of course, love.
Carter Higgins (Author), Lucy Ruth Cummins (Illustrator)
“This is not a valentine. It’s really not. It doesn’t have red glitter or sticky chocolates or fancy cursive. There are no lacey edges or sugary hearts or diamond rings. Valentines are sweet and gooey and chocolatey, and this book is definitely not delicious.”
Oh, but what a sweet delight this book is! This book defies traditional images or actions that people attach to Valentine’s, or what love means, in general. This Is Not a Valentine reminds us that the sweet little things we do for people and our own special meaning that we give to these acts of love are what truly matter.
Amy Schwartz (Author/Illustrator)
“From beloved author Amy Schwartz comes a celebration of 100 things to share with the ones you love.”
This book reminds me of Michael C. Hall’s poetry. It has lots of pages that contain short rhyming words. This book is, wihtout a doubt, great for read-aloud!
Arnold Adoff (Author), Lisa Desimini (Illustrator)
“Come celebrate the many joys of love letters as award-winning poet Arnold Adoff and renowned artist Lisa Desimini add a splash of humor and spirit to the tradition of valentines and love notes. Here is a book to share and to read aloud with anyone you love.”
Funny and witty collection of love letters. Arnold Adoff’s style reminds me of e.e. cummings’ poetry.
Middle Grade Fiction
by Ally Condie
“It’s been a year since the devastating car accident that killed Cedar’s father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are spending the summer in her mother’s hometown of Iron Creek and trying to mend their broken pieces. Until one day a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike, and everything about Cedar’s summer changes.”
This middle grade novel tells the struggles of Cedar as she deals with the death of her father and younger brother. In her mother’s hometown of Iron Creek, Cedar meets a boy named Leo who works in the Summerlost Festival. Cedar decides to give it a go and allows herself to get “lost in summer” as she joins the “third-biggest Shakespearean festival west of the Mississippi river. This book is about dealing with the loss of loved ones, discovering the secrets of a small town, and forming an unlikely connection with someone who’d see you as their “person.”
“Until I met Leo I hadn’t known you could understand someone so different from you so well. And we did have lots of things in common—the things we both thought were funny, especially. He made me think. He made me laugh. He loved being alive and he had big ideas and I liked being around him because of those things. And because he was a guy. The fact that he was a guy made everything sharper. A little more crackly.”
by Pablo Cartaya
“For Arturo, summertime in Miami means playing basketball until dark, sipping mango smoothies, and keeping cool under banyan trees. And maybe a few shifts as junior lunch-time dishwasher at Abuela’s restaurant. Maybe. But this summer also includes Carmen, a cute and funny girl who moves into Arturo’s apartment complex and turns his tomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn’t notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it.”
When a writer digs deep into his cultural identity and incorporates that in his story, he paints a rich portrait of his culture through the characters. In this novel by Pablo Cartaya, readers will meet the colorful and close-knit Zamora family. There is a touch of love story, true. However, this coming-of-age story also talks a great deal about family and celebrates the power of words.
“Love is two spirits meeting, joining together, holding each other, helping raise each other from the earth. It is born in the journey of looking for each other, fed by the need to be together. It is incapable of ever breaking apart! Love is not a tempestuous sea; it is a calm river. It is not a bonfire but a quiet ember. It is not an abrupt end; it is peace.”
by Rachel Vail
“Gracie has never felt like this before. One day, she suddenly can’t breathe, can’t walk, can’t anything—and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: AJ. But it turns out AJ likes not Gracie but Gracie’s beautiful best friend, Sienna.”
This is one of the rare middle grade novels that really talk about and focus on love, even at the “crush” level. It reads like YA but the story is set in middle school. Aside from being an easy read, this book is also funny. I like Gracie. I like how supportive she is of her best friend and even offers to help Sienna get close to AJ. There’s no drama like there usually is in YA novels. The plot is a little predictable but I had fun reading it. I never thought I would like it, and I’m glad I gave this book a chance.
“Completely overwhelmed. Like cannot even blink, is how much beyond whelmed I am… No way. But at the same time: Of course. Of course.”