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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

20 Cutest Valentine’s Day Books for Kids

Sweeten children's Valentine's Day by reading a heartwarming book together!

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toddler and mom reading valentines daymonkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

The benefits of reading to kids

Reading with children is one of the best gifts you can give them both in terms of their academic and social development. During storytime, they soak up one-on-one attention. Toddlers delight in turning the pages and remember single words or animal sounds. Preschoolers listen for familiar lines and the cadence of rhythmic phrases. Schoolchildren form new ideas and opinions as they talk with parents and teachers about the book’s lesson.

This Valentine’s Day, show the kids in your life that you love them by taking the time to read with them. We’ve rounded up the funniest, sweetest collection of cute Valentine’s Day books to read with kids this February 14—and all year long. Don’t miss these adorable Valentine’s Day gifts for kids.

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have you filled a bucked today childrens bookvia

Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids

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A favorite in kindergarten classrooms across the country, Have you Filled a Bucket Today? is a thoughtful lesson on kindness. Carol McCloud’s story uses buckets as a metaphor for our hearts, teaching kids to be “bucket fillers” all day long. Aside from providing a teachable moment and discussion point for elementary school-aged children, this book is also a sweet, simple story full of illustrations for the smallest tykes. From complimenting a friend to helping someone across the street, the pictures show children that every day is full of opportunities to fill someone else’s bucket. Psychologists say these are the most powerful random acts of kindness ever.

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The Kissing Hand

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We all feel a little sad sometimes, and kids are no exception. They have days when they don’t want to go to school or do their homework. In this lushly illustrated story about a raccoon named Chester, Audrey Penn teaches children that familial love can help them feel warm and happy even in the doldrums. After Chester tells his mother that he wants to stay home with her instead of going to school, she describes all the exciting things he would miss if he wasn’t willing to leave her for a little while. And then she shares a secret way for Chester to carry his mother’s love with him all day long. It’s also a top tradition to read this book on the first day of school.

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I’ll Love You Til the Cows Come Home

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This story by Kathryn Cristaldi lists all the ways—serious and downright hilarious—that love has no limits. Ideal for children learning to rhyme or participate in wordplay, the book is more of an endearing poem than a story. Kids will delight in the illustrations of cows and yaks, firetrucks, and rocket ships. Giggle-worthy scenarios splash across the pages. I’ll Love You Til the Cows Come Home is a touching, funny portrait of parental love that lasts forever, from Valentine’s Day onward! Here’s a hilarious collection of more funny animal cartoons to check out after storytime.

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Love You Forever

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Robert Munsch’s 1995 classic chronicles a mother’s love throughout her son’s life. When he is a toddler unraveling paper all over the bathroom floor, she tells him she will love him forever. When he gets older and spends less time at home, she says she will love him forever. When he moves into his own house as an adult, she remains in the background, singing that she will love him forever. Though the plot is a little far-fetched, this little children’s book has a timeless appeal. It’s a Valentine’s Day book for kids that they will cherish for many years to come.

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love from the crayons childrens bookvia

Love from the Crayons

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One of the newest Valentine’s Day books for kids, Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers’ Love from the Crayons is sure to fly off bookshelves this Valentine’s Day. It’s the latest edition of The Crayons series, a laugh-out-loud saga of the drama within a box of crayons when children aren’t looking. Children will love the cute color-coded scribbles that look much like their own drawings. They will learn that love can be red like a heart or fun like a purple dragon. For families already head-over-heels for the Crayons series, be warned that Love from the Crayons is a considerably smaller book than its colorful counterparts.

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full full full of love childrens bookvia

Full, Full, Full of Love

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Trish Cooke’s Full, Full, Full of Love follows little Jay Jay on a Sunday afternoon at Grannie’s house. The house is full of “uncles and aunties, cousins and friends,” and Jay Jay is thrilled to eat, share hugs and kisses, and soak up the day that is so full of love and affection. Kids familiar with big, happy families will find their own experiences reflected in Jay Jay’s afternoon. Children with smaller families, or who do not get to see extended family often, will appreciate this glimpse of a busy, bustling house brimming with love. Discover the 18 life skills you learn when you grow up in a big family.

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i love you too childrens bookvia

I Love You Too

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Written by Ziggy Marley, Bob Marley’s son, this is the cutest Valentine’s Day book for kids who love rhythm and reggae. It was released in 2014 alongside Marley’s Fly Rasta album. The prose was inspired by a conversation between Marley and his 3-year-old daughter, Judah. Amidst bright pictures of children of all ethnicities, the lyrics to “I Love You Too” dance and leap off the pages. See if you can get through the entire book without bursting into song or humming a Marley tune. It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day book to get the whole family moving!

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mama do you love me childrens bookvia

Mama, Do You Love Me?

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Way up north in the Alaskan Arctic, a little Inuit girl repeats the same question to her mother throughout the day: “Mama, do you love me?” Her imaginative list of scenarios—from turning into a polar bear to running away from home—always elicits a warm response. “Yes, I do, Dear One,” her mama says. Barbara Joosse has written a tender portrait of a mother’s love for her daughter. The mother reassures her child that love will endure even if the situation makes her feel angry or sad. This touching conversation pairs beautifully with the magical illustrations of Arctic landscapes and wildlife. These are 24 more books moms and daughters should read together.

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i love you blue kangaroo childrens bookvia

I Love You, Blue Kangaroo

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This is the enchanting story about a girl named Lily and her friend, Blue Kangaroo. As Lily gets older and starts collecting more and more toys, Blue Kangaroo grows nervous. Does she still love him? Will there be space for him to fit on the bed? Author Emma Chichester Clark has written a winning tale that rivals The Velveteen Rabbit and Toy Story. Through Blue Kangaroo’s experiences, she reminds children that no matter how much time passes, no matter how many siblings or friends come into their lives, they’ll always be loved. The book is also a launching point for discussions on how sometimes the things we want most have been with us all along. Discover 25 other favorite children’s book classics.

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words and your heart childrens bookvia

Words and Your Heart

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Illustrated with minimalist drawings in red, black, and white, Kate Jane Neal’s book looks just like a whimsical Valentine’s Day card. The words within are simple and direct. The book reveals that some words make you fill up with joy, while others make your heart feel small and hurt. Because of its simple premise, this book makes a wonderful gift even for very young children. As they learn to converse with the people around them, the book will remind them to use words carefully.

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i need a hug childrens bookvia

I Need a Hug

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Have you ever just needed a hug? Porcupine certainly has. But it seems that no matter where he roams and no matter who he asks, the other animals turn away. Kids are sure to giggle a little at Aaron Blabey’s googly-eyed, prickly main character. They’ll also be grinning with relief and excitement when the porcupine finally finds a friend. Who will be daring enough? And how will they hug him? You’ll have to find a copy of this cute Valentine’s Day book about friendship to find out. Need another reason to reach out and give a squeeze? Find out why one mom thinks hugging is so important.

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Love, Z

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While almost any cute children’s book with the word “love” on the cover could make a suitable Valentine’s Day gift, there’s something extra fun about Jessie Sima’s Love, Z. It’s a swashbuckling tale about a robot named Z who finds a message in a bottle. The note, signed “Love, Beatrice,” perplexes Z. What is love? And where can he find it? Z and his friends search for the literal meaning of love and the woman named Beatrice who holds the answer. Teachers and mentors will enjoy reading this book with children because its portrayals of love extend beyond familial affection to include friendship.

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A Sick Day for Amos McGee children's bookvia

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

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Valentine’s Day isn’t always about red hearts and saying “I love you”—sometimes it’s about being a good friend. In this delightful vintage-style picture book by Philip C. Stead, a zoologist named Amos McGee wakes up every morning excited to spend the day with his animal friends at their homes in the zoo. But one day, Amos doesn’t arrive at work. The animals wonder what to do, then decide maybe it’s time to visit Amos at his home too. Kids with an eye for detail might also notice the little extras, from a red balloon to a tiny sparrow, hidden among the story illustrations. Take the family to visit a real menagerie by finding the best zoo in your state.

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guess how much I love you children's bookvia

Guess How Much I Love You

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Sam McBratney’s 25-year-old children’s classic has earned a spot on nursery, classroom, and library shelves everywhere. The tale of Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare feels vaguely familiar, like a distant cousin to Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The earthy watercolor tones and textures bring the forest and hares to life. The story is short and sweet: Big Nutbrown Hare loves Little Nutbrown Hare very much. The repetition and evocative descriptions are perfect for a bedtime story, sending kids off to dreamland with images of peaceful forests and friendly animals dancing in their heads. It’s truly one of the very best Valentine’s Day books for kids. Check out these unusual heart-shaped foods to serve on Valentine’s Day.

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Pecan Pie, Baby

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A growing family means more love, but it can also mean growing pains. Gia’s mama is pregnant. While it might have been exciting at first, now all anyone wants to talk about is the baby. Now Gia is wondering who will play with her when the baby comes. And will anyone have time for her? In this story about love and jealousy, author Jacqueline Woodson doesn’t shy away from the tough questions kids ask about their fears. For any older sibling who’s felt a little left out, jealous, or blue, Pecan Pie, Baby will be a comforting reminder that there’s always enough love to go around.

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Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

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Everybody needs love, even grown-ups with jobs and briefcases and frowns on their faces. When boring and predictable Mr. Hatch receives a lovely pink package, he wonders who noticed him and admired him enough to send a gift. It turns out that the very thought of being loved has a powerful effect. Mr. Hatch goes on a hunt for his secret admirer, meeting new friends and neighbors along the way. When he finds out the admirer’s identity at the end, Mr. Hatch and readers are in for a surprise! Find out the best random acts of kindes for every month of the year.

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Love Is

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Diane Adams’ lovely pastel picture book is about a young girl and her duckling. It’s also a parable about how love sometimes requires letting go that will resonate with children and parents alike. The lyrical account of raising a downy duckling to a strong duck teaches children about responsibility and how to give love. In a surprise ending that will bring a smile to your face, it also teaches parents and children that love eventually gives back. That’s what makes it one of the best Valentine’s Day books for kids and their parents. Don’t miss these sweet Valentine’s Day cards you and your kids can DIY together.

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The Valentine Bears

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From the soft pink floral border to the giant red heart on the cover, it’s one of the best Valentine’s Day books to wrap up and give to the kids in your life. In this darling story about Mr. and Mrs. Bear, the couple decides to celebrate Valentine’s Day for the very first time. (Since bears hibernate during the winter, they have always slept through the holiday.) This year, Mrs. Bear has a special surprise in mind. She’s set the alarm clock for February 14, when she will wake up and prepare a day of love and celebrations for Mr. Bear. Eve Bunting has written a charming little book that reminds parents and kids how special it is to celebrate something brand new. Don’t miss these Valentine’s Day crafts kids will love.

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Love Monster and the Last Chocolate children's bookvia

Love Monster and the Last Chocolate

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Sharing is tough sometimes. It’s especially hard on Valentine’s Day when you have a whole heap of new candy to enjoy! In this story by Rachel Bright, Love Monster has a dilemma. He knows that sharing is caring, but he also loves sweets very much. He even loves this Valentine’s Day candy everyone hates. When a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates shows up on his doorstep, he must decide whether it’s sweeter to indulge or to share the moment with his friends. On top of an array of mouthwatering illustrations, this book is a fun bridge to a discussion with young children about how it sometimes feels better to give than receive.

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Hug Machine

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In Scott Campbell’s book, a little boy who calls himself the “Hug Machine” spends his day hugging everyone he meets. He hugs Mom and Dad. He hugs a police officer. He hugs a little girl holding a balloon. He also hugs her balloon. Available as a paperback, hardback, or board book, this is a fun, repetitive tale perfect for toddlers and your youngest Valentines. Don’t be surprised if your little ones love the book so much they hug it too! Here are other perfect books for grandparents to read with their grandkids.

Leandra Beabout
Leandra Beabout is a freelance journalist and branded content writer with a BA in English education from Indiana University. She writes about travel, health, and literature for Reader's Digest, Lonely Planet, CNN, and Literary Hub, among other publications. She is also a regular contributor to Leandra is based in Indiana. Follow her on Instagram @LeandraBeabout and LinkedIn Leandrabeabout

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