• Helping Kids Rise

Valentine's Day: 10 Children's Books that Celebrate Love and Connection


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Valentine's Day is all about love! These picture books feature diverse characters and stories that celebrate love in different ways. Great for sharing on Valentine's Day or anytime of year.


"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." Maya Angelou




The perfect Valentine's gift for your baby or toddler!

In My Baby Loves Valentine's Day, celebrate all the lovely things that Baby discovers about Valentines Day:

Baby loves hearts made of paper and lace.

Baby loves kisses and a loving embrace.

Baby loves pretty red roses...

Celebrate all the lovely things Baby discovers about Valentine's Day!


This Own Voices board book, the perfect gift for a new baby, features rhythmic poetry from Jabari Asim and adorable art from Tara Nicole Whitaker.


Purchase: Bookshop




Funny, emotional, and uplifting picture book about separation and love, to help children understand their emotions.

Everyone loves everyone in Tess's house, but when Tess has to leave for school for the very first time, she is worried that her family's love might not stretch that far. Mom explains that love is like a string, it connects people together even when they are far away. At school Tess notices that all the children have strings! Some are new, some are old, some stretch a long way, and some even stretch right up into the sky. But what happens when a string breaks?


Love is the third in a trio of feel-good picture books from author Corrinne Averiss (Joy (2018), Hope (2019)) - a pure delight from start to finish. A wonderful story that subtly tackles difficult topics of death, grief, separation, and overcoming anxiety.

Purchase: Bookshop



This vibrant picture book, beautifully illustrated by celebrated artist Danielle Daniel, encourages children to show love and support for each other and to consider each other's well-being in their everyday actions.


Consultant, international speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote You Hold Me Up to prompt a dialogue among young people, their care providers and educators about reconciliation and the importance of the connections children make with their friends, classmates and families. This is a foundational book about building relationships, fostering empathy and encouraging respect between peers, starting with our littlest citizens.

Purchase: Bookshop




A little girl carries a big message--and finds it thrillingly amplified by the rallying crowd around her--in an empowering story for the youngest of activists.


Mari raised her sign for everyone to see.

Even though she was small and the crowd was very big,

and she didn't think anyone would hear,

she yelled out.


Mari is getting ready to make a sign with crayon as the streets below her fill up with people. "What are we making, Mama?" she asks. "A message for the world," Mama says. "How will the whole world hear?" Mari wonders. "They'll hear," says Mama, "because love is powerful." Inspired by a girl who participated in the January 2017 Women's March in New York City, Heather Dean Brewer's simple and uplifting story, delightfully illustrated by LeUyen Pham, is a reminder of what young people can do to promote change and equality at a time when our country is divided by politics, race, gender, and religion. Purchase: Bookshop




This beautifully illustrated book tells the heartwarming story of a little girl and a duckling, who both grow to understand what it means to care for each other as they learn that love is as much about letting go as it is about holding on. A little girl finds a duckling who has wandered away from the park onto the city streets, and takes it home to care for it. The baby duck requires constant attention--early morning feedings, bathing, and tidying--until the time comes to say goodbye. When her pet has grown too big for the bath, the girl takes the full-grown duck back to the pond. Afterward, she misses it and wonders if it remembers her. One day, the duck comes back--with six ducklings of her own.


- Lyrical text makes the story fun to read aloud

- Teaches responsibility

- Explores the challenges and joys that come with giving and receiving love


Purchase: Bookshop




It's up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters, from Academy-Award winning director and former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestselling illustrator Vashti Harrison.


Zuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it's beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he'll do anything to make her -- and her hair -- happy.


Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair -- and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.

Purchase: Bookshop




There is nothing more important to a child than to feel loved, and this gorgeous gathering of poems written by Nikki Giovanni celebrates exactly that.


Hand-selected by Newbery honoree Ashley Bryan, he has, with his masterful flourish of color, shape, and movement, added a visual layering that drums the most impartant message of all to young, old, parent, child, grandparent, and friend alike: You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. As a bonus, one page is mirrored, so children reading the book can see exactly who is loved--themselves!


Purchase: Bookshop










This fun, inclusive board book celebrates the one thing that makes every family a family . . . and that's LOVE.


Love is baking a special cake. Love is lending a helping hand. Love is reading one more book. In this exuberant board book, many different families are shown in happy activity, from an early-morning wake-up to a kiss before bed. Whether a child has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each, this simple preschool read-aloud demonstrates that what's most important in each family's life is the love the family members share.


Purchase: Bookshop






In this sweet and lyrical board book from the creators of the bestselling Little You, gentle rhythmic text captures the wonder new parents feel as they welcome baby into the world. A celebration of the bond between parent and child, this is the perfect song to share with your little ones.


Internationally renowned storyteller and bestselling author Richard Van Camp teams up with award-winning illustrator Julie Flett for a second time to create a stunning board book for babies and toddlers.

Purchase: Bookshop








Warm illustrations spice up this rhythmical ode to the joys of family and food -- full, full, full of pleasures.


For the youngest member of an exuberant extended family, Sunday dinner at Grannie's can be full indeed -- full of hugs and kisses, full of tasty dishes, full to the brim with happy faces, and full, full, full of love. With a special focus on the bond between little Jay Jay and his grannie, Trish Cooke introduces us to a gregarious family we are sure to want more, more, more of.


Purchase: Bookshop






Your turn! Which books would you add to this list? Let us know.



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