How do you teach children about love? Show them affection, be a role model through your words and deeds, and gift them this Valentine’s Day with children’s books that touch on the subject of love!
Despite their simple and spare words, children’s literature can be deep and meaningful, just like these five books that tackle love and all its complexities. And don’t be surprised if you end up falling in love with these books yourself: With their cute and colorful illustrations and touching messages, you can’t help but borrow them from your kids—or buy them for yourself!
My Pope Philippines lists five book suggestions that teach kids about the value of love and its different faces. (Read: An Expert’s Tip to Instilling Faith in Young Children)
Children’s Book About Patience: Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
What happens when a little girl literally plants a kiss on the ground? With a little “sunshine, water, greet, repeat” and plenty of patience (plus some doubting and pouting, because we’re only human), the little girl’s care pays off.
Love is like a plant, this book illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds seems to be saying. It doesn’t happen overnight and requires constant attention. But once you put in the work, watch it bloom right before your eyes.
Children’s Book About Forgivess: Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat
When a boy pinches his nose and a girl teases him about his glasses, Gilbert strikes back by penning nasty Valentine’s Day cards— and signing the wrong name on them! The prank upsets the recipients, but all’s well that ends well when Gilbert realizes his mistake. (Read: 3 Financial Habits to Instill in Your Children)
When you love someone, you’re bound to experience occasional feelings of hurt, disappointment, and anger. Forgiveness, as this book shows, restores love and strengthens each individual as well as their relationship.
Children’s Book About Meaningful Ways to Give Gifts: This Is Not A Valentine by Carter Higgins
A gumball ring, a lucky rock, the jelly side of peanut butter and jelly sandwich: What sounds like random things are actually the love offerings of a little boy to his schoolmate crush, “since sugared hearts and suckers give you cavities and bellyaches.” (Read: 3 Cute Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Your Parents)
Flowers, chocolates, and mushy cards may be the go-to gifts every Valentine’s, but there’s something special about presents that cost little to nothing at all—like a handwritten letter, half of your snack, or time spent with someone who needs company, as this book shows. Teach your kids the value of these heartfelt tokens and expressions of love so they don’t have to run to the mall each time it’s Valentine’s Day or a friend’s birthday.
Children’s Book About Inclusivity, Reciprocity: Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
No person or thing is too tall, short, fat, skinny, old, young, hard, or soft for a little boy (aka the Hug Machine) to wrap his arms around in a comforting embrace. “My hugs make the biggest feel small and the smallest feel big,” he says. Even a porcupine, whose prickly spines turn people away, gets a hug. But hugging can get tiring too, and a wiped out Hug Machine gets his hug from Mom.
Through this sweet story, kids learn that love is all about acceptance and inclusivity. Love is also about reciprocity; hug someone who loves you and you will likely get hugged in return!
Children’s Book About Loving and Letting Go: Love Is by Diane Adams
When a little girl chances upon an abandoned duckling, she takes it in and shows it what love is. “Love is noisy midnight feedings, shoe box right beside the bed,” she says. “It’s peaceful sleeping, no more peeping, tucked in tightly, head to toes.” Love is also knowing when to let go, which the little girl does when the duckling has grown.
It’s hard to understand why we have to let go of someone or something we love, and this book shows that poignant reality. But if leaving teaches the one we love to be independent and strong, who are we to hold them back? Besides, a love gone doesn’t necessarily mean love lost!