Looking for a special book for that special someone? I’ve got ten ideal recommendations for you from award-winning children’s book author, Carter Higgins. These books should satisfy that longing to express love in words and pictures, whether your Valentine is a tiny tot, a partner, or one of life’s dearest friends.
1) Oh, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams might be the most gorgeous rendering of love in all of literature. It’s harder to find a more fitting description of the side effects of being loved than described in this book. May this be true in your lives on February 14th, and every day after!
2) Eve Bunting and Jan Brett have a Valentine’s Day gem in The Valentine Bears. Because bears are usually deep in a winter slumber in the middle of February, Mr. and Mrs. Bear have never celebrated a Valentine’s Day together. So this season, Mrs. Bear sets an alarm clock for the special day, and prepares the best of parties for Mr. Bear. Their love is so romantic and real, and chocolate covered ants have never sounded so delicious.
3) Ever wondered what would happen if you really did plant a kiss? In Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter Reynold’s Plant a Kiss, our Little Miss plants one in the ground and carefully tends to it. Soon it blossoms and blooms into something delightfully shareable. The words are spare and lovely, and the tenderness is hypnotizing. (And it truly sparkles thanks to glitter in the illustrations!)
4) Is anything more lovable than the monkey on the cover of Jez Alborough’s Hug? His banana-shaped grin on the sunshine colored cover makes me smile every time I see it. All he wants is a hug – a perfect monkey-sized mama hug made extra special and just for him.
5) Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to roll around to enjoy I Like You, but it seems especially sweet this time of year. The sentiment of a love story or a beautiful friendship are stuffed into this little book. It might be the most perfect gift you ever leave with someone you love.
6) When Tasha Tudor’s dreamy watercolors wash over words, poems, and songs on love, something magical happens. This collection, All For Love, will outlast February 14th and become a family staple of celebrating love in many tastes and traditions.
7) This tot with the corkscrew cowlick appears in a handful of Leslie Patricelli’s board books, and Huggy Kissy lets love shine. Bold colors and striking lines frame all the huggable and kissable moments of being a kid. This would be an adorable gift for a little one — for Valentine’s Day or any other day that you just want to give a squeeze!
8) Me Without You by Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling is at once wacky and dear and a perfect selection for Valentines young or old. From Sky Without Blue to Kanga Without Roo and Much Without Ado, most of the pages say three little words to complete a duo, whether or not those other three little words have been said or not. It’s utterly charming.
9) Kelly DiPucchio and Scott Campbell’s Zombie in Love makes me giggle and grin. Did you know the zombie craze was so alive and well in picture books? (Pardon the terrible pun!) Poor Mortimer. All he wants is a ghoul to love! The little bits of gross lean more toward wacky and cute, and Mortimer’s search is ultimately one romantic tale.
10) You Are My Cupcake by Joyce Wan has been making my baby shower rounds for a while now. Its candy-colored vibrancy strikes a perfect balance to the yummy terms of endearment we have for wee ones. And because it’s a board book, maybe it really is good enough to eat! If you’ve ever called your babe peanut, sweet pea, or pumpkin, this book is for you.
Your turn! What’s on your list of favorite Valentine-appropriate titles? I always love your recommendations.