With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, stock up on the best children’s books to read with kids.
From sweet to silly to yes, even gross, find the best kids’ books for the holiday.
(These make wonderful non-candy gift options, too.)
I’ve divided the books into board books for babies and toddlers, picture books for preschool age up to upper elementary, and activity books for elementary and up.
Best Valentine’s Day Books
Counting Kisses: A Kiss & Read Book by Karen Katz
If you don’t already have a Karen Katz book, run to buy several — they’re interactive, fun, and addictive. Counting Kisses will have you kissing your child throughout the entire book. “10 little kisses on teeny tiny toes.” A great bedtime book for all year-round.
The I Love You Book by Todd Parr
Unconditional love in Todd Parr’s characteristic colorful style . . . You’ll love this book of love. Your little one’s fingers will want to push and poke the puffy heart cover, too.
We Love Each Other by Usuke Yonezu
Die-cut colorful shapes (hearts, circles, triangles) of friendly animals (mice, birds, turtles) match up together to show love. “Rabbits love each other.” The last animals are cats, made from yellow rectangles and triangles with a little kitty, too. A sweet book to read again and again.
LOVE from the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
If you’re an Eric Carle fan like me, you’ll love this new book showcasing his classic illustrations of love!
Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli
We love Leslie Patricelli’s board books (Yummy Yucky is an all-time favorite!) Huggy Kissy is super cute and lovable for your bald-baby lovers who love hugs and kisses.
Where is Baby’s Valentine? A Lift the Flap Book by Karen Katz
See if you can help baby find the special card she’s made for mama. Lift the flap for Valentine’s Day fun!
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
Mouse makes special Valentine’s Day cards for each of his friends, taking into consideration each friend’s personality.
Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
On the day it rained hearts, Cornelia catches one after another. She takes them home and thoughtfully makes Valentine’s Day cards for her friends.
This is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Two good friends, a boy and a girl, want it to be clear that their gifts to each other are tokens of a good friendship — NOT Valentine’s Day gifts. Readers must notice the illustrations to find the gifts… gifts like a ring from a grocery store machine, a picture, a paper airplane, and a frog from science class. It’s a sweet story about a friendship that doesn’t need to be celebrated on just one day because they are friends on all the days.
The Night Before Valentine’s Day by Natasha Wing and Heidi Petach
What are the kids doing this special night? They’re getting supplies and making cards for friends.
Queen of Hearts (Ann Estelle Stories) by Mary Engelbreit
My kids love this picture book the most! Ann Estelle is making the best, most decorated box for her cards. She gets so involved with this that she forgets all about making her friends cards. But once she realizes, even though it’s last minute, she uses the decorations on her box to make cards.
Click, Clack, Moo I Love You! by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Little Duck welcomes the animals to the Valentine’s Day Dance. At first, all the animals stick with their own groups. Until Little Fox arrives. Should the animals be afraid of this carnivore? No! Little Duck welcomes Little Fox, too and they start dancing. Soon the pigs dance with the chickens, the chickens dance with the sheep, and they all dance until the cows come home. A fun, sparkly book about the richness of friendships with others who aren’t in our “group”.
I Love You Already! by Jory John and Benji Davies
We love this book — is so hilarious especially if you know an introvert and extrovert who must figure out how to make their friendship work. Duck LOVES to talk and be together. Bear loves quiet, lazy alone time. You can imagine the miscommunications that happen. But no matter what, they are reminded that they don’t need to earn each other’s love, they love each other already.
Mr. Prickles A Quill-Fated Love Story by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Scott Magoon
Mr. Prickles and Mrs. Pointypants learn a valuable lesson about friendship and love in this charming story with plenty of puns and alliterations. “He tried to join in their midnight picnicking but it was pointless.”
Love Monster and the Last Chocolate by Rachel Bright
When the Love Monster receives a box of chocolates, he really doesn’t want to share — but he knows that he should so even though it’s hard, he runs to his friends to share all the chocolates. But lucky for him, the chocolates are from his friends and they want him to eat them all.
Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia
Rueda Cat’s NO-Valentines zone is in effect but Dog might just change Cat’s mind. You’ll reread this new Valentine’s Day book many times — it’s sweet and funny.
Love You: A Pop-Up Book by David A. Carter
Each two-page spread tells the reader a sweet message such as “you are blossoms in the sky” plus “(eye symbol) love you“. But what makes this book stand out are the exquisite pop-ups that are colorful, geometrical, delicate, and exquisite. Gift this to your favorite adult or child! (I posted a quick video of the interior on Instagram here.)
Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda
Learn about the Roman man named Valentine who helped a blind girl and sent her a secret message. Illustrated with exquisite paper mosaics.
Will You Still Love Me If . . .? by Eve Tharlet
We all make mistakes, just like Little Bear. He worries. Will his mama still love him if he tears his clothes, gets a bad grade at school, or was big, ugly, and green? And what about if mama died, would she love him then? Mama tells Little Bear she’ll always love him. No matter what.
Foxy in Love by Emma Dodd
Foxy is back and he’s helping Emily make Valentine’s Day card. And when he might make raccoons instead of balloons, it’s magical and very funny!
Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio
Get ready to laugh while grossing out just a little! Mortimer does everything he can think of to find a Valentine — personal ads, books, dance lessons, but nothing works. At the Cupid’s Ball, he manages to scare off every girl but one — a zombie named Mildred.
The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever by Brenda Ferber and Tedd Arnold
You’ll love this hilarious take on Valentine’s Day — which is perfect with Tedd Arnold’s illustrations. (Love him!) You see, when Leon starts to make his crush, Zoey Maloney, a Valentine’s Day card, his card is NOT happy. In fact, the card is totally grossed out and escapes out the window. As Leon races after his card, he hears advice from girls, boys, and teens. Advice like “eew” and “romantic” and “risky.” DOWNLOAD the free activity kit here.
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Paul Yalowitz
When a secret admirer sends Mr. Hatch a Valentine with a card that says someone loves him, it changes Mr. Hatch from a boring, drab man to be more interactive and interested in others and his life. But when the postman returns for the card, having delivered it to the wrong person, Mr. Hatch’s new friends help him remember that he is still loved.
Rose Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat
Gilbert writes several not very kind cards to his friends, signing them from a different person. The cards are read, feelings are hurt, and Gilbert needs to fix his mistake.
Mr. Goat’s Valentine by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Kevin Zimmer
Mr. Goat wants to buy his love special gifts. What he gets will delight young readers — and they’re all perfectly wonderful!
Little Treasures Endearments from Around the World by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, illustrated by Chris Raschka
Although this isn’t really a Valentine’s Day book, it seemed fitting. This book captures all the sweet names we call children, names like pumpkin and honey, from all around the world. The Brits call their children poppet and love. The Aussies call their children lamb chop and possum. If you watched Pepe Le Pew you’ll know this French term of endearment, mon petit chou, which means little cabbage. Russians say solnyshko which means sunny sun. Ugandans say kabiite, or pampered one. And Chinese families call children xiao pie dou, little mischievous pea.
Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril
Amelia is a child who in this simple and silly story, gets her first Valentine’s Day card. But she accidentally forgets her cards on the bus and must problem solve so she can give her classmates their cards.
Love, Splat by Rob Scotton
Splat wants to give Kitten a Valentine but he’s too shy. And, Spike (Splat’s rival) also likes Kitten! What’s a cat to do? I adore Splat and think you will as well.
How to Help a Cupid by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with this cute, rhyming story about a group of kids helping a cupid stuck in a tree — and show him how to craft Valentine’s Day crafts.
What I Love About You by Me
Fill in the blanks to tell your special person what it is you love about them! It’s a great gift for moms and dads from kids or from spouses.
Pinkalicious Cupcake Cookbook by Victoria Kann
Talk about truth in advertising – an absolutely pinked-up book of delicious sweet treats with ideas for cupcakes, cake pops, cakes and my favorite, character cupcakes from the Pinkalicous books! We can’t wait to try them all. Okay, my daughter can’t wait. Me, maybe I’ll just have a bite. 😉
Valentine Activity Book by Noelle Dahler
These small Dover Activity Books make great non-candy gifts! My kids love getting these little books throughout the year.
Vintage Valentines (Press Out Book) by Golden Books
This is a sweet and nostalgic book that will transport you and your kids back in time.
** My all-time favorite chapter book about Valentine’s Day is Attack of the 50-ft Cupid (Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist) by Jim Benton. Have you read it? Hilarious!
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Free Printable Valentine’s Day Treasure Hunt