By TMoM Team Member Ellen Bryant Lloyd

A great way to lift the doldrums of the cold, dreary month of February is with a day dedicated to celebrating love and relationships… Valentine’s Day! While Valentine’s Day may officially be just one day, why not carry the spirit of “heart” day throughout the month? Take time to cultivate your relationships, show love to friends, family and others you encounter with random acts of kindness or gestures expressing sentiment that comes from the heart. Reading books about love and relationships is another great way to help cultivate stronger and better relationships. You can see examples of what love looks like in books. Here are suggestions for picture books that address these topics.

We all know that the world can use a little more love, care, compassion, and kindness, so let’s start with our corner of the world. It will make a difference. Happy Valentine’s Month!

Chrysanthemum by Keven Henkes

This is a long-time favorite story about Chrysanthemum, who was named after a flower, and cultivating friendships. It is only after others tease Chrysanthemum about her name that she begins to wonder if it is as perfect a name as she once thought it was.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

This beloved classic is about a stuffed rabbit who becomes real by the love of a boy. This magical book about true love has been held close in many imaginations over many generations.

I Love You and Cheese Pizza by Brenda Li

Children will love Brian, a jeans-wearing pig with a big heart. Brian thinks the only thing he loves is cheese pizza, but he is oh, so wrong! This book is about how love is demonstrated by choosing to be kind, showing gratitude, and standing up for those who are not as strong.

The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond

The illustrator of the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book has written a sweet story that will touch the hearts of all readers. One day the sky opened up and rained hearts, prompting Cornelia Augusta to catch the hearts. She discovers each heart is special in its own way and decides they are perfect for making valentines.

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

Two simple words really can help change the world — be kind. This book features examples of what it means and looks like to be kind to others. From a classmate who wants to help another girl who spills juice all over her new dress to another girl inviting a new girl to play with her, this story offers easily relatable situations that other children can see themselves or others in as well.

Snowy Valentine by David Petersen

Jasper the bunny is on a quest to find a special gift for his loved one. He searches all through the forest valley through the snow and ends up sharing the ideal way to say “I love you.”

You’re Mean, Lily Jean by Frieda Wishinsky

Bossy friends and the challenge to stand up to them is the theme of this book. Lily Jean, the new kid on the block with a bullying attitude, moves in next door to sisters, Sandy and Carly. The two realize Lily Jean’s bad behavior is not okay and decide to address her mean ways and hopefully change them to good.

Meet February by April Martin

This cute story is highlighted by the lovable character, February, who wears a heart-themed outfit and is full of love for her friends. She teaches children about all the special things the month of February brings. After losing special valentines for everyone, her friends step in and help save the day so they all can celebrate Valentine’s Day together.

Little Blue Truck’s Valentine by Alice Schertle

Kids who love Little Blue Truck and all his antics will enjoy his Valentine’s Day tale. Little Blue Truck delivers special Valentine’s Day cards to his farm animal friends, but wonders if he will receive any of his own. This beautifully illustrated book has a special ending and a gatefold to delight all.

Love Is by Diane Adams

This is a sweet story of friendship and special times between a young girl and a duckling. Their experiences all while learning to understand what it looks like to care for each other will touch children of all ages.

Ellen Bryant Lloyd is a writer and mom of two children, one who has flown from the nest and the other is not far from it. She blogs about perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue, a freelance writer and memoir ghostwriter. Ellen lives in Greensboro with her husband, her daughter, when she is home from college, and the sweetest dog ever. She looks forward to seeing her son, who is now living and working in a nearby metropolitan city, as often as possible.

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