25 Valentine’s Day Books for Toddlers That Get the Holiday Right

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Valentine's Day Books For Toddlers - A collage of the book covers from the article in front of a pink background with white spots.
Dasha Burobina for PureWow

It’s almost time to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and if you’ve got a toddler in your life that will likely involve crafting and festive storytime features. Here, a roundup of the very best Valentine’s Day books for toddlers that capture the spirit of the holiday in the best possible (and least snoozy) way. Read on and get ready for a library refresh.

28 Classic Children’s Books That Every Kid Should Read

1. “My Heart” by Corinna Luyken

Poetic and beautifully illustrated with hidden hearts on every page, this picture book from Corinna Luyken is an ode to all feelings. Plus, this emotional intelligence builder has an empowering message to boot: “My heart is a light, my heart is a guide. Closed or open I get to decide.”

2. “You Loves Ewe” by Cece Bell

Newberry Honoree Cece Bell wins storytime with yet another uproarious picture book in which homonyms create a confusing love triangle between a cranky, love-struck Yam, a not-so-sharp donkey and one seriously dreamy ewe (or is it you?)

3. “Love Is” by Diane Adams and Claire Keane

A little girl takes in a lost duckling she finds in the park and her ensuing relationship with the pet is equal parts labor and love. Alas, when the duck outgrows its accommodations, the girl must release it back to the pond and learn how to say goodbye. (Spoiler: The love is still strong on both sides…but parents, you might need a pack of tissues for this one.)

4. “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney

Charming illustrations bring to life a playful back and forth—a love duel, if you will—between a (rabbit) parent and child in this soothing and incredibly sweet story. Read it on Valentine’s Day and it will very likely become part of your regular bedtime rotation.

5. “I Love You to the Moon and Back” by Amelia Hepworth

Love and friendship take center stage in this book about a bear and cub’s blissful day together. The richly colored illustrations and simple rhyming text promise to keep even the most restless tot engaged, whilst conveying a sweet and sentimental message that’s just right for the occasion.

6. “The Love Letter” by Anika Aldamuy Denise

When Hedgehog, Bunny and Squirrel stumble upon a mysterious love letter, they learn that kindness is contagious and that love can be transformative. Adorable characters, charming illustrations and a clever conceit—this one has the makings of an instant classic.

7. “Viking in Love” by Doug Cenko

Parents and kids alike will delight in this hilarious, heartfelt and quirky story about a Viking dude who has to either face his fear of the sea or get super creative to woo the Viking woman of his dreams.

8. “Group Hug” by Jean Reidy

Jaunty rhyme, repetition and bold artwork combine in this cute, toddler-friendly story about kindness. The end result? A rollicking Valentine’s Day read-aloud that your kid will want to hear on repeat.

9. “Little Blue Truck’s Valentine” by Alice Schertle

If you have a toddler at home, there’s a good chance you’ve already memorized the original Little Blue Truck story. Here, the same charming formula gets a holiday makeover with eye-catching foil accents and a cute (albeit somewhat insubstantial) storyline about giving and receiving.

10. “The Day It Rained Hearts” by Felicia Bond

Cornelia Augusta does what anyone would do when the sky suddenly starts raining hearts—she collects them. Deciding what to do with them, however, is an entirely different matter. This whimsical story boasts beautiful watercolor-and-ink illustrations and a sweet message about thoughtfulness that little kids will surely benefit from.

11. ”Love from the Crayons” by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

Here, a collection of sweet and simple statements about love from a familiar and much-loved cast of crayon characters, courtesy of best-selling author Drew Daywalt and award-winning illustrator Oliver Jeffers (I.e., the dream team responsible for The Day the Crayons Quit).

12. “How to Send a Hug” by Hayley Rocco

This tender story about expressing love makes a strong case in favor of old-fashioned letter writing. Read it to your toddler and you’ll both be ready to send valentines with the utmost sincerity.

13. “Love, Escargot” by Dashka Slater

Love, Escargot—the third book in the award-winning Escargot series—-features a holiday mix-up and an irresistibly cute protagonist who, after overcoming his confusion and disappointment, realizes that friends can be found in the most unexpected places.

14. “Turkey’s Valentine Surprise” by Wendi Silvano

A mischievous turkey conjures up a bunch of silly surprises after his attempt to trick his friends by delivering valentines while wearing a disguise doesn’t go as planned. Playful and punny—this is a wildly entertaining read.

15. “What Is Love?” by Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett uses perspective and subtle humor to great effect in this fresh and relatable story about a little boy on a quest to discover the meaning of love. Prepare to be charmed.

16. “Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug” by Jonathan Stutzman

Tiny T. Rex has a big problem—namely that his extra short arms are poorly designed for giving hugs. Can he achieve the impossible? (Spoiler: With a little ingenuity and a lot of heart, he can.)

17. “Like the Moon Loves the Sky” by Hena Khan

This Islamic picture book combines gorgeous imagery with simple, elegant prose to deliver a powerful and universal message of motherly love.

18. “I Love You Like No Otter” by Rose Rossner

Adorable animals, rhyming text and lovey-dovey puns on every page—when it comes to Valentine’s Day books for the under-three set, this one is kind of a no-brainer.

19. “Caveboy Crush” by Beth Ferry

Neander falls head over heels with a short, hairy and perfect cavewoman who proves quite hard to impress. This adorably illustrated picture book is a bucket of laughs that all but guarantees toddler participation when read aloud. CRUSH!

20. “Love” by Matt de la Peña

Poetic, thoughtful and sensitive—Newberry Medal-winning author Matt de la Pena’s ode to love is a truly resonant read that’s perfectly suited for a quiet, tender moment with a tot.

21. “This Is Not a Valentine” by Carter Higgins

A little quirky and very endearing—this picture book from author Carter Higgins is a refreshingly honest and oh-so relatable love story that captures childhood sincerity, whilst celebrating everyday displays of affection.

22. “If Animals Said I Love You” by Anne Whitford Paul

The simple text in this story about lovable and loving animals features cheerful rhymes, brightly colored illustrations and a sprinkling of onomatopoeia for good measure. In other words, it’s a recipe for toddler read-aloud success.

23. “Llama Llama, I Love You” by Anna Dewdney

You can count on a quick read and an extra helping of tenderness from the beloved Llama Llama/Mama Llama duo on any holiday, and Valentine’s Day is no exception.

24. “I Love You Already” by Jory John and Benji Davies

Duck is so desperate to be loved by bear, he doesn’t realize he already is. This memorable story is well-written, unexpected and tremendously endearing.

25. “Porcupine Cupid” by Jason June

Porcupine tries to channel the spirit of Valentine’s Day by using his quills as arrows to play matchmaker, but his efforts aren’t well-received. Fortunately, the spiky critter uses his good intentions to turn things around before it’s too late. “Porcupine Cupid” combines holiday themes with positive messages about inclusivity in a way that’s funny and sweet, but never cloying.

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Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...