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One of the things I love most about having little ones is that it really takes the pressure off of Valentine’s Day for me. Instead of all the expectations of big and grandiose gestures from my single and newly wed days, now it’s mainly a fun holiday to celebrate with my three little girls.
A fun breakfast, a few chocolates, and some simple decorations and it is a holiday our whole family can enjoy. Of course, as a children’s librarian and huge bookworm one of my favorite ways to celebrate is with a stack of festive books that I can read with my babies.
And if my husband and I can sneak in a little date, well, that’s just the icing on the cake.
Here are 10 of our family’s favorite choices, perfect for babies and toddlers.
Counting Kisses by Karen Katz
This is one of our most beloved books – our copy is practically shredded. The whole family helps put the baby to bed, kissing different body parts from ears to toes, counting down from 10 to one. The bright colors and sweet illustrations are just darling.
The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond
This book is a reprint of the 1983 version (it used to be called Four Valentines in a Rainstorm) and is so sweet, about a little girl walking home in a rainstorm of hearts. She catches them and takes them home to make cards for her friends, each of them unique. It’s the coziest little book and perfect to read before making valentines of your own.
Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli
I LOVE Leslie Patricelli. Her simple illustrations and colored backgrounds are so easy on baby eyes and the simple text is perfect for little ones (plus, it doesn’t take forever to read – a big plus when you want to read a quick story and toss everyone in bed).
I Ruff You by Sandra Magsamen
Board book meets stuffed animal in this darling little book with plush ears sticking out of the top. This book details all the ways that the mommy “ruffs” her baby.
Here Comes Valentine Cat by Claudia Rueda
Claudia Reuda’s holiday series is amazing (check out the Santa Cat one!). In this one, the off-screen narrator tries to convince Cat to make a valentine for the neighbor dog. Cat, unsurprisingly, is not convinced. My girls howl with laughter over these books, and so so I.
My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
I haven’t met many little ones who don’t love animals, and this clever book has zoo animals made entirely out of different-sized and colored hearts. The best part is the ending, where the zookeeper turns out to be a little child snuggled in bed with all his stuffed animals.
Snowy Valentine by David Petersen
When a rabbit sets out to find a gift for his wife, he queries animals all over the valley, including a brush with a fox who wants to make the rabbit into a Valentine’s stew. In the end, his walk creates footprints in the shape of a giant heart.
Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
We throw around the phrase “planting a kiss” all the time – but what would that really look like? This beautiful and glittery book shows a little girl planting a kiss and the amazing growth that comes out of it. It’s just a magical little story and I always love a book with an unusual shape (this one is long and thin).
Hug by Jez Alborough
This little monkey needs a hug, but every time he asks a friend, they turn to their mothers and hug them instead. Can Bobo get a hug for himself? (Make sure you steal a hug for yourself at the end of the book).
A Kiss for Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak
These Little Bear books have been favorites of mine since my own childhood. They have that old-fashioned feel, sweet stories, and no one illustrates like Maurice Sendak (he’s most famous for Where the Wild Things Are
This post is written by children's librarian (and self-proclaimed bookworm), blogger and mom Janssen Bradshaw. Read more from Janssen on her blog, Everyday Reading.
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Valentine's Children's Books Giveaway