As Valentine's Day approaches I notice that lots of fellow bloggers are sharing all things love and romance. But I shared a list ...

Books for Valentine's Day about Real Love

Wednesday, February 06, 2019 BookBairn 8 Comments

As Valentine's Day approaches I notice that lots of fellow bloggers are sharing all things love and romance. But I shared a list of books last year about love in a more romantic and Valentine's based sense so this year I wanted to try and take a slightly different point of view and share books that celebrate one of the strongest loves there is. That between a parent and a child. Not the romantic sort of whimsical something from fiction love but real realistic love. Becoming a parent has changed me thoroughly and completely and have a very different perspective on life and on love. And one of the ways I like to share with the bairns how much I love them is through the stories we read and we have a great selection. These aren't all the books we have on the topic - it would be a much longer blog post - so I wanted to share with you a selection of the ones that we enjoy best.

Emma Dodd's Love Series

Emma Dodd writes the most wonderful books about parental love. The love between a parent and a child is such a magical thing and quite tricky to capture well but Emma's words do a superb job of capturing that everlasting, all-encompassing, forgiving love.  And I think Emma captures it so well in her books but in a poetic, beautiful bedtime story sort of prose. The illustrations are also beautiful and if you get the paperback or hardback (not board book) editions every other page has foil details that make the illustrations really shine! As you can see from the photograph our copies are well-loved: I think I have read 'Me" (it's our favourite) over a thousand times. And I'm not exaggerating. It's one that we can all recite from heart (except The Wee Page Turner who is still keeping his voice to himself!) If that doesn't tell you how much we love this one I don't know what I could say to convince you further. We love the whole series and frequently pick them up in the library. And the new release What Matters Most is a lovely story which explores the themes of identity and acceptance encouraging parents and children to think about the simple joys in life. And shows a parent and child exploring them together. (It's released 7th February so just in time for Valentine's Day.)

Love is... by Diane Adams & Claire Keane

Simply this book describes what Love is. It is the story of a little girl who finds a duckling lost and abandoned in the street so she takes it in to look after it. Each page begins "Love is..." and some of my favourite lines include:

"Love is noisy midnight feedings, show box right beside the bed."

"It's early mornings, messy bath times, tidying up, and settling down."

If that's not real love... Perhaps I appreciate this book so much because having a duckling is a lot like having a new baby to look after! Written in rhyming phrases (although the ones I've shared are only part of the rhyming phrase) it is a lovely read aloud story. And will help you share that you want to love and protect your little ones until they are ready to fly on their own. The colour palette is very soft and the illustrations are simply enchanting - baby duckling is so cute you will want one of your own!

Under the Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup

We all live under the same sky and we experience many of the same hopes and dreams and emotions wherever we are. We feel the same love. We face the same storms. In this beautiful lyrical text, Britta Teckentrup celebrates and cherishes all that we have and share. Despite different colours, environments and experiences, as are depicted in her stunning illustrations of animal families all around the world, we all are under that same sky. This is a magical story that will help you feel close as you read together and would be a lovely one to read if you are away from a loved one. We actually bought this book as part of The Busy Box Little Loves Special Edition Box last Valentine's Day and it came with some great goodies including positive 'yes mum' affirmation kids for kids and a box of crayons in all different skin tones as well as paper to draw lots of different people under the same sky. It makes a lovely Valentine's gift for little bairns.

You're Safe with Me by Chitra Soundar & Poonam Mistry

If you're looking for something utterly unique, the illustrations in this book will absolutely take your breath away. This is a beautiful story about bedtime in the Indian forest and all the baby animals are afraid of the storm. But Mama elephant is on hand with her kind words of wisdom that will reassure them. "You're safe with me." Isn't that what all children want to hear when the are afraid? With all the elements of a fable, but reads like a folktale and illustrations that will make you gasp at their intricacy, this is a perfect bedtime story. The illustrations are so intricate and magical that they beautifully capture the loving relationship between mama and the animals as well as the wondrous world around them. The follow-up books You're Snug with Me is equally as wonderful!

You Can Never Run Out of Love by Helen Docherty & Ali Pye

One of the things that it's lovely to remind our children is that our love is endless and will always grow and make room for more. Especially if children are adjusting to a new sibling or a life change of some kind. And this lovely book holds a very simple message: You Can Never Run Out of Love. Written in rhyming prose it shares all the things that you can run out of: batteries, patience, time, milk, nappies, energy; but puts them in contrast with the one thing we can never run out of: love. Such a simple message but truly wonderful to share with little ones (and big ones!).

"You can't measure love in a bucket or cup.
You don't have to worry you'll use it all up.
'Cos love's not a game, where you have to keep score.
Whenever you give some, you'll always have more."

With Your Paw in Mine by Jane Chapman

Isn't it adorable that otters hold hands as they drift and sleep? It's an image that is synonymous with love. So this lovely book based around just that! When Miki is young, she holds tight to her mother's paw each day and night. And as she grows she finds a special friend to hold paws with too. During a storm, as danger comes, the otters hold tight to each other and the raft of otters grows and grows as more otters join the bond. Such a beautiful story about belonging.

I'll Love You Forever by Owen Hart & Sean Julien

This is such a wonderfully nurturing story of a little polar bear cub and his grown-up as they travel through the seasons in their wintry landscape. Although the snow melts and the leaves turn golden, little cub learns to rely on the guidance, reassurance and love of their carer bear. This is a wonderful portrayal of the steadfast love between a parent and child - never faltering despite changing conditions, landscapes and challenges. The lack of defining the gender or even age of the characters means that it is a lovely book for mothers and fathers, grandparents and older siblings to share with little readers. And the beautiful landscapes and scenes with throw you and those little ones into the story together.

Edie by Sophy Henn

This is perhaps and odd choice as at it's core this book isn't really about love or parenting. It's about a little girl called Edie who is filled with excitement and unintended mischief. But I want to include it here as no matter what mischief she gets up to - and she gets up to lots - at the end her family all love her just the way she is. And that's an important message of love too. (And also I adore this pained illustration on the parents' faces after Edie has drawn on the wall - that's real parenting right there and therefore it's real love!)

Isle of You by David LaRochelle & Jaime Kim 

Based around this incredibly clever play on word Isle of You plays on the idea that when children are worried or suffering with anxiety, loneliness or are feeling sad they can always travel to the Isle of You. A magical land where all your dreams can come true: you can dance with roller skating polar bears, soar on the back of an eagle, or even discover hidden treasure! With dreamy illustrations and a calming story this will help soothe little children at bedtime and leave them with that little reminder - that you love them. This book is subtle and perfect.

How far can a small act of kindness travel? This book is such a sweet tale of little Edwyn who shares a kiss with his grandma who then shares it with the people that she meets that need it. Learning to be observant of the feelings of others, and sharing small acts of kindness is the central message of this book and with a fairytale feel it is a truly heart-warming story. The illustrations are magical and I love the clever bringing to life of the kiss

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram

This classic needs little explanation as to why it's on the list! I love you all the way to the moon and back is a great final line to read with your little ones right before they drift off to sleep.

A Hug is For Holding Me by Lisa Wheeler & Lisk Feng

"Look around and you will see all the things a hug can be!"

This is such a sweet and cosy book to cuddle up and read together. It's all about the love and affection and invites children to engage with the natural world in a fresh new way. Hugs can be the egg with a little bird inside, the cocoon of a caterpillar, the flower bud and the seashell. I love how beautifully nature is interwoven in the poem. But what about the hug between parent and child? Well that's something extra special.

"So Many things a hug can be be. 
So much a hug can do.

Your hug was made for holding me...

... my hug is for holding YOU!"

Under the Love Umbrella - Davina Bell & Allison Colpoys

This book is quite simply a celebration of the joy and comfort that love can bring. And of course that's not simple feat to achieve in a short picture book. And yet this book does all that and more. It captures the everlasting, all-reaching, breadth and depth of love. For children knowing that they are loved no matter where they are, what they do helps them to grow and learn to be independent. And for parents that's one of the most important things that you want for your child: for them to know that you will always love them. Always and everywhere. Not only does this book help parents share this message and children believe it, it is a beautiful book. Each word chosen so carefully. And each brushstroke, colour choice has been given equal consideration. Of the books I've included here this is definitely one that I can share with BookBairn but I share it with her as much for myself. Because this is a picture book for grown ups too!

Some other books we like the look of but don't own:

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman - we borrowed this from a friend and it's so good!
That's Me Loving You - Amy Rouse Rosenthal- this one looks adorable in both the board book and picture book formats.

You can find all these books saved in our new section on the shop here:

BookBairn's Amazon Shop

So I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day! And you have someone you love to share a story with.
Kim and the bairns xx

Disclaimer: these are all our choices. Some were sent from publishers (others are books that I have bought myself) but they were not sent in connection with this post. Their inclusion here is my choice. Because I really do think they are great. Please read our Review Policy  if you want to know more. If you click on the image of the book below you will be sent to using an affiliate link.  This means that if you choose to purchase on, I will receive a small sum (around 20-90p per book) from Amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog post please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our For Readers Section.

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  1. These books all sound great. I particularly like the sound of “Isle of You”. What a great title and a great concept.

  2. Oh my days I want then all!!!!!

  3. Definitely feeling the love reading this post! Happy Valentine's from #readwithme

    1. Hope you and the girls have a love-ly Valentines Day!

  4. This is a gorgeous selection, we love The Kiss and Emma Dodd does make some beautiful books. #Readwithme

    1. Thanks so much! There are so many good books like this that it's hard to narrow it down!