Looking for a sweet treat this Valentine’s Day? We’ve rounded up some heartwarming titles for young readers that celebrate love in all its forms. Join a lovesick Viking who must conquer the sea, a slug in need of a hug, a cynic who doesn’t believe in romance, and more.
Adriana Trigiani, illus. by Amy June Bates. Viking, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-20331-6. Ages 3-7.
Mia Valentina Amore loves valentines. When she wakes up on Valentine’s Day, her home is transformed into the House of Love. But when Mia doesn’t receive her own valentine, she wonders if Mama could have forgotten her.
How Do You Love? The Five Ways We Show We Care
Kellie Byrnes, illus. by Melina Ontiveros. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-77709-6. Ages 3-5.
This picture book shows children and adults expressing love in many ways through respectful touch, nice gestures, thoughtful gifts, kind words, and special times together.
Lynn Plourde, illus. by Jennifer L. Meyer. Little, Brown, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-316-70707-7. Ages 4-8.
Readers follow all kinds of animals and their valentines—from rabbits and puffins, to cougars and otters, to a bigger-than-big whale—in this cozy picture book celebration of love.
Mike Malbrough. Philomel, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-20352-1. Ages 4-8.
A child takes a magical journey in search of love, only to find that it lives everywhere, even in one’s own backyard.
Charlotte Sullivan Wild, illus. by Charlene Chua. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 ISBN 978-0-374-31372-2. Ages 4–8.
There’s only one person in Violet’s class she wants to go on adventures with: Mira, the girl with the cheeriest laugh, who races like the wind. Violet has made Mira a valentine, because Mira is magnificent. But what if she thinks Violet isn’t? The book received a starred review from PW.
Andrew Joyner. Random House Studio, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-37518-1. Ages 4–8.
Inspired by kids who found ways to stay connected to the people they love during the pandemic, this story is about what an imaginative and caring girl did when her world was turned inside out.
Meredith Crandall Brown. HarperCollins, $18.99 ISBN 978-0-06-302185-3. Ages 4-8.
Once upon a time, in a refrigerator not too far away, a jug of milk and a bottle of juice fell in love. All was bliss until Juice was taken away from his one true love and recycled. Thus begins Milk and Juice’s journey through many incarnations around the world. Will they ever be reunited?
Oceans of Love
Janet Lawler, illus. by Holly Clifton-Brown. Viking, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-32675-6. Ages 4-8.
This imaginary undersea journey shows ocean mothers as they care for their babies, each in their own way.
Rachel Bright, illus. by Nadia Shireen. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 ISBN 978-1-66590-046-1. Ages 4-8.
Doug the slug needs a hug. But no one seems willing. After a long search, lonesome Doug is ready to give up hope. But you never know when love might come flying by.
The Tinysaurs Send Love
Patricia Hegarty, illus. by Dean Gray. Tiger Tales, $10.99 ISBN 978-1-68010-280-2. Ages 3-7.
On Valentine’s Day, a time when Tinytown should be filled with laughter and love, no one is happy. The Tinysaurs learn that the mail hasn’t been delivered, so no one has received their valentines. They decide to try to make everyone happy.
Maggie Fischer, illus. by Todd Lauzon. Silver Dolphin, $7.99 ISBN 978-1-64517-760-9. Ages 3-5.
Kids are invited to roar along with the dinos in this rhyming board book.
Doug Cenko. Viking, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-20228-9. Ages 3-7.
Stig is the quintessential Viking guy. He loves fresh air, stew, and adorable kittens...but he hates the sea. Ingrid is the quintessential Viking gal. She loves all of the above and the sea. When Stig sees Ingrid, he falls head over heels. But there is one problem that stands in their way: the sea.
Mac Barnett, illus. by Carson Ellis. Chronicle, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-4521-7640-6. Ages 3-5.
“What is love?” a boy in a blue shirt asks his grandmother as she cuts flowers in front of their cottage. “I can’t answer that,” she says. “If you go out into the world, you might find an answer.” As he subsequently inquires, he finds that each person defines love as something that reflects them.
Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich. Wednesday, $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-80580-5. Ages 13 and up.
Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartthrobs in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. On a whirlwind tour, Zach and Ruben’s friendship evolves into a romance.
Edited by Ashley Herring Blake and Rebecca Podos. Running Press Kids, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-7624-7234-5. Ages 13 and up.
This collection of genre-bending stories celebrates how love always finds a way, featuring powerful flora, a superhero and his nemesis, a fantastical sled race through snow-capped mountains, a golf tournament, the wrong ride-share, and even the end of the world. See our story on the anthology here.
Jacqueline Firkins. Clarion, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-358-46714-4. Ages 14-up.
Harper works in her mother’s wedding shop and after years of watching squabbles break out over wedding plans, Harper thinks romance is a marketing tool. Her best friend Theo is her opposite: one date and he’s already dreaming of happily-ever-afters. When Theo’s shocked to find himself nursing his umpteenth heartbreak, Harper offers to teach him how not to fall in love. But as the lessons progress, Harper has a harder time upholding her end of the bargain.
Alice Oseman. Scholastic Press, $18.99 ISBN 978-1-338-75193-2. Ages 14-up.
Georgia doesn’t understand why she can’t crush and kiss and make out like her friends do. It’s not until she gets to college that she discovers the A range of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, and comes to understand herself as asexual/aromantic.
Serendipity: Ten Romantic Tropes, Transformed
Edited by Marissa Meyer. Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 Jan. 4 ISBN 978-1-250-78084-3. Ages 13–up.
From stories of first love, unrequited love, love that surprises, and love that’s been there all along, 10 YA authors take on popular romantic tropes, embracing them and turning them on their heads. See our close-up on the new anthology here.