It's almost Valentine's Day, and Sprout's preschool is abuzz with hearts, red and pink decorations and fun cards from friends. We made our own Valentines this year -- be very impressed because, as you know, I am not a crafty mom! -- and Sprout's excited to give them out to his classmates. And of course we have been reading some wonderful books all about love, friendship and the spirit of the season.
This year I was excited to share with Sprout one of my favorite Valentine titles, Eileen Spinelli's Somebody Loves You Mr Hatch. This is a sweet story about the powerful ways a little love can change someone's life, and Sprout loved it just as much as his mama does. When lonely Mr. Hatch receives a box of chocolates with a note reading "Somebody loves you", it changes his whole life. Suddenly he's helping others, connecting with his neighbors, enjoying life. But then Mr. Hatch finds out that the valentine was meant for someone else. Now it's up to his neighbors to show Mr. Hatch just how special he is to all of them. This is a true classic, one of those few books I think should be read by, or to, everyone.
Sprout also really enjoyed Todd Parr's The I Love You Book. It's hard not to enjoy Parr's work, as vibrant as it is with color and such compelling kid appeal. This is a terrifically inclusive title, as most of Parr's other books are as well, all about the many, many ways we love one another. The art in this book is bound to inspire budding artists to create their own colorful valentines. And I like that we've got good and bad included in this title - as in "I love you when you are stinky" right across from "I love you when you are squeaky clean". 'Cause let's be honest - even the cutest little Valentine is stinky sometimes, right?
Last year I wrote about how tough it is to find multicultural Valentine's Day titles - and guess what, it hasn't gotten any easier. But I did run across one title this time that's got some diversity represented and is also pretty fun to read -- Natasha Wing's The Night Before Valentine's Day. Wing has a series of these "Night Before" titles, all based loosely around the poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas". In this outing, we get a sneak peek into one class's preparations for Valentine's Day, and then join in the fun of their class party. It's great to see a diverse group of kids here, and to have some humor in the mix with Heidi Petach's illustrations makes this choice all the sweeter!
Our final choice isn't a Valentine's Day book per se, but it's all about love, so it fits perfectly for us. What's Love? by Shelley Rotner and Deborah Carlin is a simple and impactful book about all the things, and people, in the world around us, that we love. From families to pets, from movement to music, this is a joyous celebration of love that's just right for sharing with little ones. Rotner's beautiful black-and-white photography makes this diverse pick even more perfect. Add it to your shelf for Valentine's Day, but read it all year round.
What are your favorite books for Valentine's Day? We'd love a peek at your list!