Valentine’s Day is approaching. We have never been the kind of people to really indulge in this holiday. We aren’t about the fancy roses or the decadent chocolates being shared ONLY on this day (I’ll take flowers and chocolates any day!). I don’t love the branding for Valentine’s Day – the hearts, flowers, etc. I do, however, love the opportunity that this day gives us. It allows us the chance to be reminded about doing nice things for the people we love (which as we all know, should be done regularly). Life gets busy and sometimes, sending those thank you notes gets forgotten. I like to think about Valentine’s Day as a chance to refocus, and think about the ways we already incorporate love and kindness into our lives, and where we might improve (maybe I am going to write 5 more thank you letters to my co-workers this year just to thank them for the little things they do).
As always, I think that using books is an amazing way to teach kids about life. Friendships and love can be complicated. But somehow, reading about these topics in a picture book and being drawn into the stunning illustrations captivates us and makes these messages easier to talk about. Skillful authors can find the right words that help deliver an important message. Check out the titles below for some awesome reads about love, friendship and kindness that you can share with the ones you love.
Tilly and Tank by Jay Fleck
A sweet and funny picture book that looks at the blossoming friendship between an elephant and a tank and encourages kids to make friends, not war.
Tilly the elephant is taking her morning stroll when she notices something strange on the horizon. Is it another elephant? The newcomer has a trunk and tail, but he’s a very curious shade of green. Tank, on the other hand, notices an odd-looking creature approaching. It has a barrel and a turret, like Tank, but is a curious shade of blue. Is it a new enemy tank? Tank’s alarm sounds and he goes BOOM, scaring Tilly off. But when Tilly returns with a flower, Tank begins to understand that she might not be an enemy at all.
Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear and Esme Shapiro
Sometimes the unlikeliest friends form the greatest friendships. A funny, charming picture book from a dynamic duo.
Friends Yak and Dove are complete opposites. Yak is large and Dove is small. Yak has fur and Dove has feathers. Yak is polite. Dove is ill-mannered. Yak likes quiet. Dove likes noise. One day as Yak and Dove list their differences they come to the conclusion that maybe they aren’t meant to be friends. In the hope of finding a new best friend, Yak holds auditions. But when a small feathered contestant sings Yak’s favorite song, the two begin to think that maybe they are alike after all . . .
Yak and Dove whimsically captures the highs and lows of friendship through the three interconnected tales of two very different friends.
On the Night of the Shooting Star by Amy Hest and Jenni Desmond
For solitary neighbors Bunny and Dog, reticence overcomes curiosity — until something extraordinary happens to nudge them into friendship.
Bunny and Dog live on opposite sides of the fence. Every morning, first thing, Bunny looks through the fence and the tall grass at Dog. And every morning, first thing, Dog looks through the fence and the tall grass at Bunny. Yet neither one says hello. Or hi. Or nice to see you today. But then, one night, Bunny and Dog both see a shooting star zip through the sky. Could this shared moment be the start of a friendship? From storyteller Amy Hest and artist Jenni Desmond comes a lyrical, touching, and timely picture book about finding the courage to say “I could be your friend.”
Love by Matt de la Pena and Loren Long