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Parenting’s Favorite Books About Love
Our staff shares their favorite children’s books that teach kids about the meaning of love
An Awesome Book of Love by Dallas Clayton
“It's like one long poem, and each page has a verse or two, along with very colorful illustrations. My favorite page has a picture of Earth, and says, ‘I'm aglow with a smile on my face/When I wonder what magic you'll make of this place/of this town, of this world/you'll transform your surroundings! The spirit inside you is truly astounding.’ I think it perfectly captures all the love, pride, and anticipation we all have as we look at our children.” – Deborah Skolnik, senior editor, Parenting
Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day by Norman Bridwell
“When my son Jav was little, we read Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day every year. Emily and Clifford make valentines to mail to Grams. At the post office, Clifford accidentally falls down the mail chute. Emily gets escorted down to try to find him (thank God dogs bark!). It ends with both of them getting a thank-you note from Grandma.” – Ana Mary Connery, content director, Parenting
- Balzer + Bray
Henry in Love by Peter McCarty
“Henry in Love is a sweet tale of a cat who loves a wild and feisty bunny named Chloe, also the name of my daughter. He's too shy to talk to her but finally one day the teacher moves desks so they sit next to each other. That's when he makes his big move, trading his freshly-baked muffin for her carrots at snack time. For a little kid, nothing says love like giving up your snack.” – Sasha Emmons, contributing editor, Parenting.com
- Hyperion Book CH
I Love My Mommy by Giles Andreae
“My son is 2 and we love reading I Love My Mommy. Besides the obvious reasons why I like reading it more than my husband does (LOL), the rhymes roll off my tongue, making it a fun and almost songlike read.
“But the best part is that even before my son was very verbal, he would act out some of the pages – like making noise on the page when the baby makes noise. It was so exciting to see that he understood the words even before he had the words to tell me that himself.” – Laura Anastasia, managing editor, Babytalk
- Dragonfly Books
Mother, Mother I Want Another by Maria Polushkin Robbins
“This was my favorite book growing up. I loved it because it's about a mouse who will do literally anything for her baby, even finding him a new mother. Of course what he wants is his own mother in the end.” – Jayna Maleri, senior editor, Parenting
- Applesauce Press
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
“An oldie, but a goodie, The Velveteen Rabbit teaches children the power of love by chronicling a stuffed bunny's quest to be real. Delving into tough issues like serious illness and bullying, this timeless classic has an emotional complexity not often found in modern children's books.” – Caroline Hallemann, partnerships editor, Parenting.com
Workman Publishing Company
Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
“I bought this for my son Aden when he was five or six (too old for a board book at that point, but I didn't care). I liked that it was sing-songy as it kept his attention, and he would imitate the dog yodeling. He didn't like reading and something silly like this surely helped.
Also, it was around the time he was really starting to have problems at school, and he was getting lots of negative feedback from teachers and other adults. There is a line in the book that goes, ‘Everything about you is especially fine. I love who you are, I love what you do.’ I always emphasized those lines as a way of telling him I still thought he was incredible. I even underlined those lines. He still has it on his shelf seven years later.” – Christina Vercelletto, deputy editor, Parenting
- Harper & Row
The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein
“With his simple illustrations and touching prose, Shel Silverstein constructs a brilliant fable about the trials and tribulations of looking for love. The moral is an enduring one for kids and adults alike: a relationship with other people can only work when we are happy with ourselves. And when we finally do find someone worthwhile, they’ll be able ‘roll’ alongside us and enjoy life as an equal. It's a lesson I keep coming back to, to this day.” – Elina Bolokhova, editorial assistant, Parenting.com
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
“This story of a mother bunny who will always love her baby, no matter what he does or who he is--he pretends to be a fish and a rock, among other things--is so comforting for a kid to hear. I remember my mom reading this book to me growing up. She always made the words feel so true (and still does!).” – Kate Goodin, managing editor, Parenting.com
Henry Holt and Co.
The Way Meat Loves Salt by Nina Jaffe
“A rabbi asks his three daughters how much they love him, and is furious when his youngest girl tells him that she loves him the way meat loves salt (in contrast to the easier-to-understand metaphors about diamonds and gold that her sisters use). Years later, she finally proves her point (spoiler alert!) by inviting her estranged father to her wedding banquet, which is cooked without salt.
It's such a sweet story about what really has value in life. I loved it as a little girl, and, to this day, I always think of it when I'm cooking!” – Rachel Slaff, social media editor, Parenting.com