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Stay true to your shelf with these children’s and young adult books that are perfect for Valentine’s Day

These reads will show your love well past Feb. 14.
Three books about Valentines Day
/ Source: TODAY

Show love to your valentine with a sweet book, no matter their age. From your littlest sweetheart to the ones who are swapping valentines in elementary school to even the one who might have their first 'real' crush, these reads will have them feeling lovey-dovey all season long.

From classic characters such as Spot, Junie B. Jones and Fancy Nancy to buzzy authors like Colleen Hoover, John Green and Jenny Han, show them how much you care with these books that will serve as reminders of your love long past Feb. 14.

Classic Valentine's Day picture books for kids | Best Valentine's Day picture books for kids | Best Valentine's Day books for early and middle readers | Valentine's Day novels for young adults

Classic Valentine's Day picture books for kids

“Love You Forever,” by Robert Munsch

Often classified as a tear-jerker by parents and children alike, this book can serve as a constant reminder for how long a parent’s love for their child lasts. Hint: it’s forever.

“Guess How Much I Love You,” By Sam McBratney

Published in 1994, you might remember reading this book aloud with your own parents. Now you can recreate childhood memories by reading this book aloud to your own children and remind them of the love you will always have for them.

“Llama Llama I Love You” by Anna Dewdney

If they’re fans of the “Llama, Llama” books, they’re sure to enjoy this board book featuring their favorite characters from the beloved series. In this board book, little Llama expresses his love for family and friends through hugs and cards in the shape of hearts.

"Lovely Things," by Dr. Seuss

Thing One and Thing Two share everything they love in this rhyming board book. From sharing & caring to hugging & blowing kisses, your child is sure to learn how to express their feelings this Valentine's Day.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!” by Laura Numeroff

If your child is a fan of the antics from “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie,” they are sure to love this Valentine’s Day version. Mouse makes Valentine’s for his friends, noting what he loves most about them within each one.

“Love from The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle

Rather than indulging in sweet treats and hamburgers, in this Eric Carle classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is instead expressing love for those they care about with food metaphors, among other adorable and sentimental phrases.

“I Love You, Spot” By Eric Hill

Your little Valentine can pull inspiration from this board book as Spot plans a surprise for his mom, showcasing how much he cares for and loves her.

“Arthur’s Valentine” by Marc Brown

If your child loves the TV show based off of the Arthur book series, they’re sure to enjoy this story that follows the iconic aardvark as he tries to figure out who his secret admirer is and all the antics that come with it.

"The Valentine Bears" by Eve Brunting and Jan Brett

"My mom used to read this to me as a kid," said Shop TODAY senior SEO editor Jess Bender. Kickstart your own tradition of reading holiday-themed books around the holiday with this one, which follows two bears celebrating Valentine's Day together for the first time, as they've hibernated in years' past.

"Little Miss Valentine," by Adam Hargreaves "

Before they were a widespread meme, you might remember these classic characters from your own childhood. Introduce your children to these lovable and adorable Little Miss and Mr. Men through this hardcover where they're shaped like hearts.

"Barbie's Valentine's Day Fun," by Cappi Novell

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Barbie in this fun board book that your children will love. Join Barbie as she hands out special gifts for her friends Stacie, Kelley, Teresa and more. She even has a special gift for the reader! What could it be?

Best Valentine's Day picture books for kids

“Kisses, Kisses Head to Toe,” by Karen Katz

Babies will love the lift-the-flap format with a mirror in back. Parents will love the excuse to give lots of kisses.

“Hello, Love!” by Taro Miura

How do animals greet each other? You might want to make like a fish with your toddler and touch noses.

“If Animals Said I Love You,” by Ann Whitford Paul

Another sweet board book imagines all the ways animals might say “I love you” like we do.

“Besos for Baby,” by Jen Arena and Blanca Gomez

This rhyming board book will inspire dozens of besos for the baby in your life.

"In My Heart: A Book of Feelings" by Jo Witek

In this book where any and all feelings are discussed, accepted and learned about, as they can heavy as an elephant or as lightweight as a kite. "It's a phenomenal way to teach young ones about all the various ways to feel, and how quickly we can bounce from feeling sad to happy. Plus, the heart cut-outs are adorable," said Shop TODAY holiday editor Rebecca Brown.

“This Is Not a Valentine,” by Carter Higgins and Lucy Ruth Cummins

This book swears it’s not a valentine because it trades hearts and flowers for drippy glue, paper planes and the jelly half of a peanut butter sandwich (which makes it that much more special).

“Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug,” by Jonathan Stutzman and Jay Fleck

It’s impossible to give a hug with tiny T. Rex arms, but this big-hearted dino is determined to show he cares.

"You Are My Happy," by Hoda Kotb

Hoda's book, inspired by her daughter and their nighttime routine, is all about gratitude for the things that make us happy, especially our little ones.

“Love, Z,” by Jessie Sima

Robot Z finds a message in a bottle that sends him on a quest to find out what love means in “Love, Z,” a heartwarming new book from Jessie Sima.

“I Need a Hug,” by Aaron Blabey

Porcupine can’t catch a break in his search for a hug, until he finds a snake in need of a kiss.

“Love,” by Matt de la Peña

“Love” celebrates love even in times of difficulty and darkness, and made waves for its imagery, including a child huddling under a piano while parents fight. But Matt de la Peña believes we shouldn’t shield children from darkness.

“I’m just so moved by the truth and reality that I felt like the poem was empty until I acknowledged that adversity exists in this world, and as a matter of fact, if we acknowledge the adversity or even elements of darkness, I feel like love can be even more powerful,” de la Peña told TODAY.

“What Is Love?” by Mac Barnett and Carson Ellis

A boy asks the age-old question, what is love? His grandmother can’t answer, so he ventures out and gets surprising answers from the people he meets along his journey in this thoughtful story reminiscent of classic fables.

“You Loves Ewe!” by Cece Bell

This sweet follow-up to the hilarious “I Yam a Donkey” finds Yam besotted with Ewe and Donkey as confused as you might be by that scenario.

“With Lots of Love,” by Jenny Torres Sanchez and André Ceolin

When Rocio moves to a new home, she misses her Abuela and other relatives, but love finds a way to transcend location.

“When I’m With You,” by Pat Zietlow Miller and Eliza Wheeler

Life is better as a pair in this sweet, rhyming ode to friendship that explores how friends can evolve and yet stay constant. “You’re the apple on my tree. You’re the honey to my bee. It doesn’t matter what we do. I am happier with you.”

"The Love Letter," by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Lucy Ruth Cummins

A love letter found in the forest makes a series of animals discover how it feels to be loved.

“Nosotros Means Us,” by Paloma Valdivia

This bilingual picture book imagines a mother and child shape-shifting through different animal types before discovering who they are meant to be.

“Group Hug,” by Jean Reidy and Joey Chou

A slug might not seem like your first choice for a hug, but this sweet gastropod has lots of love to give, and there’s room in the group hug for even the prickly and scary among us.

"Viking in Love," by Doug Cenko

Stig loves being a Viking — except for that whole ocean thing. When he encounters Ingrid, he'll need to enlist adorable kittens to help conquer the sea. It's a charming, funny love story with adorable kittens. Who could resist?

“Love Is,” by Diane Adams and Claire Keane

A little girl takes in a duckling and learns what love is — from noisy midnight feedings to sensing when the time is right to fly the nest. It might resonate as much with parents as their kids.

“My Heart,” by Corinna Luyken

Corinna Luyken’s “My Heart” is a visual poem that acknowledges the times when a child’s heart is cloudy or broken or a whisper but ends with a sunny sense of ownership of those feelings. Hunt for hidden hearts on each page.

“Caveboy Crush,” by Beth Ferry and Joseph Kuefler

When Neander finds someone short, hairy and perfect, he must find a way to impress his crush. Turns out crushing things is strangely ineffective.

“Like the Moon Loves the Sky,” by Hena Khan and Saffa Khan

A mother lovingly distills her hopes and dreams for a child’s life.

“Porcupine Cupid,” by Jason June and Lori Richmond

When Porcupine uses his quills as cupid’s arrows, he brings the other animals together — to confront his poking problem.

“A Hug Is for Holding Me,” by Lisa Wheeler

A look around the natural world shows all kinds of hugs that feel like home.

“Because You’re Mine,” by Nancy Tillman

The new title from the “Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You” author tells children there’s nothing the world can do to stop a parent’s love.

“I Love You More Than,” by Taye Diggs and Shane W. Evans

In this fatherly love story from Taye Diggs, dad might not be with his child as often as he likes, but his love fills the distance between them.

“The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs,” by Mark Sperring

The sweet, rhyming text celebrates all the little creatures (like yours) that are “ever so clever at giving a hug.”

“I Love You Already!” by Jory John

Duck just wants cranky Bear to like him. It may surprise them both that he already does.

"Me & Mama," by Cozbi A. Cabrera

This 2021 Caldecott Honor picture book is an ode to mom from a child's point of view.

“Love, Mama,” by Jeanette Bradley

Saying goodbye to Mama is tough, but a letter makes all the difference in this comforting tale of love that can cross any distance.

Best Valentine's Day books for early and middle readers

“Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime,” by Barbara Park

A well-loved series by elementary school children everywhere, this book follows Junie B. as she tries to solve the mystery as to who sent her a larger-than-life valentine.

“Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer,” by Jane O’Connor

For young readers who enjoyed the picture books, now they can read Fancy Nancy’s chapter books. This specific one follows Fancy Nancy and her friend Bree as they decide to play cupid on Valentine’s Day, matching up their friends left and right.

“Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: The Valentine’s Day Secret,” by Carolyn Keene

Secret admirers, step aside. In this new-age Nancy Drew novel, Nancy gets caught in the middle of her friends’ fight after someone slips a mean note into one of their valentines. Get to the bottom of things with Nancy as she tries to make all well again.

“The Princess Diaries,” by Meg Cabot

Before the big screen, Mia Thermopolis and the city of Genovia lived in these pages. This middle-reader book was released 24 years ago, meaning it’s spanned multiple generations and can be passed down for years to come.

“Drama,” by Raina Telgemeier

Recommended for ages eight and older, this graphic novel not only displays the acts of drama that unfold onstage, but behind the curtain as well. Main character Callie really wants a part in the school play — despite being unknowledgeable about the theater process. Enter two brothers that everyone’s crushing on and let the drama commence.

"Girl In Blue," By Ann Rinaldi

For a book that merges historical fiction with romance, introduce young readers to both genres with this novel that takes place in 1861. Sarah Louisa escapes home because she doesn't want to be married off to her neighbor and instead finds herself as a soldier in the Civil War. There, she meets a detective and the real adventure begins.

"Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreak" by Rachel Renee Russell

In this novel from the well-loved series "Dork Diaries," Nikki is anticipating getting asked to the big dance by her crush, Brandon. Enter Mackenzie, who might foil her plans. Middle-school readers might be able to relate to this novel that navigates the world of first crushes.

Valentine's Day novels for young adults

“All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven

If your teen is a fan of the movie adaptation on Netflix, they are sure to love the book even more, as reviewers note that “the book is so much better.” Another reviewer believes this book “deserves all the stars, not just five,” meaning your young adult will be hooked from the get go with this novel.

“Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon

This is one of two young adult novels that Nicola Yoon has written that have a movie counterpart, if that further entices your teen to read more. In this novel, main character Maddy is highly allergic to the outside world, and has never tested the limits to her allergies until the new boy next door, Olly.

"The Summer I Turned Pretty," by Jenny Han

If your teenager is a fan of the hit television series, she will definitely appreciate the book version of "The Summer I Turned Pretty." She'll love reading about Belly's summer romances and be posting a "Team Jeremiah or Team Conrad?" Instagram poll in no time.

“The Fault In Our Stars,’’ by John Green

Although this YA romance made its debut in 2014, its wide net of fans have been captivated by the works of John Green ever since. This romance book follows two characters whose lives have been impacted by cancer, leading them to falling even more in love as they truly understand one another. John Green has written novels for young adults and more mature audiences, so when they’re ready to read more, he has a list of books for them to complete.

“Every Summer After” by Carley Fortune

Your teen will enjoy this “beautifully told” romance story, especially if they’re missing warm weather and the ability to jump into a lake. This novel tells the story of Percy and Sam as they navigate their friendship, romantic relationship and heartbreak over the course of six summers together.

“It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover

If they haven’t yet picked up this popular book by Colleen Hoover that has surely dominated their TikTok For You Page, reviewers love this book because it’s “captivating” and they had a “hard time putting it down.”

“Red, White and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston

For the teen who is obsessed with all things royal family or American politics, give their brain a break from reality and instead immerse themselves in this romance between America’s First Son and the Prince of Wales. “I cannot express how beautiful this this book is,” said one reviewer.

“Heartstopper” by Alice Oseman

In the first volume of this comic book series, this “coming-of-age” novel between two high school boys — one a more reserved and introverted teen, the other a rugby player — is also a Netflix series. Reviewers love this book because it’s “absolutely adorable,” an “honest” story and an “easy read.”

"Book Lovers" by Emily Henry

Rated by Barnes and Noble as one of the best books of 2022, it helped to solidify Emily Henry as a well-loved writer of the romance genre. It's Hallmark movie meets literacy in this novel, as the big city literary agent moves to a small town to look after her little sister — and ends up meeting someone special in this enemies-to-lovers romance.

“Once Upon A Broken Heart” by Stephanie Garber

Your teen will come to “cherish” this novel such as other reviewers have, as this romance story is “so fast paced, so engaging.” The story follows Evangeline Fox, as she learns the love of her life is going to marry someone else. In order to stop him from doing so, she exchanges a deal with the Prince of Hearts, whose end of the bargain is three kisses, wherever and whenever he chooses.

"To All the Boys I've Loved Before," by Jenny Han

If they're avid fans of the movie series, gift them with the set of novels for Valentine's Day, and they can read more details about Laura Jean's coveted letters that land her in a whirlwind romance with her middle school crush, Peter Kavinsky.