There are plenty of books for kids and teens that are explicitly about Valentine's Day, which are fairly easy to find. Today, I'm sharing books that don't necessarily talk directly about Valentine's Day, but which embody the fun and the spirit of the holiday. Links are to my reviews, when available.
Babies & Toddlers
- My Lucky Little Dragon by Joyce Wan
In this board book, a series of colorful animals introduce sweet pet names for parents to call their little ones.
- Grandma Calls Me Gigglepie by J.D. Lester, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata
This is another board book about animal nicknames, this time celebrating the special relationship between young children and their grandmothers.
- The Nice Book by David Ezra Stein
This book shares a long list of reminders about how to be nice, accompanied by abstract illustrations of various wild animals showing signs of affection.
- All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri
Different baby animals love to be kissed in different ways - but nobody's kiss is better than Mommy's!
- The Way I Love You by David Bedford and Ann James
A spirited little girl loves her sweet dog in many ways.
- Always by Emma Dodd
An baby elephant's parent reminds the baby that he will always be loved even when he sometimes misbehaves.
- Henry in Love by Peter McCarty
Henry, a young cat, falls in love with a girl named Chloe and declares his devotion by sharing his delicious blueberry muffin. One of the only age-appropriate love stories for kids under five!
- A Hug Goes Around by Laura Krauss Melmed
This book celebrates the love of family as they mark their day with hugs.
- My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
Colorful geometric shapes come together to make different animals, who express a range of emotions from anger to love.
- I Love Animals by Flora McDonnell
A little girl loves all the animals on the farm, and they love her right back!
- Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean
No matter what he steps in or how stained they become, Pete the Cat loves his white shoes - and loves to sing about them, too!
- Panda Kisses by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Kay Widdowson
A little panda tests out all kinds of kisses to find out which is best.
- Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated by Florence Parry Heide and Lane Smith
A princess who floats unless weighted down finds love with a boy who flies kites. Laughs ensue.
- Henry’s Heart by Charise Mericle Harper
This STEM-themed picture book shows what happens to the heart of a boy named Henry when he runs, sits down, and falls in love.
- Jasper John Dooley: NOT in Love by Caroline Adderson,
Jasper John is not in love, but he might pretend to be if it means he gets to play on classmate Isabel's trampoline.
- Love is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske
A kite and a balloon become friends, but changes in circumstances - and altitude - keep trying to drive them apart.
- Emma Emmets, Playground Matchmaker by Julia deVillers
Fourth grader Emma Emmets, who is not yet into boys, accidentally becomes a matchmaker for her classmates when a friend credits Emma with finding her a boyfriend.
- The Candy Smash by Jacqueline Davies
Jessie Treski upsets her brother and many of their classmates when she creates a Valentine's Day survey questioning everyone about their secret crushes.
- The Cybil War by Betsy Byars
In an elementary school love triangle, best friends Simon and Tony fight for the affections of Cybil Ackerman, a smart and generous girl in their class.
- Revenge of the Flower Girls by Jennifer Ziegler
Triplets Dawn, Darby, and Delaney Brewster set out to ruin their sister's wedding to convince her she is marrying the wrong guy.
- French Ducks in Venice by Garret Freymann-Weyr and Erin McGuire
Two ducks are distraught when their friend, Polina a California seamstress, ends her romance with a movie star named Sebastian Sterling, and she must explain that the end of a relationship is not the end of the world. A great alternative to some of the more unrealistic "happy ever after" stories.
Middle School & High School
- The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone
Thumbelina (formerly called Louise) is trying to forget her previous life on Cinnamon Street, where terrible things happened to her, when a series of mysterious love notes begin appearing on her doorstep.
- Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes by Lisa Greenwald
On a snow day, three best friends work out the boy drama in their lives while delivering fortune cookies to everyone in their apartment building.
- A Song for Bijou by Josh Farrar
Alex Schrader does not know what he is in for when he develops a crush on Bijou Doucet, a new girl in the neighborhood who is a survivor of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and whose strict family does not allow her to date.
- Fake Me a Match by Lauren Barnholdt
When Avery is put in charge of the class matchmaking project for charity, she promises to rig the results so that her new stepsister is matched with the boy she likes. When a teacher catches on, Avery know it's just a matter of time before she is in huge trouble.
- How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Beatrice and Jonah are outsiders and best friends who know their friendship will be limited by Jonah's ultimate plan to disappear.
- Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Amy, a teen girl with CP and Matthew, a teen boy with OCD, form an unlikely friendship - and later, romance - when Amy decides to attend school for a year and Matthew is assigned to help her.
- Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
Fifteen-year-old Amelia falls in love with her coworker at the grocery store, an older man whose heart has been badly broken.
- Not Exactly a Love Story by Audrey Couloumbis
In 1977, fifteen-year-old Vinnie makes an obscene phone call to a girl's house which leads to a surprising friendship in which the two teens tell each other things they would never say to anyone else.
- Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Levi and Macallan have been inseparable best friends since seventh grade, but both of them sometimes wonder about the possibility of becoming more.