An image of a selection of children's books about love on a yellow background with heart doodles

Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin (2015)

Most children’s first love in their life will be from their parents, and this poignant picture book by Emily Winfield Martin celebrates that. The wonderfully sweet poem considers all the possibilities that lie ahead in a little one’s life: "This is the first time / There's ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do." And Winfield Martin’s beautiful accompanying illustrations make the book feel fresh every time you read it. A great one to share together.

All You Need Is Love by Emma Chichester Clark (2019)

Plum the dog has lots of love in her life. She has her devoted mum and dad, and she’s got four best friends; Rocket, Esther, Bean and Jakey, who she always plays with in the park. But then one day, her friends invite some new dogs to join in. Plum isn’t so sure about them. Otto is very big; Bounder is elderly, and Milly is teeny-tiny. However, Plum soon learns that new and old friendships should be celebrated, and that there’s always room for more love in your life.

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White (1952)

E. B. White’s classic tale about Wilbur the pig shows how powerful the love between friends can be. Wilbur is born the runt of his litter, but that doesn’t stop the farmer’s daughter Fern from falling in love with him. Fern dotes on Wilbur, helping to care for him to ensure he grows up healthy and happy. The pair are devastated when Wilbur is taken to Fern’s uncle’s farm. However, it’s there that Wilbur meets a kind and wise spider, Charlotte. They become best friends, and when Charlotte realises Wilbur is in danger, she hatches a plan to save him.

Hair Love by Matthew Cherry and Vashti Harrison (2019)

Hair Love honours the special love between fathers and daughters. Zuri’s beautiful hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, and coils, and curls every which way, but it always lets Zuri be herself. Usually, her mum does her hair, but today it’s up to Zuri’s daddy to style it for a special occasion. He’s not exactly a professional, but he’ll do anything to make Zuri happy.

Love From Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (2018)

For little readers learning about love and how to express themselves, this heart-warming tale from the world of Peter Rabbit is perfect. Older fans of Beatrix Potter will appreciate the classic illustrations and colours used, and the charming poem sweetly teaches what love is. This is a lovely book to share at bedtime to help sleepy bunnies drift off.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel (Book 7) by Jeff Kinney (2012)

It’s nearing Valentine’s Day, and our favourite wimpy kid Greg Heffley is without a date to his school’s dance. His friend Rowley is also dateless, so that’s a small consolation – but then Abigail Brown, a girl on the student council, is left without a date after her boyfriend has a family obligation. Now is Greg’s chance to swoop in, but things don’t go quite to plan at the dance… This is a funnier kind of ‘love story’ and will have readers laughing all the way through.

Shrek! by William Steig (1990)

Shrek is an ogre and has left his childhood home to go and see the world. On his journey, he meets a witch who tells him he will marry a princess – and he defeats a dragon and befriends a donkey along the way to her. Unlike traditional fairy tale princesses, however, this one has been bewitched to be as foul and hideous as Shrek himself. They’re a perfect match! William Steig’s hit story shows that when you remain true to yourself – and in Shrek’s case, revel in your own vileness – you’ll find true love.

Love from the Moomins (2018)

Fans of Tove Jansson’s Moomins will love this delightful book. Many of the beloved characters, including Moomintroll, Snorkmaiden and Snufkin, come together to show that love encompasses many different things: it’s comforting, it’s dazzling, it can even be loud! This is a superb gift for Valentine’s Day, or whenever you want to show a loved one how much you care.

Fidget the Wonder Dog by Patricia Forde and Rachael Saunders (2021)

Fidget is a bit of a cheeky dog. He jumps on beds, barks a lot and runs around the kitchen. But he is a treasured dog. Fidget also likes to ramble off, and one day he can’t find his way home. And so begins an epic voyage that will take Fidget across the high seas as he seeks to be reunited with his beloved owner. Fellow young dog lovers will enjoy this fun tale about the all-conquering love between a girl and her dog.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (1922)

There was once a toy rabbit who longed to become Real. Made from soft velveteen, the rabbit belongs to a young boy and over time, his coat becomes worn and shabby. But the boy continues to love him more and more. And when a toy is truly loved, that’s when it can become Real… Margery Williams' classic story is still breaking hearts nearly 100 years on, and it teaches that although love can be hard work, it’s worth it in the end.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (1964)

There once was a tree who loved a little boy. Every day that he came to see her, she would give him her apples and let him swing from her branches and climb her trunk. As the years go by, the boy continued to take whilst the tree continued to give – her love and generosity know no bounds. The Giving Tree is a tale about unstoppable love, a classic story for young and older readers. Shel Silverstein’s book teaches a valuable lesson on what it truly means to love somebody.

Charlie and Lola: I'm Really Ever So Not Well by Lauren Child (2008)

Lola has a cold and is feeling very poorly. All she can do is lay in bed and rest. Luckily for Lola, her big brother Charlie is around and he’s going to try his best to make her feel better. He brings her pink milk and biscuits (Lola’s favourite), sings her a song, completes a jigsaw with her and more. Perfect for fans of the Charlie and Lola series, this is a touching book about the love between siblings.

Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt (2020)

Frankie is nearly 14, and like most teenagers, she sometimes finds life quite overwhelming. She’s never going to fall in love, her mum is very ill with MS and there’s this mean girl called Sally who rules the school with her gang of bullies. But then an unexpected friendship blossoms between Frankie and Sally. The pair are soon spending all their time together, and Frankie begins to develop feelings for Sally. Is she in love? And does Sally feel the same way? This LGBTQ+ themed story is a must-read for those who enjoy tales about first loves.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)

Little Women follows the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – as they grow up and try to navigate their way in the world. The story begins with the girl’s father going away to war. Times are tough for them and their mother, but the sisters never lose their spirit or sense of fun. And they learn many important lessons about love, both familial and romantic, along the way. This timeless book will stay with anyone who reads it.

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