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Love Stories

Though Valentine’s Day was first established as the feast day of St. Valentine, it has evolved into a commercial celebration of love far more romantic than its religious origins. But real-life love isn’t all chocolates and roses! As the books below show, Valentine’s Day is also an awesome time to celebrate all of our unique relationships, whether with family, friends or that special someone.

No matter what you’re celebrating, Rona Sue London of the Ivy Bookshop has a reading recommendation for you. Now that’s true love!

Board/Soft Books (newborn-toddler)

“In My Heart: A Book of Feelings”
by Jo Witek

When children are very little, they may find it hard to understand all the complex emotions they experience daily. “In My Heart” (Harry N. Abrams) helps put a name to those feelings and encourages toddlers to express themselves.

“I Love You” by Roger Priddy

This concertina-style fold-out book is as fun to play with as it is to read! “I Love You” (Priddy Books) is full of pretty, pleasant illustrations that will appeal to baby book lovers and their caregivers alike.

Picture Books (ages 2-6)

“Families, Families, Families”
by Suzanne Lang

Families come in all shapes and sizes—and this charming rhyming tale is determined to show as many as it possibly can! Using animals to demonstrate the many possible faces of a family, “Families, Families, Families” (Random House) is a great resource for kids in nontraditional family units.

“Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle

Everyone’s favorite ravenous critter returns with this sweet love-letter style story—a perfect V-Day gift for your little loved one! And as always, Carle’s illustrations are a page-turning delight (Grosset & Dunlap).

Early Readers (ages 6-8)

“My Heart is Laughing”
by Rose Lagercrantz

Dani considers herself a pretty positive person. But when her best friend moves away and Dani begins to be bullied by some girls at school, staying happy all the time doesn’t seem so easy (Gecko Press).

“Amelia Bedelia Ties the Knot”
by Peggy Parish

Lovable goofball Amelia Bedelia returns for a tale of one seriously mixed-up marriage (Greenwillow Books). When Aunt Mary asks Amelia to help plan her wedding, the flower girl-to-be is thrilled…but can’t help bringing a little mayhem to the matrimony.

Middle Readers (ages 8-12)

“The Best Man” by Richard Peck

Fifth-grader Archer wants to grow up already—to stop being a boy and start being a man. He certainly has some good role models (like his Uncle Paul and his new teacher, Mr. McLeod), but as he soon learns, there just might be more to manhood than meets the eye (Dial Books).

“Soar” by Joan Bauer

Forget girls—Jeremiah only has one true love in his life: baseball. Unfortunately, a heart condition is keeping him out of the game. When he and his father move to a new town to start over, however, Jeremiah finds that there are worse things than losing the sport he loves (Viking Books).

Young Adults (ages 13-18)

“The Sun is Also a Star”
by Nicola Yoon

Neither Natasha nor Daniel is the type to believe in fate. But how else can they explain their sudden, intense connection…a mere 12 hours before Natasha is set to be deported? This surprising love story is sure to melt hearts without falling victim to cloying clichés (Delacorte Press).

“The Last True Love Story” 

by Brendan Kiely

Hendrix isn’t sure he buys the whole romance thing. But when his Alzheimer’s-affected grandfather asks him to take him to the place where he first kissed his wife, their cross-country road trip—with the elusive Corinna in tow—Hendrix may change his mind (Margaret K. Elderry Books). BC

Each month, we’re celebrating a birthday of literary significance.

Happy Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Laura Ingalls Wilder summed up the early years of her life—spent as pioneers did, working the land and moving from one Midwestern town to another—as “full of sunshine and shadow.” Indeed, any fan of the “Little House” series will recognize this epithet in the triumphs and trials that filled the pages of Wilder’s endearing books.f you’ve ever wondered why the Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” series feels so authentic, it’s because it is. Wilder, who would be turning 150 this Feb. 7, wrote the autobiographical books based on her own family’s life as pioneers—right down to the Wisconsin log cabin where she was born.

Interestingly, Wilder decided to write about her childhood only after her grown daughter Rose, a reporter for the “San Francisco Bulletin,” urged her to do so. After her autobiography was initially rejected from a publisher, Wilder spent years revising her work. She published “Little House in the Big Woods” in 1932, and finished the last book in the series in 1943,
at the age of 76. Fans around the world are so happy she did.

About Elizabeth Heubeck

Elizabeth Heubeck, a native of Baltimore, is a former editor of Baltimore's Child and the mother of two teenagers. Currently, she spends much of her spare time wishing she was a gourmet cook (or at least a solid short-order cook), hoping the piles of laundry would disappear and, in the warmer months, battling weeds in her flower beds.

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