The Season of Love: Appreciating Our Families, Our Communities, Our Selves
Every holiday seems to have a feeling attached to it. We feel gratitude on Thanksgiving Day, sorrow on Memorial Day, and pride for our military on Veterans Day. St. Patrick’s Day is for feeling lucky.
While Valentine’s Day is dedicated to love, the original homage was for a narrow definition of love. I think that Christmas as a season has always celebrated a much broader sense of love: love of God as well as love for family and friends, and extending to love for our communities.
The picture books below provide examples about many kinds of love; and they don’t need to be saved for any special time of year. And though picture books are often designed for younger listeners, most of these titles can be used for older students as well.
All of Us by Carin Berger. 9780062694133. 2018. Gr PK-1.
Community and love can help people overcome any challenge. This inclusive picture book ends with the declaration, “Love will never fail.”
How Do I Love Thee? by Jennifer Adams & Christopher Silas Neal. 9780062394446. December 18, 2018. Gr PK-3.
This child-friendly adaptation of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet 43 uses references to nature and the seasons to celebrate the love of friends.
I Am Loved by Nikki Giovanni (ill. by Ashley Bryan). 9781534404922. 2018. Gr PK-2.
Eleven new and previously-published poems celebrate love in many forms, such as between generations and for nature.
I Love You More Than… by Taye Diggs (ill. by Shane W. Evans). 9781250135346. 2018. Gr PK-3.
An African American father assures his child that though he is not around as much as he would like, his child is “always running around in my mind and chilling inside my heart.” The concrete examples of his love are touching and joyous.
I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home by Kathryn Cristaldi & Kristyna Litten. 9780062574206. December 18, 2018. Gr PK-3.
This picture book goes on with variations on the title’s theme to the extreme. “I will love you till the ants march in / wearing tiny ant hats and tiny ant grins / and birthday cake crumbs on their tiny any chins.” Since the amusing scenarios make the point without being sappy, the book will make a great read-aloud and can be a spur to creative writing and drawing.
Isle of You by David LaRochelle (ill. by Jaime Kim). 9780763691165. December 11, 2018. Gr PK-2.
Anyone having a bad day would do well to follow the advice in this uplifting picture book. Put all your troubles in a basket and sail to the Isle of You. There you can enjoy being yourself with no worries—do what you wish, practice being someone else—and, most importantly, be reminded that “someone loves you very, very, very much.”
Love by Matt de la Pena (ill. by Loren Long). 9781524740917. 2018. Gr PK-3.
Free verse poetry and colorful illustrations celebrate the nature of love and the ways children experience it throughout their childhood, from parents’ voices lulling them to sleep to the love of a street singer playing his music.
Love, Z by Jessie Sima. 9781481496773. December 18, 2018. Gr PK-3.
Z, a young robot, finds a message in a bottle, but the only words that he can make out are at the end: “Love, Beatrice.” Love? The word doesn’t compute with any of the robots in his family. So Z sets out on a journey down the river, looking for Beatrice and asking everyone he meets what love is. None of their answers make sense, until Z’s frightened family shows up looking for him.
Loving Hands by Tony Johnston (ill. by Amy June Bates). 9780763679934. December 24, 2018. Gr PK-2.
This sweet story follows the loving hands that span the years between a child’s birth and the parent’s old age—from hands that play pat-a-cake to hands that let go to hands that comfort an elderly parent. Though sweet, the story never becomes sappy or overdone.
Thread of Love by Kabir & Surishtha Sehgal (ill. by Zora Gonzalez Hoong). 9781534404731. 2018. Gr PK-3.
A family in India celebrates the lifelong bond between brothers and sisters during the festival of Raksha Bandhan. This book adds an awareness of another culture to the appreciation of sibling relationships.
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