It’s February, the month of luurve. It’s also the month which shines a light on the importance of children’s mental health. In the main (other than some of the non-fiction), I have therefore chosen books which focus on love in its various guises and strengths and also picked some books which might help children who are struggling with grief or loss by focussing on the love that surrounds them. Do have a scroll through the next twenty or so books and see if anything catches your eye:
I adore this inclusive and gorgeously illustrated board book for young readers. It’s a book about love. The love that binds every different type of family together. It follows the daily routines of six babies from different types of families and your little reader may recognise some of these routines from their own world, from playtime to bath and bedtime. I love the inclusive nature of the book and the breastfeeding feature. It’s full of insightful illustrations (look closely at the nappy-changing drawing and think about how many times this has happened to you!) and I genuinely laughed out loud at the final page (but I won’t spoil it for you). This book would be a wonderful addition to any child’s nursery when it publishes at the beginning of March this year.
Bold and bright with accessible text for your little ones, this book is the perfect gift for any budding young ballet lover. My youngest daughter was very excited to read this lovely board book and was not disappointed and my son really enjoyed it too (particularly the last page!) and he had lots of questions about what a boy ballet dancer does because of the picture in the book. It’s got details of lots of the key language and terminology that a ballet dancer might find useful and we loved how fun and interactive the book was (from the way we needed to turn the book around to see the ballerina’s outfit to the really fun mirror ending). The book follows the budding ballerina getting ready for her ballet class in her outfit and how she will keep healthy and strong so that she can follow her dreams, dancing her steps and performing in shows all over the world.
This is a vibrantly illustrated, beautiful book about love, compassion and empathy which cannot fail to engage your child. A close-knit multi-generational family grow plants to sell and spread good cheer within their local, diverse community. Along the way they (and the reader) discover the many ways love blossoms in the actions within their family but also in the wider community. There’s love which takes time to grow, love between friends, old love, new love, everything-in-between love. But one thing is certain, love grows and makes a much brighter world for everyone within it. The gorgeous and bright illustrations perfectly match the message of hope, love and good cheer within the book. A lovely tale to pick you up on a grey old February day.
We have SO much love for this book in this house. Celebrating the love between two best friends, this book is a superb one for us because it gently reinforces that winning is not everything and that kindness and friendship matter so much more. For any child, with or without siblings, this is a wonderful message (and it is hugely relevant in our house with children very close together in age and a hugely competitive streak!). Frank and Bert are best friends and love playing hide and seek but Bert isn’t so good at it. Will Frank find his friend easily again and win the game? With wonderfully vibrant and playful illustrations and a hugely helpful reinforcement of the numbers from 1-100, you really must beg, borrow or buy a copy of this lovely, cute book. I am not giving away any spoilers but we absolutely love the ending! Intrigued? I hope so.
This is, quite simply, a wonderful book about what could be perceived as some tricky concepts to explain to children. So simple in its explanations and yet so effective in promoting early understanding and acceptance. It’s a brilliantly colourful book celebrating the ways in which babies arrive into their (robot) families and how every baby’s journey starts with love. My twins adore the mention of how twins and triplets can grow in a robot mummy’s tummy (the pictures are just soooo cute) and the book deals with scenarios such as premature babies, IVF babies, donor-conception babies, babies born through surrogacy and adopted babies. The language used is straight-forward, loving and hopeful but at the same time acknowledging that sometimes difficult decisions have to be made. I love the affirmative message for the child-reader at the end of the book that every robo-baby is so, so loved. In my opinion, a child can never be told that too often.
Every so often a book is so special that it steals a piece of your heart and brings a tear to your eye. This is one of those books. It’s a true celebration of familial love and bond that knows no bounds. Little Tess is truly, wonderfully loved by her family but she cannot spend every minute with them, she has to go to school. Tess is worried that the love that her family have for her will not find its way into school so her mum gives her the idea that their love is a like a big ball of string which can stretch as far as it needs to and will not break. As Tess worries her way through the day about whether her family is still at the end of her piece of string, she starts to notice other strings forming between herself and people at the school and her relationships start to form with them. This is a heart-warming story about the strength and power of love and one that every child should read with a parent. The illustrations are absolutely exquisite and perfectly match the sentiment of the text. I defy you to read it without a tear in your eye and a lump in your throat!
This book is like a big cuddle for your senses with its exquisitely beautiful watercolour drawings which your eyes will feast upon and wonderful, tender words to read, speak and hear. This book explores the ways in which love can be seen in nature, celebrating the beauty of the animal kingdom and the wonder of love. Love can be playful like a meerkat, daring like a bear cub, enduring like an elephant, bold like an orangutan and, above all, powerful. “For with love, we can do ANYTHING.” What a message to pass on to your children. For me, Love Is…. reading this book. I cannot express how beautiful it is. It would make a wonderful present for baby’s birth, or other celebration. It’s a book to truly treasure and pass down the generations.
What a joyful and humorous re-imagining of the childhood nursery rhyme “Hey diddle diddle” this story is! Poor old cow has really lost her confidence for her starring role in the big performance. She knows she is supposed to jump over the moon. But what if people laugh at her (let’s face it, the dog has form here!)? What if she falls? With a few tissues to mop up her tears and a lot of encouragement from the moon, the cat, the dog, the dish … (you get the picture) and belief in herself, Cow has a go. Will she make it? Will she jump over the moon? You will have to read the book to find out. This is such a clever, witty story with such lovely messages of love and support, encouragement, friendship, self-confidence and what it really means to succeed (just try your best) that you will not be disappointed. With brilliantly funny colour pictures to match the text, we thought that this book was a real hoot.
why not PIN this post All you need is love – Children’s Book Recommendations February 2022
This is a gorgeous picture book celebrating the joy of music and how it can bring communities together. Not only is it a Song for Everyone, this is a Book for Everyone. It will bring joy to anyone who experiences it through its glorious illustrations and bold yet gentle words, reminding us of the power of music to bring people together. The pictures are evocative of musical notes themselves, with the swirling whisps depicting the sound of the beautiful music and wrapping the reader up in the joy of the notes without actually being able to hear them. So clever! This is a very sweet and yet very powerful book with a message of togetherness, love and hope. We also paired the book with a ‘listen outside’ activity where we tried to listen to lots of different birdsong in the garden and to spot which birds were making which tweets which was really the icing on the cake to bring this book to life for my younger children.
If you loved the tentacle-tickling tale of the first Octopants book, you will love this book, the latest in the series. Following the story of Octopants and his cute oceanic friends, Pufferfish and Turtle, this fun rhyming tale takes your young reader on a hilarious adventure to try and discover the whereabouts of Pufferfish’s precious pirate pants. Can they be located? Yes, they can. But they might just turn up in the unlikeliest of places! The illustrations in the book are fun and colourful, drawing your little reader into the sense of friendship and playfulness in the book. This is a pants-tastic (see what I did there?!), cute and colourful rhyming picture book and a great hit with my four-year-old twins.
Trigger warning: this book features death and an exploration of grief and bereavement. This picture book is breathtakingly beautiful in both words and illustrations. It is a hugely moving exploration of the very difficult emotions surrounding death and trying to help a young child understand these complex thoughts and feelings. I am not going to lie, I sobbed my heart out. Why have I included this in a blog post about books featuring love though? Because, on one level, this book is also about love. The love a little girl has for her grandfather which transcends death. Daria comes to realise that hope can be found even in the darkest of places and although her grandpa can no longer be with her, he is all around. This would have been a really useful book for us last year when our beloved family Labrador died to help my youngest children try and come to terms with and explore the feelings they were experiencing. For any family who has to try and explain the poignant and often turbulent emotions around losing a loved one, this is a brilliant book. It also contains an insightful piece of practical guidance from Dr Sharie Coombes, a child and family psychotherapist, on how to support a child/children who are experiencing loss and bereavement.
Trigger warning: this book features death and bereavement. “Bear died on a Friday”. This book explores the complex emotions of sorrow, sadness and grief that Bear’s friends, Beaver and Mole, experience after Bear’s death. I love how the illustrations perfectly mirror the feelings of the friends and the changing of the seasons, with the rain lashing down as the friends are crying. With Spring, hope unfurls and the friends explore Bear’s treehouse and finish the work on it with the help of more of Bear’s friends. What they find when they finish the treehouse is just wonderful: a window with a view of the infinitesimal starry sky, shining bright like the memories of their wonderful friend. This is a beautiful story of friendship, togetherness and, above all, love. The love that can unite people in grief and the love of a friend that is so powerful that it lives on in the memories of the friends and loved ones who are left behind. It’s an uplifting story about remembering a loved one we have lost and celebrating their life.
“It fell from the sky on a Thursday”… What is it, I hear you cry? Well, spoiler alert from the front cover, it’s a marble. Sssshhh. If you were a spider, or a grasshopper, or a frog, would you know that? No, it might seem like the most wondrous object on the face of your grassland! This is such a stunning book, visually as well as conceptually. Spider convinces all the other animals that the object of wonder belongs to him and he begins to charge the creatures ‘money’ (also known as leaves) to visit the exhibit until, one day, disaster strikes and the marble is taken back into the sky by the ‘five-legged creature’ (aka a child!). Alone and miserable, Spider realises his mistake one night and begins to weave more and more webs so that they can catch any fallen objects from the sky and they can be enjoyed by everyone. The graphics in this book are just superb: my children loved the way that only the marble provided any colour on the page until the green coloured leaf ‘money’ and the other objects of wonder fell from the sky and the world down below became a much more colourful and beautiful place because of the lack of greed and the love that spider shows to the other animals. We are off to play with our marbles now!
With minimal text and bold, bright and colourful page spreads, this is a brilliant book exploring happiness and love for yourself. Poor Badger doesn’t feel quite right. He knows he is black. And white. But he doesn’t know who he is. And he also has a blue bottom (my four-year-old twins found this hilarious!!) because he has been sitting on, and consequently squashed, some blueberries. Badger ventures around the world, asking all the black and white animals he can find whether he is just like them until, ultimately, through the help of a lovely penguin, he realises that what is important is that he is kind and that he has self-belief and love for himself. We love the cute animal illustrations in this book and the bold colours used to contrast with the black and white of the featured animals. And, don’t worry, by the end of the book, through Badger’s sharing and kindness, there are a lot more blue bottoms around which I am sure will provide much hilarity in your house too!
We are big fans of the Two Terrible Vikings books in our house and this time the world’s very worst Vikings, twins Hack and Whack, are back in a series of hilarious tales culminating in Muddy Butt (queue much hilarity and laughter from my children) and a very stinky new neighbour! Will Hack and Whack’s behaviour be truly bad enough to get the foul-smelling Grunt the Beserker to move out? They might need to enlist the help of their friends Twisty Pants, Dirty Ulf and Elsa Gold-Hair. Fun and laughter abound in this early chapter book. With comedic black and white illustrations to break up the text and to add to the hilarity, this is a great book for any child setting out on their reading journey.
Bea Black and her broom are back in the second book of this fabulous Accidental Witch series. This book is full of magic and mayhem, charms and chortles… it’s a spellbinding story focussing on the Extraordinary world of Bea and her friends. My eldest daughter loves the diary format of the book with fun and interesting to-do lists and insights into the magical world of the School of Extraordinary Arts. Bea faces challenge after challenge in this story: can she fly fast enough, can she master the skills of GO (the ultimate broomstick game), can she make things levitate, can she keep her witching world a secret, and can she find out what is upsetting her non-magical friend Ash? We love the flip from white pages and black font to black pages and white font to emphasise the fun and magic at the end of the book when Egg finally hatches. This is a charming (see what I did there?!) tale of friendship, togetherness and fun with brilliantly comedic black and white illustrations to complement the story.
Middle Grade Books
Harper Drew’s life is full of drama. I mean, it’s so dramatic that she has even created a scale of the weird, ridiculous and insane goings-on that happen in her life. It’s called the Drew Dial Rating! There is even a llama or two thrown into the action for fun! This book is a hilarious romp through the everyday adventures of Harper Drew, written in an engaging and fun journal style with brilliantly funny black and white illustrations interspersed throughout the story. Bats in her holiday home, llama rides, inflatable mayhem, an obsession with bleach and festival fun all feature in this laugh out loud book which subtly reinforces a message of being true to yourself and inner confidence. It’s a great, fun book.
I just LOVED this book. It’s cooky, it’s weird, it’s a little scary, it’s wonderful. It’s a whole creepy mechanical bundle of gothic oddness that just captures your imagination with wonderful characters, (who may look a little different from the norm but) who steal your heart. Think the cast of ‘The Greatest Showman’ meets Victorian London steampunk and you are sort of in the right region! Set in dark and grimy London of the 1850s, this is a fast-paced, page turning, un-put-downable story to try and solve the mystery of missing street urchin children who appear to be being snatched by some kind of mechanical monster. With the unlikely heroines and heroes of the book being a carnival troupe, led by the hugely loveable Sheba the Wolf Girl, this book will have you rooting for the underdog (sorry, wolf) and gripping the edge of your seat as you zip through this action-packed adventure. With atmospherically dirty and smog-filled page edges and superb black and white illustrations to complement the tale, this is a book that you simply must read. You will not be disappointed.
Latin was my favourite subject at school! Controversial, I know. So, I was fascinated by this book. Perry is holidaying in modern-day France when, with the help of a stylus he uncovers in a Roman ruin, he is accidentally transported back in time 1700 years. Perry desperately wants to return to his own time – being a slave and washing stinky feet and eating fish sauce, pigeons and mice will do that to you – but he desperately wants to stay to protect the life of his new-found Roman friend. This was such an interesting and educational read. The story is so fun that your child will not even realise they are learning! A perfect accompaniment to any learning on the era, or if you have a child who is fascinated by Roman times and what life was life back then, this is the book for you. I loved it.
It is not very often that you come across such a special book: a book that will make you laugh out loud throughout but that also has an ending that is so moving and poignant that you turn the final pages with tears in your eyes. I loved every page of this raucous adventure featuring Grandpa Frank and his grandson (also Frank!). It’s written from the perspective of Frank, the boy, not the grandfather (I promise that it is honestly not confusing in the book!), who inherits a lot of money from a step-grandparent he has never met on the condition that he looks after his Grandpa Frank (who he has also never met). What follows is a wonderful series of epic adventures, full of hilarity and mayhem, and some very insightful and poignant moments depicting the blossoming relationship between a grandfather and his grandson. It’s a story to teach you to not have regrets, to seize every moment, to love big and to treasure your family. It’s a story to be added to your Bucket List. I absolutely loved the suggestions of how to help in your community at the end of the book and the pages highlighting the wonderful adventures of some ‘exceptional old people’.
Teen/Young Adult Books
What a truly unique book. I am not sure I have the words to describe it – part ghost-story (but not the jump-out-of-your-skin kind), part coming-of-age story and part brilliant familial and social observation of the devastating effect of grief. A huge part of the book is also about love. It’s not immediately obvious but the strength of love that families and communities have for their lost loved ones. Mainly set in the eerie and partly other-worldly (see, there are a lot of parts!) Endlands, Louie and his father experience an earthquake and ensuing tsunami which turn not only their lives upside down but the lives of the forbidding and silent Endlanders. Their strange ways raise ghosts for Louie as he is able to see their dead but he also has to learn to try and process the death of his own brother who died a few months’ earlier. This is a story of how grief and loss can affect not only families but also wider communities, yet it is also a story of hope and love and the strength of togetherness.
This is a bold and bright book celebrating a love for oneself and each other, aimed at younger readers. This book is full of colour and simple yet really effective illustrations which enhance the rhyming text promoting and exploring understanding and a sense of self-love and self-worth. It’s a book with a wonderfully positive message – “it’s your heart that matters most… I will follow my own way” and a simple yet very effective way of promoting empathy, love and kindness for all.
This book is a brilliantly colourful introduction to some of the world’s most amazing and beautiful cultural and religious festivals. It’s a celebration of diversity, culture and community through various festivals that take place around the world. It is sure to inspire your young reader to want to find out more about the fantastic collection of events and festivals but also about the countries of the world that these take place in. We love the page of beautiful illustrations of children at the beginning of the text and spotting these on the various pages throughout the book, taking part in the festivals. Each page is exquisitely illustrated, depicting how some festivals are fun and celebratory and some are more serious in their formalities and events yet all of them have love and community-spirit at their heart.
We have so much love in this house for this perfectly imperfect book. My eldest, in particular, struggles with accepting that things do not always have to be perfect and so this is a wonderful book for her in particular. From personalities such as Prince Harry to Frank Sinatra and Florence Nightingale to Dwayne Johnson (swoon!), this book has a two-page spread full of inspiring stories in relation to each person featured. There are 29 features in all – some modern, such as Emma Stone, Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga and some historical, such as Abraham Lincoln, Frida Kahlo, Winston Churchill and Ludvig van Beethoven. But what they all share is their worries and insecurities and reveal their truly inspirational actions and words which help them live their lives to the full. This is a superb book for any child but particularly one who is struggling with their feelings. A wonderful reminder that to struggle with our feelings is something which truly unites us all.
Get ready to uncover a huge world of adventures and journeys in this beautifully illustrated non-fiction book which explores the how and why of human movement across the globe. Split into continents, this vibrantly colourful text travels across the globe and beyond, providing fascinating insights into the journeys of humans spanning across thousands of years. From the very first humans who made the journey out of Africa over 70,000 years ago, to the travels of Marco Polo, the voyage of the Kon-Tiki (with its fascinating banana leaf hut for shelter), Viking longboats sailing across the waters to immigrants arriving in the land of the Free, this is a wonderful book for any young reader to learn about travel across the ages. And what about now? Humans may have an exciting world of travel at their fingertips now but this book also explores the risks and costs that this comes with: the impact on the environment and animals and the spread of disease. We love the message of peace and hope at the end of this book. It’s a true delight for the senses.
Have you ever wondered what colour a T-Rex actually was? Or what about a dodo? This book is a unique way of looking at dinosaurs and the prehistoric world of animals from the outside in. Using clues from the animals surviving on Earth today, and science and the power of deduction, this is a wonderful text exploring this fascinating world of prehistoric feathers, scales, spikes, spines, colour and skin that existed millions of years’ ago. The drawings in this book are absolutely magnificent. From shades of the cold and frosty environments to desert hues, the colours of the two-page spreads perfectly complement the descriptions of the prehistoric mammals, insects and marine life they explore. There is also a wonderful section of the book on animals in art through time, from aboriginal artwork to Victorian valuables, these pages are an artwork in themselves. We also love the pages on the animals that are sadly no longer alive and the ideas about preventing extinction at the back of the book. This book is truly one to treasure. It’s the kind of book that should be set out on a coffee table for all to see. In fact, that’s what I am going to do with our copy!
Love maths? Yes? Brilliant, you will love this book! No? You will after you have read this book! I freely admit that Maths was not my favourite subject at school (and, no, Mr C, the penny never did drop!) but it might have been if this book had been around. Packed with fascinating facts about the application of maths in every day life, this book is a colourful and (most importantly) fun-filled exploration of how maths can answer so many questions in life. Want to know what the ham-sandwich theorem is? How about the hairy ball theorem?! Be amazed by the superb symmetry being displayed all around us in nature. Maths is everywhere. In art, in nature, in music, in space …. This book will both amaze you and make you appreciate the beauty of maths all around us.
This is a bright and colourful book all about family and love in its various guises. It celebrates the nuances and differences between families in a beautiful way through gorgeous illustrations and wonderful parallels to the animal kingdom. From pangolins to polar bears, this book explores the different types of families and different ways of parenting that can be seen in the natural world and can be applied to a child’s own experiences. The adorable illustrations really draw the reader in and the text boxes of bite-sized information are perfect for younger readers yet fascinating for older and independent readers too. We love the final message of the book: “once your wings have unfurled, you’ll find your true place in this wide, wondrous world.” What a beautiful, unique book celebrating the power of love and family (and the panda at the end is just adorable!!).