Valentine’s shoppers remember this: books last longer than flowers! If you’re doing some last minute shopping these next few days, check out these books that celebrate love for all ages of readers. My favorite? XO, OX by Adam Rex and illustrated by Scott Campbell.
We’ve read this nearly a dozen times this last week! Through letters back and forth, XO, OX tells the story of an ox who is hopelessly in love with a celebrity gazelle.
Through their simple and witty exchanges, an unlikely love story unfolds between two very different animals. I simply adore this book and love the sharp storytelling and surprise ending. Our family has had fun filling in the blanks on what becomes of Ox and Gazelle!
Other books to consider for little ones this year include Hug It Out by Louis Thomas and All Kinds of Kisses by Heather Swain and illustrated by Steven Henry. Kids will learn how all kinds of animals, including pirhanas, show their affection and how we all make up this beautiful world we live in.
For your littlest Valentine’s this year check out Hedgehugs and the Hattiepillar for the cutest story and illustrations by Steve Wilson & Lucy Trapper, and Love You Always, a Shiny Shapes book by Roger Priddy. My 7 year-old, clearly out of the “board book” age range, adores these little stories. In fact, she recently told me about the book Love You Always, “I love this so much I want to cry!”
There’s also a wealth of options for older readers in the YA genre. There’s a story for every mood teens and tweens may be experiencing this Valentine’s Day:
Heartless by Marissa Meyer is the first stand-alone novel from the author of the Lunar Chronicles. My oldest daughter mentioned that she sees her friends reading Meyer’s books all the time and she herself is eager to read Heartless, which follows the untold story of the Queen of Hearts in this Alice in Wonderful sequel.
Romeo & What’s Her Name by Shani Petroff comes with the crowd-source stamp of approval. Romeo & What’s Her Name will especially speak to the hearts of those in drama and theatre, or anyone remembering what it was like to go through the Shakespeare unit in high school!
Decelerate Blue by Adam Rapp and illustrated by Mike Cavallaro is a graphic novel that follows humanity’s digital future, and with messages of resistance and revolution, this book may speak to the heart of today’s empowered young adults.
Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage tells the post-mortem story of two teenage girls as their neighbor discovers letters that help unravel all their secrets. For fans books such as Thirteen Reasons Why or The Virgin Suicides. I’m quite enamored with the hauntingly beautiful cover art! My daughter has added this to her “books to read next” list.
The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia takes a realistic and often difficult look at love through themes of grief, family and friendship, PTSD, and identity struggles, as well as diversity and socioeconomic status.
How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore is full of biting dialogue and features a flawed, but ultimately redeemable heroine stumbling through challenges of friendships, school politics, boyfriends, and family issues.
Books have been provided for review. For complete disclosure policy, click here.