There are TONS of Valentine’s Day themed picture books. Many of them do talk about romantic love or crushes (looking at you, Lil Critter series). But lots of great picture books for February have no romance! Also, there are lots of great books that aren’t EXACTLY about Valentine’s Day, but are perfect for reading aloud or gifting on February 14.
I draw a hard line in the sand when it comes to crushes in the books I read aloud to my kids. Kids just grow up so fast, and mine are still little, so I avoid anything romantic AT ALL. That can be hard sometimes, especially around Valentine’s Day!
You know how it is, you’re reading a book from the library to your daughter, and suddenly **BAM** there’s a character who’s a sexy cupcake. And the bagel is in love at first sight. (Literally. This happened to me yesterday. I mean, I read a picture book to my daughter yesterday that this happened in…I didn’t literally run into a sexy cupcake.)
These are the best picture books for Valentine’s Day that have no romantic anything – not a crush in sight. (I mean, NOTHING.) However, there are lots of hearts, and certainly a lot of love! LIST UPDATED FOR 2021.
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Valentine’s Day Picture Books NOT About Romance
Little Blue Truck’s Valentine by Alice Schertle
In this sweet board book Little Blue takes Valentine’s Day cards to all of his animal friends. There is a focus on colors, and, like all Little Blue Truck books, car and animal noises. The length is good. I thought that the Little Blue Truck Christmas book seemed short, but this special Valentine’s Day book is longer. There’s also a nice fold out flap showing Little Blue in his garage.
Highly recommend, especially if you enjoy the other Little Blue Truck books.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose by Lucille Colandro
This fun building picture book is based on the old nursery rhyme, “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” Don’t worry, in this version she does not die! However, she does swallow a lot of Valentine’s Day decorations. It’s a hoot. Preschoolers and kindergartners especially will find it funny and enjoy repeating all the things she swallowed.
Ruby Valentine and the Sweet Surprise by Laurie Friedman
Ruby Valentine loves Valentine’s Day! And so does her bird and kitten…unfortunately, her bird and kitten don’t love each other! This is a sweet rhyming picture book with more hearts and pink than the candy aisle on February 13. Warning – the bird does say, “Darn” at one point. I recommend for all ages, probably maxing out interest level at about 8 years old.
Llama Llama I Love You by Anna Dewdney
I love the Llama Llama books. I mean, it’s a llama, and his mama…what’s not to love?!? This Valentine’s Day rhyming board book is short, and perfect for little hands. It’s all about the holiday, not about the mushy stuff. Highly recommend!
My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
ALL OF THE ANIMALS IN THIS PICTURE BOOK ARE MADE UP OF OVERLAPPING HEARTS. That is all. It’s just an amazing way to illustrate a book. I highly recommend for all ages, especially if you have a budding artist in the family that can appreciate looking for the hearts.
Click, Clack, Moo, I Love You! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
The farm animals are throwing a Valentine’s Day party, but a fox wants to come. What’s a duck to do? This is a fun book to read aloud, plus it has a cute message about friendship and love.
I Love You, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton
The Little Pookie books are some of the sweetest board books about family. And, of course, Sandra Boynton is picture book royalty. This heart-covered board book is all about family love, and is a sing-song rhyme that baby through preschoolers will enjoy at Valentine’s Day.
Where is Baby’s Valentine? by Karen Katz
My kids LOVED these brightly illustrated lift-the-flap books when they were babies and toddlers. I find them a little lacking in plot, but who am I to argue with a toddler? If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day book for a baby, this will be an instant hit. Heads up that the flaps are paper, so you won’t be able to just hand it to baby to look at independently.
The Berenstain Bears Love Their Neighbors by Jan and Mike Barenstain
You are probably picking up from the cover illustration of Papa Bear shaking some gentleman’s hand that this book has nothing to do with romantic love. However, it is a great story about treating everyone with love, even if you don’t think they have anything to offer in return. This is a faith based Valentine’s Day book, and overtly Christian. Heads up if that isn’t right for your family. Also, Papa Bear is not a buffoon in this story, which can be an issue in some of the Berenstain Bears books.
Love is Kind by Laura Sassi
This book isn’t about Valentine’s Day, and it takes place in the fall. However, it is a darling story about love, specifically love for a grandma! I love the pictures, and the message is perfect for February 14. It is sort of faith based, too, based on “Love is kind, love is patient,” from the Bible. However, that would not be obvious unless someone was familiar with the passage.
Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church
This heart covered Valentine’s Day board book is a darling rhyme about how very loved the baby is. It is definitely for the younger set, I recommend for ages baby through 3. Or an older kid who needs a refresher course in how much they are loved.
Related: If you’re looking for more books like this one, check out my list of my favorite picture books to give as baby shower gifts.
Loved by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Loved is certainly not your traditional Valentine’s Day picture book for children. However, it’s about how much God loves us. The text is an illustrated retelling of the Lord’s prayer. It’s beautiful. If you do not own it, this would make a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift.
Related: Looking for more faith-based books like this one? Check out my list of top faith based picture books to give at baby showers (or any time).