Books for a toddler about love
February 26, 2023 5:58 PM   Subscribe

My sweet almost-two-year-old loves to read about love. Especially books that end with a parent declaring their love for a child, or explaining that they will always have a bond. The two current favorites are Nosotros Means Us and The Kissing Hand. We have outgrown the indestructible book Te Amo Bebe but it was major for a while. What books on this theme should I start looking for at the library?
posted by Emmy Rae to Writing & Language (35 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
My kid is currently into I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 6:03 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]

I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo Brown
Little You by Richard Van Camp
One Love by Cedella Marley and Bob Marley
posted by nouvelle-personne at 6:28 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]

You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano Love
posted by cali59 at 6:32 PM on February 26

Best answer: I Love You Because I Love You by Muon Thi Van and Jessica Love

Do you know about It is a great database of picture books - I did a search for love and found a bunch of books. I would suggest placing a ton of holds at your library and seeing what sticks with your child.
posted by lizard music at 6:34 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Plenty of Hugs
posted by Geameade at 6:38 PM on February 26

Love you Forever
posted by papergirl at 6:54 PM on February 26 [7 favorites]

Best answer: What a sweet question, and a sweet kiddo!

My Love For You Is Always and You Are My Favourite Colour, both by Canadian author Gillian Sze, would hit the mark.
posted by third word on a random page at 6:55 PM on February 26

Best answer: The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 6:58 PM on February 26 [8 favorites]

Guess How Much I Love You and I Love You Through and Through are favorites for my kids.
posted by entropyiswinning at 7:19 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]

Corduroy is really sweet, and the bear and the girl are great friends in the end.
posted by nickggully at 7:39 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mama, Do You Love Me? and Papa, Do You Love Me?
posted by belladonna at 7:48 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]

Seconding Love you Forever, but ignore Amazon's 0-6. I think the upper limit is probably more like 116. The *sweetest* book ever. If ever you were a kid with a loving parent, I defy you not to blubber.
posted by kate4914 at 8:00 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]

Snuggle Puppy, by Sandra Boynton
posted by terooot at 9:16 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Besos for Baby (maybe a little young, but partially in Spanish)
Together by Emma Dodd. She has a whole series of books like this, but Together is our favorite.
Time for a hug
I love you to the moon and back by Amelia Hepworth
Girl of Mine or Boy of Mine? Both by Jabari Asim
Our almost 2 year old enjoys all of these
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 10:21 PM on February 26

Best answer: How Do I Love You? by P. K. Hallinan: A promise of unconditional love, "I love you on your very best...and very worst of days."

I Would Tuck You In by Sarah Asper-Smith and Mitchell Watley: Each page features a different animal, like "If you were an Arctic tern, I would fly to the ends of the Earth with you", and the final page concludes: "But no matter what, I will always love you for who you are."

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram: Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare express how much they love one another, as wide as they can stretch and as high as they can reach. Lots of fun gestures you and your kid can emulate.

Mild recommendation against The Runaway Bunny. It is a well-known classic, but it hasn't aged well. It celebrates a mother who repeatedly stalks her child who is trying to get away from her. I'm sure it came across as very sweet by the cultural standards of 1942, and obviously it's intended to be interpreted it in a more positive light, but I find it antithetical to teaching healthy boundaries and healthy relationships.
posted by Syllepsis at 10:27 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]

The Little Bear series are full of stories about the love between a parent and child
posted by brookeb at 10:54 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'm going to be a dissenting voice and say I found Love You Forever to be creepy and kind of gross.

I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth is a sweet one, though.
posted by rikschell at 10:54 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]

I Love You Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton is a mom describing her child's personality, and listing all the things she loves. It's very sweet.

The Pookie series is a win in general, my daughter (4) regards them as comfort food.
posted by champers at 3:05 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram (recommended above) still gets quoted by my kids occasionally even now they're teenaged.
posted by snarfois at 3:26 AM on February 27

My absolute favorite book at that age was Are You My Mother?
posted by basalganglia at 4:19 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]

MY 3yo and I have gotten great mileage out of "I Love Us" and "Love Makes a Family" as listed above, as well as:
- Wherever You Go, My Love Will Find You - be warned, it's a tear-jerker!
- Moo-Moo, I Love You - a parent cow expresses their love for their calf with a series of puns
- I Love You More - with illustrations by Barbara Reid (of Welcome, Baby, Welcome fame)
posted by notquitejane at 6:51 AM on February 27

Best answer: I love the lists that A Might Girl puts together because there's a summary of the books.

I can vouch for If Kisses Were Colors. Also loved "Are you my mother", "Dear girl", and "The Kissing Hand"
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:33 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]

I was ill-prepared for the emotional wallop of reading through these titles.

The only addition I can make to this list is the work of Todd Parr. Bright and colorful with a variety of messages, but many of which come down to very positive messages about love and acceptance.
posted by adekllny at 8:54 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]

That's Me Loving You is a charming book. Be advised that it's by this author. (NYT gift link.) Very bittersweet to read now.
posted by BibiRose at 9:37 AM on February 27

We loved Henry in Love. Very sweet, gentle book about a crush. Gorgeous illustrations, not sappy. This is one of my favorites that I give to other parents!
posted by LKWorking at 10:25 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]

Our Subway Baby. Where there is love, anything is possible.
posted by dywypi at 11:15 AM on February 27

Response by poster: These are all so sweet! Thank you.

We love Love Makes a Family but I have made it hard to find recently because he finds it near bedtime and by the last page "a kiss before bed" he goes into a state of joyful delirium.
posted by Emmy Rae at 12:05 PM on February 27

I love you, stinky face. (Lisa Mccourt)
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 1:37 PM on February 27

We loved so many of these especially the Pookie books! We were into Love Monster around age 2-3.
posted by beyond_pink at 1:38 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes might be for younger kids, but my kids loved it for years. Lots of lovely baby illustrations, and it ends with a declaration of love for your own baby.
posted by fever-trees at 2:59 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is very good - no matter what the child does, the mother ends the day with a lullaby of love until one day the child is grown and the mother is old and it is the child who sings to the mother. Makes me cry sentimental tears but my kids liked it. also, you can check out examples of people reading it out loud on youtube so you can get an idea what the lullaby might sound like.
posted by metahawk at 3:23 PM on February 27

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