Inside: Karis shares more than 25 children’s books that tell kids “I love you,” including four faith-based books for families who want to remind kids of God’s love too. For Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or anytime, these books give parents, grandparents, teachers, and anyone who has a special kiddo in their life an enduring way to say, “You are loved.”
I recently had a rare moment to myself and joyfully took advantage of a favorite pastime of mine: walking the aisles of Marshalls.
I browsed the shoes, the snacks, the pillows, but when I got to the art prints I saw something that stopped me in my tracks. It was a huge canvas poster that said, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always.”
And just like that, I was transported back to childhood, to my mother’s lap, where I sat so many times as she read Love You Forever by Robert Munsch to me over and over again. I remember the oak glider with the pale blue cushions and the rhythm of the words my mom would say. I remember the warmth that settled deep inside of me as I felt the comfort of the familiar words pour in to me once again.
Books are a Great Way to Say “I Love You”
Kids haven’t changed. For as long as there have been books, there have been kids asking to read the same story over and over again!
And we know: words matter. Especially the ones we repeat over and over. Here I am, 30-something years later, still able to recall how I felt listening to my own mom read these words to me over and over again.
So in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to gift you 25+ great book ideas to tell kids “I love you.” The books in the list below are filled with the loving words you’ll want your kids to have on repeat in their minds and hearts, even into adulthood. They’re arranged by age group to help you pick the perfect one(s) for your family.
PAIR BOOKS WITH Activities that Say “I Love You”
And if you’re feeling a bit extra, try this! After you’ve read an encouraging book with your child, pick out a phrase or two from the book and write the quotes on paper hearts. Then stick the hearts to their bedroom door or the bathroom mirror, someplace that your kids will SEE them. And let them soak in beautiful words of affirmation.
Books to Tell Kids “I Love You”
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for products we love. If you purchase, we get a small commission at no cost to you.We’re just as happy for you to buy local or thrift, and we’ve provided some links on our Resources page.
“I Love You” books for the Book Eaters & Wiggle Worms
Faith-Based “I Love You” Books for Babies & Toddlers
You Are by Emily Assell and Lauren Copple
First in a series of three, this board book tells kids “I love you” and proclaims all the wonderful words God speaks over their lives. Each spread has a Bible verse and an affirmation like, “My love, you are chosen.” Oh, and don’t forget adorable illustrations in a cozy color palette.
Good News! God Loves You! by Glenys Nellist and Lizzie Walkley
With upbeat rhymes and meaningful imagery, this “I love you” book can help kids and grown-ups celebrate and savor God’s love for them.
Mama, Sing My Song by Amanda Seibert and Sally Garland
Share with kids just how amazing they are with this beautiful picture book. In each spread, mama animals sing songs of love over their little ones, expressing how wonderfully made and how deeply cared for they are. Kids are also reminded that God sings over them, and fittingly, the theme verse is Zephaniah 3:17: “He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
A QR code allows you to download a free audio version of the song, and you can personalize the book for your little one by writing a prayer, a Bible verse, their wonderful qualities, and more in the spaces provided.
One more awesome thing: The author and her team can write a personalized song for you to give to your child (and keep forever). Check out her website for more details.
Snuggle Time Love by Glenys Nellist and Cee Biscoe
Help your little ones experience what love is all about with this padded board book for kids. Each spread takes a piece of I Corinthians 13–affectionately known as the love chapter–and puts it into rhymes that show kids God’s design for practicing true love.
Little Sweet Pea, God Loves You by Annette Bourland and Kit Chase
This sweet book perfectly captures the love between parent and baby and teaches little ones they are God’s beloved creation. To go behind the scenes on this and Annette Bourland’s other books, catch our interview with her on Instagram.
God Loves You, Little Peanut by Annette Bourland and Rosalinde Bonnet
Toddlers and preschoolers are busy and full of adventure, and God Loves You Little Peanut reminds kids that our love and God’s love will be with them wherever they go and however they grow. For the inside scoop on all of Annette Bourland’s titles, catch our interview with her on Instagram.
More Love Board Books & Picture Books for Babies & Toddlers
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBrantney and Anita Jeram
The I Love You Book by Todd Parr
I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore
I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak and Caroline Jane Church
I Love You and Cheese Pizza by Brenda Li
An Awesome Book of Love by Dallas Clayton
Smooch by Karen Kilpatrick and German Blanco
How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? by Varsha Bajaj and Ivan Bates
Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
“I Love You” Books for the Longer Attention Spans &
the “I’m Too Cool” crowd
Faith-Based “I Love You” Books for Preschool & Elementary Kids
Hand to Hold by JJ Heller and Alyssa Petersen
Based on J.J. Heller’s song by the same name, Hand to Hold is a declaration of love from a parent to a child. It shows a caregiver’s faithful, strong love through every season and reminds children God is watching over them too. (See another review here in our back-to-school books post.)
Love is Kind by Laura Sassi and Lisa Chaperon
Little Owl keeps running into obstacles as he tries to buy his grammy a heart-shaped box of chocolates for her birthday. Will he remain patient, kind, and hopeful like the Bible says in I Corinthians 13? This book helps kids see how to live out God’s word and show love even when they face struggles. I love how words from the Bible are woven into the sweet illustrations.
When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner and David Catrow
With catchy, energetic rhymes and gorgeous artwork, When God Made You tells kids God made them with care and loves them with joy. The book’s pictures tell their own story, showing a little girl living out God’s design through her creativity and helpfulness.
More Love Picture Books for Preschool & Elementary Kids
You’re the Hugs to My Kisses by Barbara Herndon and Diane Ewen
Check out the Our Everyday Parables interview with author and editor Barbara Herndon.
Because You’re Mine by Nancy Tillman
I Believe I Can by Grace Byers
Dear Boy by Jason Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal
Dear Girl by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Paris Rosenthal, and Holly Hatam
If You’re Enjoying this list, We think You’ll Like this, Too.
I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
Spaghetti In a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy and Kimberly Shaw Peterson
I Love You More than Rainbows by Susan Crites and Mark and Rosemary Jarman
I Can Do Hard Things by Gabi Garcia and Charity Russell
Love Monster by Rachel Bright
“I Love You” Book for Foster Parents:
Love You From Right Here by Jamie Sandefer and Pamela Goodman
“I Love You” Books for New Parents
The Wonder That Is You by Glenys Nellist and Aurelie Blanz
(Get a free coloring sheet to go with this book at the author’s website.)
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Which “I Love You” Books Do You Love?
Did you see a favorite of yours on the list? What would you add? Please share in the comments below and pass this list on to a caregiver you love.
Rachel H. says
Thank you for these great recommendations! My family also enjoys “And I Love You” by Ruth Krauss and Steven Kellogg. We love the intricate illustrations and relationship between the mom and child. With our busy days, bedtime is a wonderful opportunity to share our love by reading together. “God Bless you and Goodnight” by Hannah C. Hall and “Time for Bed” by Mem Fox have been some of our favorites since my babes were tiny!
Thank you for sharing those, Rachel! They are so sweet.
Glenys Nellist says
Thank you so much for including The Wonder That is You. I really appreciate that.
Our pleasure! It’s beautiful!