Books for Showing You Care

We often associate Valentine's Day with romantic love, but nowadays the holiday has grown to encompass and celebrate the love of friends and family as well. Schoolchildren pass out boxed Valentine cards to their classmates, parents give heart-shaped treats to their children, and distant relatives send greeting cards to their loved ones. While some purists may lament the widening scope of Valentine's Day, I think that it's nice to use the holiday as an opportunity to show everyone in your life that you care about them.

With that in mind, this month I've selected a few of my favorite books about caring. None of these picks are set at Valentine's Day, but they all focus on the theme of demonstrating that you love someone. They make excellent picks both as alternative Valentine's Day reading or as a way to show you care any time of the year.

Toot and Puddle: You Are My Sunshine by Holly Hobbie

This is the third book in Hobbie's popular series starring best friends Toot and Puddle, but it was actually the first of their adventures that I read. Here, Toot is in a sad and sulky mood for seemingly no reason, and Puddle tries his best to cheer him up with his favorite foods, friends, and activities. Even though it might not be Puddle's efforts that bring Toot out of his funk in the end, You Are My Sunshine shows how both friends truly appreciate each other. Recommended for young readers ages 4-8.



Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

When Little Nut Brown Hare is getting ready to go to bed, he challenges Big Nut Brown Hare, "Guess how much I love you." The two soon get into a loving game of one-upmanship where each tries to physically demonstrate the amount of love they have for the other. At first Big Nut Brown Hare has the advantage due to having longer limbs, but eventually he lets Little Nut Brown Hare get the last word in and thus win the game--but as the book shows, it's not the game that really matters but how much the Nut Brown Hares care. Recommended for young readers ages 4-8.



The House At Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne

Friendship and caring are important themes in both Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, but to me its the latter book that really stands out in this respect. Almost every story features Pooh and friends showing how they care for one another--Pooh and Piglet build a house for Eeyore, everyone tries to help newcomer Tigger find something for breakfast, and Pooh invites Piglet to share his home after Piglet gives up his own to Owl. The most poignant episode, though, is the final one, where Christopher Robin prepares to spend more time at school and shares a moment with his beloved Pooh Bear at Galleons Lap. It's one of my favorite passages in children's literature, in one of my favorite children's books. Recommended for young and middle grade readers ages 6-10.