|Written by Bookshop Santa Cruz Staff|
Books of Love
Love. Love of parents. Love of siblings. First crushes. First love. Love of self. Books help children understand love, express love, and sustain love. Here are some favorites of the staff at Bookshop Santa Cruz:
Ten, Nine, Eight
by Molly Bang
There are only a few, precious moments in a chaotic day with a young child where you can slow down, connect and share quiet moments of love. For my family, our bedtime routine offers one of those moments everyday. Perfectly capturing this moment in time, Molly Bang’s Ten, Nine, Eight, a Caldecott Honor Book, shows the sweet, nurturing connection between a father and his daughter as they affectionately count down the minutes to sleep.
by Leo Lionni
As part of a family of field mice getting ready for the winter, Frederick, the quietest mouse, does not approach his preparation the same ways as his family. He does not gather corn, nuts, wheat and straw but instead gathers the sun’s rays, the colors of the meadow, and words to get through the long, cold winter. As winter comes and food runs out, Frederick’s work becomes the sustaining lifeblood of his family. Frederick is a beautiful celebration of each child’s contribution and the certainty that everyone has something to important to offer the world.
My Brother, Ant
by Betsy Byars
The love of a sibling is incredibly dynamic. Sometimes it can be joyful love in the midst of play. Sometimes it can be reluctant realization that you better figure it out because you’ll be in this partnership for the rest of your life. My Brother, Ant, a beginning reader book with a Newbery award-winning author and a Caldecott award-winning illustrator, showcases sibling love in all these forms and does so with an abundance of warmth and humor.
by Sara Varon
After more than 35 years of reading children’s books as an adult—not to mention the many years of reading them as a child—I have never read a children’s book that better describes the vicissitudes of first love. That it is a wordless book makes it that much more amazing.
The Blue Sword
by Robin McKinley
Robin McKinley is one of young adult fantasy’s leading ladies. Her poetic writing is vividly imaginative, compelling, and difficult to put down. In this, young orphan Harry finds herself kidnapped by the king of a native tribe, a king well versed in magic. As she discovers more about the world she lives in, she also learns more about herself, her own abilities, and about the greatest magic of all—love. Refreshingly, however, before giving herself freely to the man she loves, she first proves herself his equal. Magic, epic battles, inner strength and love all come together in this well plotted, enchanting tale. Ages 12 & up.
Why We Broke Up
Written by Daniel Handler, illustrated by Maira Kalman
Teens and young adults, who are likely to have experienced their first crushes and, unfortunately, their first heartbreaks, will find much to relate to in this terrific new book. Handler (otherwise known as Lemony Snicket), perfectly captures the voice of high schoolers Min and her ex, Ed. They shared a brief but intense love, and an equally intense break-up. Maira Kalman’s bright, whimsical illustrations of the various objects collected throughout Min and Ed’s relationship (ticket stubs, a pinhole camera) are integral to the story. Sweet, funny, and heartbreaking.