12 Books to Read on Saint Valentine’s Day

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s library coordinator, Meghan Howe, has put together the following book list to help you celebrate Valentine’s Day. Below are 12 Canadian books for kids and teens that feature themes such as love, friendship and romance.

Picture Books

Kiss Kiss

Kiss, Kiss
Written by Jennifer Couëlle
Illustrated by Jacques Laplante
Translated by Karen Simon
Pajama Press, 2015
ISBN 978-1-927485-86-6
IL: Ages 3-6 RL: Grades 1-2

Kisses | Verse | Love

One on the forehead, one on the nose and one flying through the air… What would a day be like without kisses? This picture book celebrates the sweet gesture as a small child experiences it: in a parent’s snug goodnight, a baby’s sticky smooch and a healing touch on a scraped knee. This title is also available in French as Le bisou.

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Market Wedding

The Market Wedding
Written by Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Regolo Ricci
Groundwood Books, 2014
ISBN 978-1-55498-695-8
IL: Ages 7-10 RL: Grades 2-3

Kensington Market | Weddings | Jewish Community | Historic Toronto | Love

When Morris the fishmonger and Minnie the hat seller fall in love, Morris comes up with a wedding plan designed to deliver the very best for his beloved bride-to-be… with unexpected consequences. Morris’s plan to give Minnie the very finest of everything backfires, of course, but like all good love stories, the tale ends in a happy — if surprising — fashion.

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Plant a Kiss

Plant a Kiss
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
HarperCollins Publishers, 2011
ISBN 978-0-06-198675-8
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 2-3

Love | Generosity | Sharing

Little Miss planted a kiss… One small act of love blooms into something bigger and more dazzling than Little Miss could have ever imagined in this gentle story about life, kindness and giving. The simple, clever text trips along in a happy, rhythmic fashion to culminate with “From one little kiss… endless bliss.”

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Secret Life of Squirrels - A Love Story

The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story
(The Secret Life of Squirrels, Book 3)
Written and photographed by Nancy Rose
Little, Brown and Company, 2016
ISBN 978-0-316-27263-6
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 2- 3

Squirrels | Love | Friendship | Valentine’s Day | Animals

Love is in the air with another irresistible photographic story of wild squirrels in homemade miniature settings — stopping at the bookstore, shopping for groceries, playing on the playground, and more — delighting readers and animal lovers of all ages.

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Junior & Intermediate Fiction

Finding Ruby Starling

Finding Ruby Starling
Written by Karen Rivers
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2014
ISBN 978-0-545-53479-6
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 4-5

Sisters | Identity | Family | Friendship | Belonging | Tweens

Ruth is an extroverted American girl. Ruby is a shy English one. As they investigate whether or not they are long-lost twins, they share lives full of friends, family and possible romances — and they realize they each may be the sister the other never knew she needed. A funny, touching novel written entirely in emails, letters, Tumblr entries and movie scripts.

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Love is a Four-Letter Word

Love Is a Four-Letter Word
Written by Vikki VanSickle
Scholastic Canada, 2011
ISBN 978-1-4431-0787-7
IL: Ages 10-13 RL: Grades 5-6

Friendship | Romance | Family Relationships

Clarissa feels alone: her mother has a new boyfriend, Benji is busy with a school play, and Mattie is boy crazy. But then she meets Michael, who wants to be more than just friends. Does she want more, too? Find out how Clarissa survives two make-overs, discovers a hidden talent for badminton, makes new friends and learns that love is a little word with big consequences. This is the sequel to Words That Start with B.

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Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze
Written and illustrated by Alan Silberberg
Aladdin, 2010
ISBN 978-1-4169-9431-2
IL: Ages 9-13 RL: Grades 4-6

Humour | Grief | Death | Mothers | New Kids at School | Crushes

Loveable 13-year-old Milo Cruikshank finds reasons for frustration at every turn, from the annoying habits of his neighbours to his futile efforts to get Summer Goodman to realize his existence. The truth is, ever since Milo’s mother died, nothing has gone right. Now instead of the kitchen being full of music, his whole house has been filled with Fog. Nothing’s the same. Not his Dad. Not his sister. And definitely not him. As he copes with being the new kid (again), he struggles to survive a year filled with reminders of what his life “used to be.”

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Secret Life of Owen Skye

The Secret Life of Owen Skye
Written by Alan Cumyn
Groundwood Books, 2008 ©2002
ISBN 978-0-88899-867-5
IL: Ages 8-11 RL: Grades 4-5

Siblings | Family | Friendship | Love | Humour

Owen Skye does everything (just about) his older brother, Andy, says, while trying to stay one step ahead of little brother Leonard, who has now started school and is becoming smart at an alarming pace. The Skye brothers live in a small rural village with their parents and weird Uncle Lorne, an eccentric and painfully shy bachelor who sleeps on a cot in the basement, takes out his teeth at night and embodies Owen’s worst fears about becoming a grownup. On his way home from hockey practice one evening, Owen catches a glimpse of a girl named Sylvia at her piano lesson, and he falls hopelessly in love. Tween readers will also enjoy the sequels, After Sylvia and Dear Sylvia.

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Young Adult Fiction

Anne & Henry

Anne & Henry
Written by Dawn Ius
Simon Pulse, 2015
ISBN 978-1-4814-3941-1
IL: Ages 14 and up RL: Grades 9-10

Teen Romance | Family Relationships | Wealth | Obligation | Deception | Fitting In | Desire

A sizzling high school romance ignites in this modern-day retelling of the infamous love affair between Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. Henry’s life, never his own, has been mapped out since birth. Then wild, brash and outspoken Anne crashes into his life. Anne is all he thinks about, desire consuming him. Henry will do anything to be with her, but will their romance destroy them both?

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Every Hidden Thing

Every Hidden Thing
Written by Kenneth Oppel
HarperCollins Publishers, 2016
ISBN 978-1-44341-029-8
IL: Ages 14 and up RL: Grades 9-10

Dinosaurs | Scientific Expeditions | Relationships | Romance

Somewhere in the badlands, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur. To 17-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his father in the history books. For Rachel Cartland, this find could be her ticket to a different life. As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both rex and each other?

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Heartache and Other Natural Shocks

Heartache and Other Natural Shocks
Written by Glenda Leznoff
Tundra Books, 2015
ISBN 978-1-77049-836-5
IL: Ages 14 and up RL: Grades 9-10

Rivalry | 1970s | Change | Family | Coming of Age | Teen Romance

It’s 1970, and 15-year-old Julia thinks her life is over when her family leaves Montreal for the suburban wasteland outside Toronto. Next door lives Carla, who knows how to get what she wants. Julia and Carla are soon vying not only for the same role in the school play, but also for the leading man. When events take a dangerous turn, both girls become vulnerable to deception and betrayal.

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Love, Lies and Spies

Love, Lies and Spies
Written by Cindy Anstey
Swoon Reads, 2016
ISBN 978-1-250-08403-3
IL: Ages 14-18 RL: Grades 8-9

Romance | Historical Fiction | Humour | Adventure | Espionage

Juliana Telford is not your average 19th-century young lady. When her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Spencer Northam is not your ordinary 19th-century gentleman. He is a spy for the War Office, on his first mission. But when his assignment involves observing lovely Juliana and her friends… plans for a season without romance are foiled!

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