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Books We're In Love With

Love is in the air! As our thoughts turn to Valentine’s Day and all its associated romance, it's also the time of year we look to the coming of spring, warming our hearts with hope as well as love.

Love can come in many forms, shapes and sizes. Love can bring us happiness and sometimes a touch of sadness. Love is a crazy and funny thing, and to celebrate love well in books can be challenging for authors and illustrators - it is difficult to find a compromise between the overly slushy and effectively conveying the message of what love is and what it does for us. But here are some writers who make it look easy!

Having said all this, it may seem at odds that I am about to tell you first about a book called When Sadness Comes to Call (Andersen Press) - but this is, in many ways a book about love. Eva Eland is a debut Dutch author and her book is quite simply stunning. I sat on my living room floor reading this with tears rolling down my cheeks and such a big lump in my throat! It is not necessarily sad as such, but it conveys such powerful emotion; there is so much beauty in its simplicity. This is the story of the sadness in all our lives - maybe we ignore its visitations - but what we should really do is accept it, even embrace it and remember that whilst it will come and go, it is not an enemy. Why is this in a blog about love? Without love in our lives, we would not experience sadness - and without this book none of us will know what to do when it does come to call. A story told with the deepest love and understanding of what it is to be human, this is a book to love. And if you enjoy this one, keep an eye out for its sequel, Where Happiness Begins, published in March!

I really should now turn to a book that has 'love' in its title – they type of book you are probably expecting! This one is also the type of book that sits so well alongside my first – that may have been sad with a fantastic uplift at its conclusion: I’ll Love You (Andersen Press). The repeated refrain inside – 'I’ll love you till …' - is perfect to share with those they love; it is a message is of love; love come what may, love that lasts forever.This is a lyrical book that could almost be sung, a timeless lullaby for bedtime, for reading curled up together, wrapped in the warmth of a big cuddle and hug. Kathryn Cristaldi tells a wonderfully simple story with eloquence whilst Kristyna Litten takes the story and animates it with charming illustrations. As readers we are drawn in to the depths of every spread and when we emerge, it is with a very warm glow.

Another celebration of love, this time between a mother bear and her cub, comes in I Love You Brighter Than The Stars by Owen Hart and Sean Julian (Little Tiger). When the sunlight fades and the shadows fall, it is time to walk and look at the stars. And what better time for a little love than under a magical, twinkly, star-filled sky? This is a radiant, glowing and charming story for bedtime, day time, afternoon nap time or cuddle time - a story of the love between a parent and a child and the strong bonds that draw them and keep them together.

The Boy Who Loved Everyone, Jane Porter, Masie Paradise Shearring (Walker Books) is a story that will lift the spirits. Again, it is a story of love; of kindness, of friendship and of learning that love is about more than three little words. Love is thoughts and actions too, and once it is set free, it can spread around the world in many wonderful and beautiful ways. Come, join Dimitri and find out more about love, about how you too can love far and wide and how that kindness will radiate out to all.

I Am Love, A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde with art by Peter H Reynolds Abrams, is a book of messages. It is a powerful book, a loving book, a bright and bold book. It tells us that love means being kind, living with gratitude and taking care of our minds as well as our bodies. Let your heart lead the way to making the world a better place, this book tells us. A book of love, of mindfulness, of wellness, a book grounded in love, sharing the love - and encouraging us all to do the same.

One of our favourite characters cannot be missed out in this celebration of love. Hugless Douglas is back, and this time he has some new companions! Hugless Douglas and the Baby Birds by David Melling (Hodder Children’s Books) finds a big bear with a big heart looking after a nest of bird eggs. The big bear is busy counting his spring collection when a nest lands on his lap. Douglas knows he has to keep it safe whilst Swoopy Bird builds a nest - but how?! Should he sit on them like Swoopy Bird does? 'Noooo!' cry the funny bunnies! instead, they hug the eggs – warmth means they soon hatch and then there are eight fluffy birds who need to have a close eye kept on them. 'Ah,' thinks Douglas, 'now I can get back to my spring collection …' - his friends however have other plans! A bold, bright, funny, and very big-hearted story of love, of spring, of nature and of friendship. Above all, a story of love – the love of friends.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

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