Some people may still think of “sugar, spice, and everything nice” when it comes to describing girls, but we’ve got a slew of other awesome s adjectives: smart, strong, savvy, shrewd, sassy, sacred, sapient—we’re happy to go through the rest of the alphabet too. Celebrate just how special all the girls in your life are with these awesome Valentine’s Day picks, featuring girls who are superstars just like them.
The Littlest Valentine, by Brandi Dougherty and Michelle Todd
Emma Valentine was the littlest member of her family, and, as Shakespeare famously wrote, “though she be but little, she is fierce.” Emma loves Valentine’s Day, and she so wants to help out in her family’s gift shop. But she’s too little to help her brother blow up balloons, too little to help her mom and dad make cards, and too little to help her grandma and grandpa make chocolates. But soon she discovers that her size isn’t important, because everyone needs a little love on Valentine’s Day—including a tiny puppy she finds who needs a home in this sweet, inspiring read. (Ages 3–5)
Plant a Kiss, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter H. Reynolds
With simple rhyming verse and pared-down, clean-lined drawings, Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter H. Reynolds deliver kids a wonderful story about the power of one small act of love. In the sweet picture book, a young girl named Little Miss plants a kiss, and it takes a lot of patience to wait for it to bloom. But once it does, Little Miss has plenty of love to spread around to everyone “to and fro, high and low,” and she does indeed spread this magical love—even through rain and snow. (Ages 4–8)
Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine, by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril
Amelia Bedelia is one strong girl—maybe not strong enough to hold up a bus, which is what this super-literal little lady thinks a driver is telling her she’s doing. But she’s also smart, and incredibly resourceful, which comes in handy in this funny Valentine’s Day tale. It’s time for the V-Day party at school, and Amelia Bedelia realizes she’s left all her special cards on the school bus. Thanks to her quick thinking and creativity, though, she comes up with a smart solution to save her holiday in this cute story. (Ages 4–8)
Ellie’s Lovely Idea (Critter Club Series #6), by Callie Barkley and Marsha Riti
The generous girls in the Critter Club are all about lending a helping hand. And since there are no stray pets to care for at the animal shelter right now, the crew decides to raise money for a charity called Puppy Love, which helps families adopting pups pay for veterinary care. Ellie comes up with the fabulous idea for the idea for the club to sell singing telegrams for Valentine’s Day. All the girls are excited to write and perform the songs, while raising money for the puppies; but Ellie also has a secret wish to get a telegram herself in this charming story about friendship and philanthropy. (Ages 5–7)
Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine, (Junie B. Jones Series #14), by Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus
Junie B. Jones may only be in kindergarten, but this girl has got sass for days. So when one of her very favorite holidays, Valentine’s Day, rolls around and she receives a big, mushy card from a secret admirer, she is not going to let this mystery go unsolved. This feisty 6-year-old is determined to get to the bottom of things in this fun read for chapter book readers. Super-fans of the series will love the ongoing antics and meandering inner dialogue of their favorite fictional grade-schooler. (Ages 6–8)
DC Super Hero Girls: Date with Disaster!, by Shea Fontana and Yancey Labat
The newest addition to the DC Super Hero Girls books is all about girl power with Batgirl, Supergirl, Bumblebee, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Super Hero High gals swooping in to save the day once again. There’s been an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs, and Batgirl and reporter Lois Lane know something fishy is going on. They’re determined to solve the mystery of who’s behind the attack, but Batgirl has a little side project of her own—finding her dad, Commissioner Gordon, a date. But surely, this super-savvy gal can do both. (Ages 8–12)
What Valentine’s Day books would you gift to strong girls?