Picture Books about Love and Compassion

Picture Books about Love and Compassion

These picture books about love and compassion celebrate love as friendships, school crushes and family relationships (happy and sad).

Picture Books about Love and Compassion

Picture Books about Love

According to Urban Dictionary, unconditional love is “affection without any limitations or love without conditions.” Love given unconditionally makes us feel loved and, of course, happier, particularly children.

These picture books about love and compassion show characters receiving and giving unconditional love and the benefits of it. You will read about different love including platonic, romantic, sad and family love and friends who respect and love each other.

Children’s Books for Valentine’s Day

You can, of course, read some of these children’s books for Valentine’s Day. Find out more about the history of Valentine’s Day at History.com. Learning for Justice also has an interesting lesson plan on the background of Valentine’s Day.

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Picture Books about Love and Compassion

These picture books about love show that love comes in many forms: romantic and platonic, happy and sad.

Big Hid by Roisin Swales

Big and Little do everything together, but one day Big hid! Little doesn’t understand why Big won’t come out of his shell. Little gave Big a great big hug and Big didn’t feel like hiding anymore. 

Promotes self-management, wellbeing, friendship and compassion.

Dad By My Side by Soosh

Take a look at all the fun things you can do with your dad; playing make-believe, banishing under the bed monsters and always being there when you need him.

Days with Dad by Nari Hong

A daughter narrates how her dad regrets all the things he can’t do with her because he uses a wheelchair. She responds by telling him she loves all the things they can together like drinking hot chocolate, watching the rain and building sandcastles.

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

A young Asian girl notices her eyes kiss in the corners, just like her mother, grandmother and little sister. She feels empowered by this connection to her family and is filled with love and appreciation for her own identity and beauty. 

Promotes self-affirmation, identity, empowerment, self-esteem, intergenerational relationships and making connections.

The Forever Tree by Tereasa Surratt

When a special tree becomes sick the animals and humans who love the tree come together to save it.

Promotes nature, community and problem-solvers.

Freedom, We Sing by Amyra León

Amnesty International endorse this book about freedom. The poetic text tells the reader about the freedom to live without violence, to be who we are, not experience fear and be protected and safe. 

Use to discuss social justice, civil rights, human rights, hope, and empathy.

The Garden of Hope by Isabel Otter

A young girl grieving the death of her mother transforms a neglected garden into a place of beauty, love and hope.

A Gift by Yong Chen

Amy receives a surprise Chinese New Year gift from her aunt and uncles in China. The parcel contains a carved, jade pendant shaped like a dragon. This symbol of China expresses love for their family.

Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox

Harriet has a series of naughty mishaps that tests her mother’s patience. But Harriet and her mum know that they love each other no matter what.

Promotes forgiveness, self-management and manners.

The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

Unsure of how to cope with the death of her grandfather a girl puts her heart in a bottle. She loses all her curiosity and wonder until she meets a small child filled with the wonder she once had. She places her heart back where it belongs, rediscovering her curiosity and love of the world.

Reinforces themes of wellbeing, grief and reflection.

I Need a Hug by Aaron Blabey

A little porcupine needs a hug, but with her prickly spikes, she gets rebuffed by the other animals. The despondent porcupine sees these animals running back towards her, only to find they are escaping from a snake. The unappreciated porcupine and snake hug each other, finally feeling some love.

If All the World Were … by Joseph Coelho

A young girl and her ailing grandfather admire the beauty of their environment and use their imagination to create special memories of their time together. One day when the girl visits her Grandad his chair is empty. She helps gather his belongings, finding objects reminding her of their time together.

Reinforces themes of love, bereavement, family and reflection.

Joy by Corrinne Averiss

Fern decides to bring joy back to her Nanna’s life. She attempts to capture the joy she finds in her neighbourhood but Fern learns that it is herself that bring joy to her Nanna.

Reinforces themes of empathy, love, thoughtfulness and kindness.

Julián at the Wedding by Jessica Love

Julian joins his friend Marisol at the wedding of two brides. After their wedding roles as ring bear and flower girl, the two get up to all sorts of fun involving a messy dog, fairy wings and fairy house.

Use to discuss acceptance, love, and friendship.

Koala Lou by Mem Fox

Koala Lou worries when her busy mother forgets to tell her how much she loves her. She sets out to win the Bush Olympics to win back her mother's love. She doesn't win but realises she had never lost her mother's love.

Love by Matt de la Peña

Matt de la Pena’s prose and Loren Long’s illustrations define love in multiple and varied scenarios.

Reinforces themes of family, love and wellbeing.

Love is by Diane Adams

A young girl describes love while she learns how to care for a duckling she found, but she learns love also means knowing when it is time to let it go.

Love Is Powerful by Heather Dean Brewer

Mari prepares for the Women’s March in New York City in 2017 with her mother. As she makes her sign she ask her whether the world will hear their message. Her mama responds “They’ll hear because love is powerful.”

Promotes equality, curiosity, tolerance and fighting for change.

Mango Moon by Diane de Anda

A daughter recalls what it is like when her father is deported. The family has to move home and she feels emptiness without her father, but she learns that her love for him is everlasting.

Mommy Sayang by Rosana Sullivan

In Malaysia, a mother and daughter spend their time doing things together. This changes when the mother become sick. Aleeya takes a hibiscus flower to her mother’s bedside to remind her of their love for each other.

My Heart by Corinna Luyken

In this poetic book full of metaphors, a young girl describes how her feelings change day by day and she gets to decide how she feels.

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero

Daisy Ramona loves zooming around the neighbourhood with her Papi on his motorcycle. She witnesses her rapidly changing community but knows her Papi’s love will always be there.

My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart

A boy who has a pink shadow is born into a family of men with blue shadows. He wants to be like his big, strong father, but he loves things that are ‘not for boys’. His loving father supports his son with self-acceptance and helps him embrace his gender identity.

The Night Is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah

Amani’s father tells the readers about his daughter’s evening game of hide-and-seek with her friends. Suffering from self-doubt, he tells her about the beauty of her skin and how she should work with the moon. She believes in herself when the moon helps find her last friend.

Promotes themes of identity, joy, love, self-acceptance, self-esteem, self-confidence, representation and overcoming self-doubt.

Papa, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse

A Masai father calls his son Tender Heart. The boy questions his Papa about how much he loves him and is reassured he will always love him unconditionally.

Perfect by Nicola Davies

A young boy learns to accept and embrace his baby sister’s disability when he cares for an injured bird. A story of love, acceptance and disappointment.

Phileas's Fortune: A Story about Self-Expression by Agnes de Lestrade

Large factories churn out beautiful, ugly and funny words. People purchase, then swallow the words to communicate. Not all words are equal and the cost of each word varies. Phileas catches three discarded, random words to express his love for Cybele.

Reinforces themes of communication, perseverance, problem-solving, risk-taking and creative thinking.

The Pond by Nicola Davies

A young boy describes the loss of his father and how family members experience grief in different ways. They try to cope by rebuilding the pond he created when he was alive.

Reinforces themes of acceptance, bereavement, relationship skills and self-management.

Saturday by Oge Mora

Ava waits all week for the weekend to arrive as Saturday means special mother and daughter time. She is disappointed when things don’t quite go as they planned, but she learns that things will work out.

So Much! by Trish Cooke

Mum and the baby weren’t doing much until the doorbell rang, and rang, and rang. They open the door to fun and loving family members who come to celebrate dad's birthday.

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o

Sulwe’s skin is darker than everyone in her family and at school. She wants to lighten her skin, the colour of midnight, so she is no longer teased. Her mama empowers Sulwe by telling her a story that helps her love and accept who she is, and dismisses the negative opinions of others.

Under My Hijab by Hena Khan

A young girl watches how Muslim women in her family wear their hijab. Grandma wears it under her chin fastened with a pin and her aunty pins hers with a beautiful brooch. Jenna wears her hijab under a sunhat and Zara likes hers to match her outfit. The girl dreams of her own future and the different ways she can express herself through her hijab.

Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bell

Four children share their lives under the umbrella of love. It is a reminder that no matter the distance, our loved ones will always be there for us. The umbrella is a metaphor for love, acceptance, comfort, and safety.

While We Can't Hug by Eoin McLaughlin

Best friends, Hedgehog and Tortoise, want to hug each other, but are not allowed. They find different ways to show their love for each other by waving, blowing kisses, singing, dancing and writing letters.

Reinforces social distancing, empathy, friendship, and love.

You Belong Here by M. H Clark

This story of belonging takes the reader on a journey around the world. Parents tell their children about the world, its nature and its animals emphasising they are where they belong and they are loved.

Your Name Is a Song by J Thompkins-Bigelow

A young girl leaves school frustrated after a day of her classmates and teacher mispronouncing her name. On their walk home she tells her mother she doesn’t want to go back, who in turn tells her daughter “your name is a song.” She returns to school empowered and shares what she has learned.

Promotes themes of identity, respect, individuality, empowerment, love, confidence, and self-esteem.

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What Next?

What are your favourite picture books about love and compassion? Let me know in the comments.

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Picture Books about Love and Compassion

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