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TOP 10 BOOKS TO SAY "I LOVE YOU"
TO EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST

"

For every love there
is a heart somewhere to receive it."
Ivan Panin

These books are guaranteed to go straight to your heart! They've been specially selected by Legacy Project Chair Susan V. Bosak.

When people hear the word "love" they often think of romantic love. But there are many kinds of love – love between parent and child, grandparent and grandchild, siblings, and even friends. Young and old sharing a book together is a great way to build a loving connection and explore all the different kinds of love.

Books are a special, unique way to say "I love you." Picture books often take a message and put it into a beautifully illustrated, powerful yet compact form. Share picture books with young children, teenagers, young adults, and older adults. Give picture books as gifts instead of cards. You can give them to anyone. They are an art form appropriate for all ages. Books are also more lasting than a store-bought greeting card; a card will probably end up in the garbage or stuffed in the back of a drawer, while a book is something you can read over and over again.

Here are 10 books perfect for sharing and giving in any direction – adult to child, child to adult, and adult to adult – to celebrate love in all its forms:

  1. Parent & Child: Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram. A classic! Every time Little Nutbrown Hare shows Big Nutbrown Hare how much he loves him, Big Nutbrown Hare returns the love even more.


Guess How Much I Love You
  1. Mother & Daughter: My Mama Had a Dancing Heart by Libba Moore Gray, illustrated by Raul Colon. The story recounts the joyful memories of a ballet dancer whose mama celebrated the wonders of the natural world through dance. When a mother and daughter share a close relationship, it clearly carries forward to who the daughter becomes.


My Mama Had a Dancing Heart
  1. Father & Son: My Dad by Anthony Browne. "He's all right, my dad," begins the young narrator. Each page celebrates a specific quality or accomplishment of Dad, illustrated with witty panache. "My dad isn't afraid of ANYTHING, even the Big Bad Wolf." This affectionate story shows that dad can do anything, from vanquishing bad guys to giving heartfelt hugs.


My Dad
  1. Grandmother & Grandchild: A Little Something by Susan V. Bosak, illustrated by Laurie McGaw.
    "I want to give you a little something…" A little girl receives special keepsakes from her grandmother. The years pass and the grown granddaughter comes to understand the significance of all the gifts. As this story brings a tear to your eye and a smile to your face, it becomes clear that the most precious gift of all is the gift of love.


A Little Something
  1. Grandfather & Grandchild: Grandfather's Lovesong by Reeve Lindbergh, illustrated by R. Isadora. A poetic description of a grandfather's love for his grandson, using nature metaphors. The two roam through the changing seasons in a spectacular rural setting. "I love you wide / Like the earth's great tide / With a hug of oceans / Held inside."


Grandfather's Lovesong
  1. Spouse: The Last Dance by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Debrah Santini. Precious life lessons are knit into this story line: "Every human being has a right to three things: to dance... to sing... to tell stories." Bessie and her husband Ninny express their lasting love for each other by dancing. The story spans a lifetime, from the young couple's early moonlight dances at Ninny's grandfather's grave through marriage, a war, and a last anniversary.


The Last Dance
  1. Sister & Sister: Big Sister and Little Sister by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Martha Alexander. At first, big sister takes care of little sister. The heart of the story lies in little sister's small act of rebellion on a day when she grows tired of big sister always telling her what to do. Soon they learn how much they need each other.


Big Sister and Little Sister
  1. Brother & Sister: Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Debi Gliori. When Willa can't sleep because she is so afraid of bad dreams, her brother leans down from the top bunk to encourage his little sister to think happy thoughts... about her chicken slippers, her blue-and-white jumpsuit, and tomorrow's anticipated pleasures.


Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep
  1. Grandfriend & Young Friend: Miz Berlin Walks by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. At first, Mary Louise is afraid of old Miz Berlin, until one day she realizes all the wonderful stories the woman has to tell. A tender tale about an intergenerational, interracial friendship.


Miz Berlin Walks
  1. Young & Old: Some Things Go Together by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Ashley Wolff. Couplets throughout this book – "peace with dove, home with love, and you with me" – show that some things truly do go together, and are accompanied by loving portraits of adults and children.


Some Things Go Together


Click here for a downloadable version of the Top 10 list that you can share with friends, family, and colleagues.

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org

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