Love is in the air with these books about romance, Valentine’s Day and sweet treats. Explore stories of first crushes, elaborate Valentines and subverting romantic tropes. — By Jennifer Rothschild, Collection Engagement Librarian | Arlington Public Library
“Porcupine Cupid” by June Jason, illustrated by Lori Richmond
Porcupine loves romance and decides to play Cupid for his friends. Unfortunately, he thinks this activity means he should stick them all with arrows (he uses his quills.) The reaction is not quite what he hoped, until he posts a sign for a party where everyone can complain about the “Poke-y Porcupine Problem.” As the animals complain, they each find someone to pair off with—even someone for Porcupine in this cute, pun-filled story.
“Valenslime” by Joy Keller, illustrated by Ashley Belote
Victoria Franken is a slime scientist. She even brought some of her slime to life to make her friend Goop. As Victoria makes Valentines for all her human friends, Goop realizes he would like some slime friends, so Victoria sets off to make the perfect slime companion for him. This book is filled with all types of slime and a few of Victoria’s nonsentient slime recipes to try at home.
“Love, Violet” by Charlotte Sullivan Wild, illustrated by Charlene Chua
Violet thinks that Mira is the greatest and wants to impress her with grand adventures and treasures, but every time Mira tries to play with her, Violet gets shy and can’t speak. In order to tell Mira how she feels, Violet makes her a special Valentine. When the Valentine falls in the snow, Violet must find her courage to still give it to Mira with wonderful results.
“The Course to Chocolate” by Harriet Brundle
Follow along with the Chocolate Box food truck to discover how chocolate is made and turned into some of our favorite treats. This book is part of the Drive Thru series, which uses food trucks to explore the journeys our favorite foods take to arrive on our plates.
“Little Critter: Just a Little Love” by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter has delighted generations of young readers. When Grandma gets sick, Little Critter and his family decide to visit to make her feel better. They make a card, pick flowers and apples and make egg salad to bring, but something goes wrong at each step. No matter what happens though, a little love at each hiccup can help solve any problem.
“Teeny Houdini: The Super-Secret Valentine” by Katrina Moore, illustrated by Zoe Si
Bessie Lee doesn’t let her lack of height stop her grand ideas. When she is asked to make a special Valentine to welcome a new student, she thinks big. Bessie’s Valentine has glitter, tape and her special brand of magic. When nothing works out the way she planned, will she be able to fix her problem?
“The Big, Fun Kids Baking Book” from Food Network Magazine
Aimed at beginning bakers, this book helps young chefs create the sweetest Valentine’s Day. A range of sweet cookies and cakes and savory muffins and quick breads give children much to explore. Kids will love the section of fakeout recipes, with cakes designed to look like grilled cheese sandwiches or spaghetti and meatballs. Tips, tricks, trivia and a photographic index help round out this useful (and delicious) book.
“TBH, No One Can EVER Know” by Lisa Greenwald
Victoria has been working hard to plan the school’s Valentine dance, but her mother’s anxiety-fueled overprotectiveness has hit new levels and now she may not even be allowed to go. Victoria will need the help of her best friends if she’s going to find a way to repair her relationship with her mother. Told entirely in text messages, emojis and notes, Greenwald makes full use of this communications form, from the perfect reaction emoji to misunderstanding the tone behind a friend’s text.
“A Batch Made in Heaven” by Suzanne Nelson
Mina is excited to get an internship at the local bakery. She wants to hone her baking skills so that she can win an upcoming cookie challenge and help her family, but she’s instead captioning Instagram photos because the owner’s son, Flynn, won’t let her anywhere near the kitchen. Will she be able to discover what Flynn is hiding and make her dreams come true? This light, sweet romance also includes recipes to help recreate Mina’s mouthwatering cookie creations.
“Happily Ever Afters” by Elise Bryant
Tessa loves writing romance stories, but when she enrolls at a new school with a creative writing program, she develops a huge case of writer’s block. Her friend Caroline decides the thing Tessa needs is some real-life romance to get the words flowing again, and she’s picked out the perfect Prince Charming. Tessa follows Caroline’s program but finds she’s getting further away from her heart in the process. Maybe Tessa’s Happily Ever After isn’t the one she put down on the page, and she has a new story to tell.
“Chocolate: Sweet Science and Dark Secrets” by Kay Frydenborg
Enjoy this wide-ranging exploration of the many facets of chocolate. Frydenborg looks at how chocolate was used in Mesoamerica and how European conquest and colonization exported it around the globe. From examining the science behind why humans find it so delicious to the use of slavery in its cultivation, this book offers a fascinating and sweeping look at a favorite treat.
“Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romance Tales” edited by Ashley Herring Blake and Rebecca Podos
Fifteen short stories from authors such as Malinda Lo, Hannah Moskowitz and Sara Farizan each tackle a romance trope such as fake dating, secret royalty and being snowed-in together with a fun and intriguing new spin. From sports championships to Seder dinners, from boy bands to fleeing monsters, this collection offers a fun assortment of romance tales.