In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Team Booksweet brings you a list of our favorite love stories, offering reflections on love of all kinds: romantic love, self-love, love of community, friendship, and more.

Shop note: We’re open until 8 pm on 2/14 to make sure you have time to take yourself – or someone you love – on a book-buying date! 

Monique // 

  • Bodies are Cool by Tyler Feder. This picture book celebrates where all love should begin, with self-acceptance. Through joyful prose this book celebrates our different body sizes, skin tones, and hair types. It shares with young readers that everyone is beautiful, and “all bodies are cool!” It also impresses upon the reader that learning to love who you are is one of the greatest loves of all.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. A love story between a young woman and her home. Kya has lived in a swampy marsh in the low country of North Carolina. She is a mystery to the locals, who call her “marsh girl.” There are only a certain number of people she can count on, and is very cautious when it comes to dealing with people she doesn’t know, much preferring the insects and birds of the marsh. When a young man shows interest in her she is ready to take a chance, thinking maybe she can be someone that someone else can love. In this story Kya gains strength from the swamp in which she lives. This place of belonging instills in her the pride, strength, and self-acceptance she needs to be who she is, without apology. 

Shaun // 

  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (9 volumes published to date). Vaughan and Staples start with a pair of star-crossed lovers to explore themes of parenthood, family, and friendship through a massive space opera that is both outrageously funny and extraordinarily sad. Hazel, our narrator, is born on page 2 to parents on opposite sides of an interstellar conflict; her story is told in narrative captions from some point in the future, as the adventures of Alanna and Marko play out in Staples’ gorgeous art. As the family flees from the military forces of not only their own worlds but other enemies aligned against them, the web of allies and adversaries expands in truly unexpected ways. The depth and breadth Saga is simply incredible, full of memorable characters and absolute gut-punch emotional moments.
  • Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Nardone. Being able to cook for my family is part of my love language, and this book was an incredible help when we transitioned to a gluten free kitchen several years ago. The book itself comes from Nardone adapting her own award-winning recipes after her son was diagnosed with food intolerances to dairy and gluten. The best thing I’ve found in the book, though, is a recipe for all-purpose GF flour that behaves very much like flour that contains gluten, which allows the easy adaptation of many recipes from other cookbooks to be gluten free.
  • Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Ishiguro’s latest is a strange and charming fable about the meaning of family, the risks and sacrifices we make for the people we love, seen through the eyes of a child’s artificial companion.

Raymond [7th grade] // 

  • Chi’s Sweet Home by Konami Kanata is the best book of cat love, loving cats, and cats loving. Chi is a small cat that is adopted by a family of three. Not only does Chi love his family, but he meets other cat friends that care about him. I loved this book as a (younger) kid, because of how cute it was and how real it felt. The ending hit harder than many other kid’s books, which made it feel more meaningful. This book can be enjoyed by all ages, but I would especially recommend it to kids 5-7.
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson is mainly about love of interest, which makes it different from other books about love. Some things are worth working hard for, and that’s what our main character, Astrid, did. I like this book because the characters felt real and behaved like real people. I would recommend this book to anyone, but mainly 7-12 year-old readers.

Truly //  

  • Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. The Saturday Review has this to say on my favorite love story of all time: “Robbins lays before us the time-honored warts and hairs of the world’s philosophies — problems with religion, war, politics, family, marriage and sex — and leaves no twist or turn unstoned.” I think that says more about my take on love and relationships than it offers about Jitterbug Perfume as a love story. But still, I give this book as a wedding gift to people. I want everyone to experience an epic love that spans centuries and continents, an epic love that seeks new truths, and an epic love that isn’t afraid to do a bit of investigating into the meaning of life itself. Aim high, readers!
  • The Art of Showing Up by Rachel Wilkerson Miller. In the first half of this book, Wilkerson Miller invites readers to develop the skill of caring for themselves before they care for others through reflection, writing prompts, and scenario-building. The second part of the book delves into some practical, tactical tips for being a more present and caring human with others. I don’t usually like advice-y books, but Wilkerson Miller has some solid wisdoms for the 21st century that feel relevant, fresh, and ready to help you live into your truth as a good friend, colleague, partner, family member, parent, and community member. NPR’s Life Kit pod featured Wilkerson Miller’s advice on the episode “What to Say When a Friend is Struggling.” Give it a listen and you’ll see what I mean.
  • Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan. Presented in graphic novel form (great pictures!), this book is sex positive, body and abilities inclusive, and LGBTQ+ affirming. The book gets real about the actual questions that teens have about sex – and does so in a relatable way that combats toxic masculinity and centers consent, health (emotional and physical), and caring relationships. Your teen likely knows more than you think they do (and has a lot of misinformation too thanks to the wild world of Google). We’ve got this book on our shelves at home to provide the teens in our life with the facts they need to keep them healthy when “asking mom” feels totally out of the question.
  • C is for Consent by Eleanor Morrison, Faye Orlove. It’s never too early to celebrate body autonomy, get confident about creating boundaries, and learn important ways to share our love and respect for one another. It’s okay to say no to hugs if you’re not in a hugging mood – and okay to ask for a hug when you need one too. A great and loving read for the whole family!
  • The Book of Delights by Ross Gay. A little lyrical book of essays celebrating ordinary delights in the world around us. This is a book I gift often, one that fosters joy within and around us. Gay helps readers soften in a world that’s always telling you to “toughen up.” His words are a vital act of care.

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!