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Our favourite picture books about love

A Brave Bear

There's nothing quite like the bond between a carer and their child, and these picture books beautifully explore that unconditional love.

So whether you're cuddling with your child before bed or just want to relax with an adorable tale, we've chosen some books that are bound to make your storytime even more heartwarming than normal.

  • The Hug

    Author: Eoin McLaughlin
    Publisher: Faber & Faber
    Interest age: 3-6

    Tortoise and Hedgehog are both feeling sad, and they both want a hug - but Tortoise's shell is putting the animals off, and Hedgehog is too prickly. Will they ever find a squeeze? A clever, touching flip book.

  • Pug Hug

    Author: Zehra Hicks
    Publisher: Hodder
    Interest age: 2-5

    A very cute pug really wants a hug, but no-one wants to hug him! What is a pug in need of a hug to do? This simple but effective story is perfect for reading aloud with lots of giggly cuddles.

  • I Love You, Stick Insect

    Author: Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 4-7
    Reading age: 5+

    Stick Insect has fallen in love with another stunning Stick Insect - the only problem is, it's actually a stick. Enjoy hilarious, expressive illustrations in this amusing story.

  • Simon Sock

    Author: Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet Illustrator: Nick East
    Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
    Interest age: 4-6
    Reading age: 5+

    All the socks in the draw have pairs except for Simon Sock - he's all alone. He's odd. But when there's a voice from under the chest of drawers, will he be about to meet his perfect match? A bright and sweet book about relationships.

  • How To Say I Love You In Five Languages

    Author: Kenard Pak
    Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
    Interest age: 4-6
    Reading age: 5+

    Five children from different countries show us who they love and how to say 'I love you' in their own languages. A stylish interactive board book that's fun for pre-schoolers and older children.

  • I Love You Bunny

    Author: Alina Surnaite
    Publisher: Lincoln Children's Books
    Interest age: 4-7
    Reading age: 5+

    It's bedtime for Suzy, but she's scared of monsters - and things get even more scary when Bunny disappears during the night! A warm story that will reassure little ones who are worried about monsters in the shadows.

  • Guess How Much I Love You

    Author: Sam McBratney Illustrator: Anita Jeram
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 0-3
    Reading age: 0-3

    This modern classic is a wonderful story about love between a child and a parent, which is never too early to share with your baby. The repetitive text lends itself perfectly to a soothing bedtime read.

  • The Boy Who Loved Everyone

    Author: Jane Porter Illustrator: Maisie Paradise Shearring
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 3-6

    Dimitri is new at nursery, and no matter how many people (and trees) he says 'I love you' to, no one says it back. Dimitri starts to get really sad. Even the guinea pig seems to want to get away!

    When Mum walks him to nursery the next day, she explains that people show their feelings in different ways: the mean old man on the park bench is telling the stray …

  • Words and Your Heart

    Author: Kate Jane Neal
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 4-7
    Reading age: 5+

    A clear and simple book all about the power of words to affect how we feel that is perfect for young children just starting to navigate friendships for the first time.

  • A Brave Bear

    Author: Sean Taylor Illustrator: Emily Hughes
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 5+

    A book for families, for dads and for illustration fans, this is in the same territory as the phenomenally successful Guess How Much I Love You, but with a subtler sentimentality that might appeal to a new generation of parents.

  • Love is

    Author: Diane Adams Illustrator: Claire Keane
    Publisher: Chronicle Books
    Interest age: 4-7
    Reading age: 5-7

    A little girl cares for a duckling just as a parent would care for a baby. But also, as the duckling grows, the little girl comes to understand that part of love is letting things go. A gentle and inspiring joy to read. 

  • I'll Love You Always

    Author: Mark Sperring Illustrator: Alison Brown
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 2-5

    This is a perfect bedtime book about the everlasting bond of love between a little mouse and her mummy or daddy.

  • I Love You, Baby

    Author: Claire Freedman Illustrator: Judi Abbot
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 1-5

    This celebration of the love a parent has for their child is perfect for cuddles, as all sorts of baby animals learn that they will always be loved - no matter what.

  • I Love You

    Author: Clemency Pearce Illustrator: Rosalind Beardshaw
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 1-4

    This beautifully illustrated book about forest animals shares a very important lesson: that those three little words can make a huge difference to someone feeling blue.

  • Love...

    Author: Emma Dodd
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 2-5
    Reading age: 5+

    Perfect for sharing at bedtime, this beautifully illustrated story about love follows a baby bunny and parent rabbit as they spend the day enjoying each other's company.

  • Love You Hoo

    Author: Rachel Bright
    Publisher: Orchard
    Interest age: 2-5

    Big Owl snuggles up for a bedtime cuddle with Little Hoo in this heartwarming story about the unconditional love and support between a carer and child.