9 Valentine's Day Picture Books for Upper Elementary

9 Valentine's Day Picture Books for Upper Elementary

When it comes to February in the classroom, especially the upper elementary classroom, love is definitely in the air!

That is why I like to fill the month of February with love, kindness, and friendship-themed read alouds that are just perfect to bring Valentine's Day into the classroom. It is the perfect time to introduce or review themes in literature while reading a variety of books. These books can be used to celebrate Valentine's Day, discuss themes and other reading strategies, and engage students in meaningful book talks.

Read this list of my favorite picture books that I love reading in February with my upper elementary students. Plus, grab the free printables at the bottom of this post that go along with these books!

February read aloud for kids

1. Yuck, A Love Story by Don Gillmore

This is my favorite story to read during February!

I love the specific details included in this book which make it perfect for visualizing lessons. This story follows two young friends as they develop a friendship, one going out of the way to give his new neighbor the moon. In the classroom, I read this story one time through without sharing the illustrations. Instead, I have students draw quick sketches of what they visualized every few pages. Then we reread the story, this time I share the illustrations, and the students compare what they visualized to the illustrations. It is a great lesson to encourage students to visualize as they read to increase their reading comprehension.

February read aloud 3rd 4th 5th graders

2.  Porcupining by Lisa Wheeler

This story is a fun read as the author enjoys using a play on words. Before reading this story, discuss what the word pining means as it comes up throughout the story and is one part of the play on words as the Porcupine is porocupining for a wife. Throughout the story, the Porcupine sings a song with a rhyming pattern. A fun follow-up activity would be to have your students write their own Valentine's Day poem using the same pattern.

This story follows the same theme as found in the book, Nobody Hugs a Cactus (number 9 on this list) making it perfect for comparing and contrasting themes, characters, and basic literary essay writing pieces.

february read aloud picture book

3. Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I love this sweet simple story and how the kiss is a metaphor for kindness! Kindness can and should be shared everywhere. This is a fun one to read and then brainstorm with students all the ways that they can spread kindness in the classroom, around the school, and around their community. Get started with this free kindness calendar.

milton hershey read aloud for kids

4. On the Corner of Chocolate Avenue by Tziporah Cohen

We cannot go through February without a little discussion on chocolate and what better person to read about than Milton Hershey! I love reading this book, as it is the perfect mix of nonfiction and biography with a main idea and topic perfect for Valentine's Day...chocolate! The best part about this book is about Milton himself and what a philanthropist he was. This leads to wonderful classroom discussions about doing good things for others, kindness, and showing your love and how much you care, again perfect timing for February!

valentine's day read alouds

5. Hug Machine by Scott Campbell

This is a quick and fun read-aloud that truly encompasses the theme of love, perfect for Valentine's Day and February. This quick story is the perfect opportunity to introduce, practice, or review character analysis. Be sure to show your students the checklist found on the inside cover and the completed checklist on the backside cover, the kids love checking it by revisiting the story. 

february read aloud for 3rd 4th 5th graders

6.  Be You! by Peter H. Reynolds

Want to get in a little social-emotional learning this month? Read this book and have a discussion about self-love! My students LOVE this activity! This book is written in a fun format, each page filled with phrases and illustrations encouraging the reader to just be themselves...an important message we want our kids to hear again and again. Follow up a read-aloud of this book with a little self-love activity to display to remind your students how awesome they are! Print out the heart and have the students fill it with all the things that they LOVE about themselves. Grab the free activity that goes along with this book at the bottom of this post.

read alouds for february for 3rd 4th 5th graders

7.  Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich

This sweet story tells the story of Hank, a cactus that no one wants to hug. If you are reading this one alongside a read-aloud of Porcupining, you can compare and contrast the two story's story elements, characters, and each main character's feelings and emotions. The illustrations in this book provide great support when discussing character feelings and emotions and how feelings and emotions can change throughout a story.

valentine's day reading books 3rd 4th 5th graders

8.  Love, Z by Jessie Sima

This unique book tells the story of Z, a robot out on a mission to find out what love really is. Throughout the robot's journey many things are learned and many people are met, but by the end Z realizes home is where he or she needs to be! I love this classic story with a fun twist.

somebody loves you mr hatch reading activities

9.  Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli

February cannot come and go without at least one reading of the book, Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch. This is one of my all-time favorites! It is perfect for discussing gratitude, friendship, and feelings of loneliness. This touching story tells about Mr. Hatch who feels alone and sad until the day he thinks that is loved when he gets a large box of chocolates. Unfortunately, it was delivered to him in error, but with a theme of friendship and kindness, it all works out for Mr. Hatch. this story is also perfect to analyze characters and discuss how characters change throughout the story. This is a must-read! 

valentine's day read aloud

BONUS Valentine's Day Read Aloud: Love from the Crayons by Drew Daywalt

If you are looking for a book to review or practice figurative language, this is it! This book is filled with similes and metaphors for the different colors in the crayon box...all representing love for a different reason. Before reading this book, have the students make predictions about how each color represents love. After reading the book, come up with different colors that are not in the box and have students work with a partner to write similes and metaphors about those colors.

When it comes to celebrating Valentine's Day in your upper elementary classroom books that go beyond just Valentine's Day is a must for February! The books in this list are filled with themes that you will want to bring into the classroom and continue discussing throughout the year!

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Looking for more high-interest February activities? Click the HERE.

Valentine's Day activities for 3rd 4th 5th graders

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9 Valentine's Day Picture Books for Upper Elementary

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