When my kids were little, we tried to limit the amount of candy we gave them for any holiday to the amount we’d let them eat that day. That alleviated a lot of “can I have this” requests. But this also meant we had to get creative, because the last thing we wanted was a house full of junk toys (which in the end happened because of all the birthday party “favors,” but that’s a post for another day).

Our first choice was always books and I think I’ve mentioned before that the ONE  item we never regretted buying them was books.

Here are my picks for the best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Children – Valentine Books for Ages 4 to 14 (Pre-K to Jr High):

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The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart

I chose this one because it was written by Julie Andrews! The newest in her best-selling and highly rated series. It’s a story about how to handle disappointment and learning to make the most of what you have.

Grades: Pre-K, K

Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer

Nancy Clancy and Bree, her best friend, are learning about the human heart in science class. Thinking they know how it works, they decide to play matchmakers, but nothing works out has they planned.

Grades: 1st, 2nd

The Muppets: For the Love of Piggy

Ah, it seems Miss Piggy has a secret Valentine! She’s received flowers and chocolates, but who could it be?? Kermit is a little jealous about it. Could he have some competition for Miss Piggy’s affection?

Ages: 4+

The Candy Smash (The Lemonade War Series)

The Candy Smash is the 4th installment of The Lemonade War series, but it stands on its own. It’s also centered around Valentine’s Day, but it’s a fun story any time of the year. It teaches kids that it’s OK to think outside of the box and new vocabulary words are shared at the beginning of each chapter.

Ages 8+

Love? Maybe.

I picked this book because of the lead character, Piper. She works in a candy store where she creates the idea of Consternation Hearts, a play on the popular Conversation Hearts. But it doesn’t go as she planned.

Ages 12+

All of these books are under $10 and will get read or shared over and over. Books are on the top of my non-candy gift list for Valentine’s Day (or any holiday!).