Heartwarming – books for Valentine’s – and every day
“Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
— Antoine de Saint-ExupÄry, “The Little Prince”
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, today’s reviewed books address love, friendship and kindness. But Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time we need to be reminded of why love and friendship are important; every day is the right time to express these essential traits that we all seek to both give and receive.
BOOKS TO BORROW
The following book is available at many public libraries.
“The Little Prince” written and illustrated by Antoine de Saint-ExupÄry, translated by Richard Howard, Harcourt, 96 pages
Read aloud: ages 5 and older
Read yourself: ages 10 and older
Rich on multiple levels, “The Little Prince” has captivated young and old alike since its first publication in 1943, and with good reason.
A pilot crashes in the Sahara Desert. When he begins the task of repairing his plane, he meets the wise and humble Little Prince from Asteroid B-612. As the two new friends converse and explore their surroundings, they, along with readers, come to a deeper understanding of what is most important in life: love, friendship and responsibility.
A deeply sensitive story, “The Little Prince” has been cherished for generations for its enduring tale of wisdom and truth, regardless of who you are or where you are from.
Library: Goleta Valley Library, 500 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta
Library director: Allison Gray
Choices this week: “A Mother for Choco” by Keiko Kasza; “Toot and Puddle: You Are My Sunshine” by Holly Hobbie; “Half Magic” by Edward Eager
BOOKS TO BUY
The following books are available at favorite bookstores.
“What is Given from the Heart” by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by April Harrison, Schwartz & Wade, 2019, 36 pages, $17.99 hardcover
Read aloud: ages 4-8
Read yourself: ages 7-8
James Otis and his family have always been poor, but life has become much harder since Daddy died in spring. Mama does her best to keep their little family going, but Christmas that year was about as lean as it could get.
A few weeks before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis tells his congregation that they will, like always, be delivering love boxes to the needy folks in their community, but there is one family in particular who recently lost everything in a fire — a mother and her little girl. The Rev. Dennis asks his parishioners to add that family to their list and give whatever they think might be useful for the family, reminding them that “what is given from the heart reaches the heart.”
Mama tells James Otis that they must help these neighbors. Mama will think of something special for the mother and asks James Otis to think of something special to give to the 7-year-old girl, Sarah. James Otis is confused at first; they don’t have anything for themselves, let alone to give to someone else. But Mama is certain James Otis will come up with something.
In her usual style, author Patricia C. McKissack has once again written a moving story that gently prompts personal reflection on kindness and love.
“The Goose Egg” written and illustrated by Liz Wong, Alfred A. Knopf, 2019, 38 pages, $17.99 hardcover
Read aloud: ages 3-7
Read yourself: age 7
Henrietta the elephant loves her quiet life. She especially loves swimming below the surface of the nearby lake where she can get lost in her own thoughts.
One day while swimming and being particularly lost in thought, Henrietta accidentally knocks her head on a wooden piling and develops what she thinks is a nasty bump. Gently nursing her head, Henrietta is shocked to discover the bump on her head isn’t a bump at all — it’s an egg that hatches a baby goose!
The baby goose immediately calls Henrietta “Mama,” but Henrietta knows she must return it to her real mother. She safely places the baby goose in her nest and waits, but the mother goose never returns, so Henrietta takes the baby home to care for her.
Life with the baby goose is loud and disruptive, but Henrietta does her best to teach the goose what she feels it needs to know to be a proper goose. Henrietta does such a good job that eventually the goose is ready to go off on her own, and she does. Suddenly, Henrietta’s life is quiet again and rather lonely, but not for long.
“The Goose Egg” is a charming story of kindness, love and making room in your heart for another.
Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. Her column runs monthly in the Books section. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.