10 Stories About Love, Learning and Camp


By Mary Westbrook, children’s librarian, Free Library of Philadelphia

February is a time to show someone you love them, whether it be a family member or a friend. We have some fun, and funny, Valentine’s Day books on this list! We’re also celebrating the school year before it comes to an end (it’ll be here before you know it!) with books about the classroom, while also looking ahead to summer break and camp.


“Bitsy Bat, School Star”
By Kaz Windness
Bitsy the bat is starting at a new school and can’t wait to make new friends. But she quickly learns that everything she does seems wrong. She can’t sit in a chair like the other students—she prefers to hang upside down! She likes to paint with her toes instead of her fingers! Can Bitsy learn to embrace her differences with the help of her family? This picture book is great for those who may feel different.

By Joy Keller and Ashley Belote
Victoria Franken has a best friend, Goop, which is slime she brought to life. When Valentine’s Day rolls around, Victoria realizes that although she has lots of friends, Goop only has her. So what does she decide to do? Why, make Goop a slime friend and bring it to life! I mean, what could possibly go wrong? This colorfully illustrated picture book is filled with laughs and friendship.

(via Amazon)

“Mr. S: A First Day of School Book”
By Monica Arnaldo
It’s the first day of school, and the students in Mr. S’s class are ready to learn. However, they cannot find their teacher! All they see is a sandwich on the teacher’s desk. Is this Mr. S? This funny picture book has more to offer every time you read; and be sure to pay attention to what’s happening in the background of each illustration! This is a fun read-aloud for the whole family.

“Dino-Valentine’s Day”
By Lisa Wheeler and Barry Gott
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with dinosaurs? This colorfully illustrated picture book is filled with rhyming text and silly illustrations. Dinosaurs of all sizes get together to celebrate Valentine’s Day with decorations, food and festivities. A fun read-aloud for dinosaur fans.


“There Might Be a Kazoo Emergency”
By Heidi E. Y. Stemple and Selom Sunu
Gregory and his new friend Lola are on their way to school. When Gregory shows Lola all the things he carries in his backpack, like a feather duster and a kazoo, he explains that anything can happen on a walk to school! This easy-to-read graphic novel is filled with colorful illustrations, bold typeface and lots of laughs. This is a great introduction to the graphic novel format for beginning readers.

“Farah Rocks Summer Break”
By Susan Muaddi Darraj and Ruaida Mannaa
Farah is ready for summer break and her enrichment camp. However, things are a bit tight at home, moneywise, and she may have to skip camp this year. Farah is determined to make the money on her own with odd jobs around her neighborhood. Can Farah make enough for camp, and will she find the person responsible for taking down her advertising flyers? This easy chapter book is interspersed with black and white illustrations that catch the eye, and at fewer than 150 pages, it’s very accessible to newly-independent readers.

By Kelly Starling Lyons and Wayne Spencer
Lyons’ newest easy chapter book series stars Miles Lewis, Jada’s friend from the Jada Jones series! Miles loves science, and when Valentine’s Day rolls around, the only thing he’s looking forward to is the candy experiments. When Miles and Jada both decide to invite their grandparent to volunteer, they realize that maybe love is in the air! This highly illustrated early chapter book is perfect for fans of science and the Jada Jones series.


“Long Distance”
By Whitney Gardner
Vega and her family moved to a new town, and it’s been a hard adjustment. Hoping to help her make new friends, Vega’s parents send her off to summer camp. Determined to leave and get her old life back, Vega is dismayed when her cell phone stops working and strange things begin happening at camp. With no choice left, she teams up with her bunkmates to solve the mysteries of camp. This fun and plot twist -filled middle grade graphic novel is perfect for fans of realistic fiction and friendship stories.

(via Amazon)

“Four Eyes”
By Rex Ogle and Dave Valeza
Rex is off to his first day of seventh grade, and he’s thinking a forehead zit is as bad as it can get! However, it becomes increasingly clear, or not so clear, that Rex needs glasses. With bullies right around the corner, Rex is pretty stubborn about wearing his glasses. With humor and heart, this semi-autobiographical middle grade novel is easy to relate to for any middle school student.

“Lolo Weaver Swims Upstream”
By Polly Farquhar
Lolo is still mourning her grandfather and is coming to terms with having to give away his dog, Hank. She is also grappling with a summer school teacher who is out to get her! When Lolo decides to get Hank back, she sets off on a journey to the farm he now lives on. However, things get complicated when she meets his new owner, Noah, and realizes how much love there is between boy and dog. A heartfelt middle grade novel about grief, hope and friendship that is sure to win over readers.


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