Perhaps it is the division and discord in our world these days, or maybe it is heightened stress levels due to the upcoming holiday season and a bit of angst over changing weather patterns. Whatever the cause(s), I feel like now it is more important than ever, but also sometimes quite challenging, to love on my Littles. 

The world has forever been a place of constant change, so the struggle to keep pace and stay informed while also being present for those in our families and homes is nothing new. I get that. But I also get that I can carve out space and time by creating rituals and traditions that help me navigate both the troubled and the triumphant times by sharing a very specific kind of love with my children – the love of stories. 

Now, storybooks are not a new thing in our house, either; we’ve been reading to our four babes since the very first one was in my tummy. But what struck me the other day is that I could easily gather a collection of books to pull from when I need a 10-minutes-or-less way to say “I love you” to my kiddos in a slightly more subtle way. I want so very much for messages of love to put down tracks in their brains and in the their hearts, so I did a quick scan of our various bookshelves and came up with this: The Love Pile. 

As you can see, everything here is picture book level or less, which might not be as handy for the upper elementary and older crowds, but what makes them all so good is that each one of has love, acceptance, and kindness at the center of the story, which are ageless values. There is also a strong theme of being loved just for who you are and that each one of us matters in this world in each. See below for a quick idea of the books.

Starting today, I am setting this stack of books aside and plan to pull out at least one a day, maybe more if time allows, so I can repeat these lines over and over and over, in hopes of surrounding my Littles with one more layer of love – one more reason to believe that they matter, they are loved, and they are powerful enough to love others, even when things get hard. 

Which books would make The Love Pile in your house? Please share your favorite kiddo books about love in the comments! We would love to see our pile grow. 


The Crown on Your Head (Crown on Your Head, The) by Nancy Tillman — a sweet, sweet, story about how each one of us has light and importance – not better than anyone else’s, but simply ours to cherish and share. 

You Are My I Love You: board book by Maryann Cusimano Love — confession time: both this book and the previous are “First Books” in our house – ones that we took with us to the hospital when two of our babies were born. This one, in its simple rhyme scheme format, expresses how parents and children compliment each other in love and in life.

The Five Senses of Love by Janet Parsons — this one demonstrates all the ways children can see, feel, and express love. Perfect for curious and active wee ones!

Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury — pull this one out when you are feeling nostalgic and want to hold space for your kiddo before time passes too quickly. 

You’re Here for a Reason by Nancy Tillman — pretty much anything by Tillman is a great choice, as her books always strive to make children realize just how loved they are. This one acknowledges the ups and downs, and encourages the reader to keep in mind how important they really are.

Because of You by B. G. Hennessy — short and sweet, this one is another aimed at relaying just how much of a positive impact each one of us can have on others. Such a valuable lesson for parents and children alike. 

Jenni Welsch

A South Dakota girl at heart, Jenni has made a home in Hastings with her cool Nebraska guy and their four sweet babes. On top of being a stay at home mama, she is also a certified yoga teacher and part-time college writing instructor; writing on her blog keeps all of her roles and loves in life together. Before Jenni's oldest fell head over heels for Angry Birds, he once had a thing for dinosaurs. The Maiasaura is a dinosaur named for being a "good mother lizard" which is where she draws inspiration for her blog about mamahood, The Modern Maiasaura, in which some days are more good and others more lizard. You can read more and follow along with all of Jenni's latest kid antics, yoga adventures, and mama-isms at http://