Top 10 Books for Kids about Unconditional Love
We love our kids unconditionally, but do our kids know this? Do they know that no matter how they act or what they do, we will always love them?
Surprisingly, probably not.
Many kids worry that they might lose their parents’ love. They may not tell their parents that they’re the one who broke that vase, that they want to be an artist not a lawyer, or, tragically, that they have been assaulted–all because they’re scared their parents may stop loving them.
Learn more about the importance of unconditional love in this blog post.
One way to show your kid you love them no matter what is to read books about unconditional love and then repeat the message with your kid and draw parallels between the books and your relationship with your kid.
Below are some of my favorite books about unconditional love.
These books fell into three categories:
What if I…? a kid challenges their parent’s love by asking “what if” questions.
I love you when… a parent or caregiver lists how they love their child regardless of the child’s mood or behavior
Love is… ways of expressing love that go beyond “I love you.”
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What if I...?
In Mama, Do You Love Me?, a young girl asks her mother if her mother would still love her if she makes mistakes, misbehaves, or acts mean. Sometimes the girl directly shows these behaviors, and sometimes she imagines turning into an animal that characterizes these behaviors.
Each time, her mother reassures her daughter that, yes, she will always love her.
Why I love this book
I may be biased towards this book: I grew up in Alaska (and with this book!) and enjoy seeing the depictions of Inuit culture. The illustrations are gorgeous!
But what makes me love this book is that the mother gets to have emotions too. The mother gets angry, sad, worried, and scared. Children often think that when their parents get angry, they stop loving the child until they aren’t mad anymore. This book shows that even when a parent gets upset, their love doesn’t end–they continue to love their child even through strong emotions.
Like Mama, Do You Love Me?, the child asks their mother if she would love them even if they were a scary, stinky, dangerous, gross, or strange creature. The mother reassures her child that she will love and care for them no matter what.
Once again, in this book, a child asks their caregiver if they would continue to love them even if they transformed into different animals. What differentiates this book is that the caregiver and the child are genderless and without titles (other than Small and Large), making it easily relatable for any caregiver and child relationship.
I love you when…
I Love You When You’re Angry is an adorable rhyming book about a parent or caregiver who loves their child regardless of their mood or behavior. It covers many emotions, including being angry, sad, silly, grumpy, excited, tired, and more.
Why I love this book
Like Mama, Do You Love Me?, I Love You When You’re Angry also discusses the parent or caregiver’s emotions: “I love you when I’m tired, I love you when I’m cross.” “I love you when you hear me make that heaving, heavy sigh.”
These are the only two books I’ve found that talk about how the parent or caregiver loves the child, even when the parent or caregiver is angry, mad, or sad.
Parents and caregivers aren’t robots, and kids can be hard to manage sometimes. Kids need to understand that even if a parent or caregiver is upset at them, they still love them.
The I Love You Book is another wonderful book by the prolific children’s author Todd Parr. In it, a parent or caretaker expresses how they love their child in all their child’s moods. The simple text and vibrant illustrations make this an engaging book for young children. The book reflects diverse parent or caretaker and child relationships.
I Love You Through and Through is a sweet, simple story about a parent or caregiver loving every side of a child. It includes the physical (toes, nose, etc.), emotional (happy, angry, etc.), and temperamental (talkative, quiet) sides of a child. It closes with the parent or caregiver telling the child they will love them forever.
In You’re Lovable to Me, after a difficult day, Mama Bunny reassures her little bunnies that she loves them no matter what. In a sweet shift, Grandpa Bunny arrives after everyone is asleep and tells (sleeping) Mama Bunny how he still loves her even though she’s grown up. This heartwarming story shows how love grows and evolves but is always there.
With vibrant and colorful illustrations, Love Makes a Family shows that the love-relationship, not the blood-relationship, makes a family. The book explores situations where caregivers demonstrate their love for their children through everyday actions. Love Makes a Family also shows us that love is more than just saying “I love you”–it’s how we interact.
This beautiful book is excellent for nontraditional and traditional families alike.
Why I love this book
I love the diversity shown throughout this book. Not only does it show various family structures, but it also features different colors, ages, and shapes of the people. I also sincerely appreciate that "love" can often look mundane:
Getting up early in the morning
Reading your kid a bedtime story
Stomping in puddles
These are ways of building connection and showing through our everyday actions that we love our children.
Love is is about a child’s love for a stray duckling. It shows the child managing her duckling’s nighttime wake-ups and feedings, cleaning up its messes, making meals, and loving the snuggles and cuddles. When the duckling grows, the girl recognizes that part of love is letting go when the time is right. It is a beautiful and relatable parallel to a parent’s relationship with their child, and helps children understand that a lot of love is the nitty gritty day-to-day care that a parent or caregiver provides.
I Love You Just the Way You Are is about a dad and his young son. The son is having a bad day - he doesn’t want to walk, eat, or bathe. This book shows acts of love as well as words of love. The dad calmly comforts his son through his grumpiness. At the end, he tells his son, “I love you just the way you are,” reassuring him that regardless of his son’s moods, he will always love him.
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