Love & Friendship in the Air
There are many special occasions to celebrate the month of February. Almost all schools find creative ways to connect Presidents Day to the curriculum, and many school and public libraries include a way to commemorate Valentine’s Day. When I was in elementary school, and even into junior high school we had a class Valentine’s box. There was usually a committee of students charged with decorating it. Then everyone put valentines addressed to their friends in the box. Sometimes we made our valentines; other times we bought a variety package of cards with the idea that there would be a card appropriate for each special friend. I seem to remember that the number of cards we received was far more important than the sentiment inside. Then in high school everything changed –the sentiment meant everything to you. I don’t think that I, or any of my classmates ever understood the history of Valentine’s Day; it was simply a time to have a class party or display love and friendship.
There are so many resources available about all holidays that it’s easy to develop curriculum and library programming around this special day. Here are some ideas:
- Readers may enjoy finding images of vintage Valentines. A book that may be used with all ages is Vintage Valentines by Golden Books. Encourage them to explore the Vintage Valentine Museum. Then have them create a vintage Valentine for someone in their family.
- Have older readers research the history of Valentine’s Day and create Valentine’s trivia. The following websites are helpful:
Then have them divide the trivia into five categories. Ask for volunteers to compete in a Jeopardy style game with the clues taken from the research.
- Allow older readers to create a Valentine maze for younger readers where a card is delivered from a postal worker to a recipient. Or, consider a Valentine’s Day hidden picture.
- Have readers draw various sizes of hearts and cut them in puzzle pieces. Then mix up the pieces and take them to another class or group and see how long it takes them to fit the pieces together.
- Finally, introduce readers to books that celebrate love. The youngest readers may want to make a Valentine card for a character in a book. Older readers may enjoy writing a special love poem from one character to another. Suggested titles from Random House include:
Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman & illus. by Mike Dutton
Everything I Need to Know about Love I Learned from a Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
How to Mend a Heart by Sara Gillingham
Love Always Everywhere by Sarah Massini
Three Little Words by Clemency Pearce & illus. by Rosalind Beardshaw
Tweet Hearts by Susan Reagan
Easy to Read
Junie B. My Valentime by Barbara Park & illus. by Denise Brunkus
Princess Hearts (Disney Princess) by Jennifer Liberts Weinbert & illus. by Francesco Legramandi
Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko
Crush by Gary Paulsen
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
With Love from Spain, Melanie Martin by Carol Weston
Another Day by David Levithan
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
Hollywood and Maine by Allison Whittenbert
Mismatch by Lensey Namioka