Librarian Invites Kids To Have Blind Dates With Books for Valentine's Day

Blind dates with books are a great way to get kids to try something new while building their love of reading.

Books wrapped in valentine's day paper on shelf with paper hearts
Photo: Ashley Kwiecinski

It's no secret that the sweetest way to express love is through words. Love letters, vows, sticky notes packed in lunches are all ways to show that we care.

However, when your own words cannot seem to do the trick, lean on those already written for us. Books serve as the perfect gift to give when looking for all the right things to say.

Book lovers across the world will use any excuse to integrate their favorite novels into an upcoming holiday like Valentine's Day.

School Librarian Ashley Kwiecinski set up a "blind date with a book" program for students, incorporating a fun element to their routine library visits.

"I loved the concept of a blind date with a book or a mystery book because it becomes not just a pretty display, but also puts books in students' hands and encourages them to check out a book they might normally overlook,'' Kwiecinski says.

Kwiencinski covered books with paper and wrote hints relating to the genre; plot and elements were also written on the packaging in hopes of aiding their selection.

Photos of books wrapped in valentine's day paper
Ashley Kwiecinski

"As a librarian, I think of reading as a gift, but mystery books turn the books into literal gifts they can open and hopefully will also help grow their love of reading," Kwiecinski says.

Choosing Titles for Blind Dates with Books

Love stories are tales as old as time, entertaining generations of readers. The romance, rom-com, and chick lit genres have evolved throughout the years as a new wave of readers emerge. The overnight popularity of #BookTok helps as well.

A recent release, Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly, breaks barriers and includes characters who identify as nonbinary.

"Anita Kelly is a rom-com author that rom-com people are going to love," Amanda Lepper, co-owner of Dogeared Books, an independent bookstore in Ames, Iowa, says. "The writing is spot-on for rom-coms."

Love stories such as Romeo and Juliet and novels by Jane Austen are considered classics and offer a baseline for the romance genre. Stories such as The Fault In Our Stars and Perks of Being a Wallflower were released not too long ago, but are considered classics for teenagers and those who enjoyed them at their release.

"Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a more traditional love story, but I think the idea that two people can both love and hate each other is a concept that is never outdated," says Kwiecinski. "I also love Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, for the purity of these very powerful friendships forged in the story."

For children, simplicity is key. Knowing and understanding love does not have to be a confusing and complex topic.

Lepper recommends I Love You Because I Love You by Muon Thi Van and illustrated by Jessica Love.

"It shows a huge amount of diversity in the types of love people can have in families," Lepper says. "And it's all about the return you see with love. When you give love, it comes back to you. Someone's love makes you a better person. It's beautifully illustrated, really easy to read out loud— it'll hold a kid's attention."

Need some more ideas for a blind date with a book? Check out these titles!

LGBTQIA+ Love Interests:

  1. What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
  2. The Falling In Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
  3. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
  4. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
  5. Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert

Young Adult Popular Romance:

  1. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
  2. The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
  3. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
  4. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
  5. People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

Stories for the Littlest Valentine:

  1. Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day is Cool by Kimberly and James Dean
  2. Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! By Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
  3. Llama Llama I Love You by Anna Dewdney
  4. I Love You Because I Love You by Muon Thi Van

Forget Valentine's Day! We Celebrate PALentine's Day:

  1. Untamed by Glennon Doyle
  2. I Really Needed This Today by Hoda Kotb
  3. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  4. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
  5. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Happy reading!

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