Picture Book Pair for Sharing Love and Friendship

  Picture book pair posts are about showing how books with similar themes can open up a world of discussion possibilities, and those discussions are great ways to connect with your children or students. It can be fascinating to see how different authors and illustrators approach different topics and themes. Pairing books with similar themes during story time will help children learn that everyone sees and experiences the world a little differently, and it's good to see other people's perspectives. Today is Valentine’s Day, and that has everyone talking about love! But not just romantic love. The love of friends and family is a big topic too! Yes, this time of year love is a hot topic, but it’s a good topic to read and talk about all year long. So today we’d like to share two lovely books with a theme of love between friends. But love isn’t the only thing these two books have in common. They also both feature bears! In Love is in the Little Things by Stella J. Jones, illustrate

Read, Discuss, and Do: A BOOK FOR BEAR

by Marci Whitehurst, with a craft by Rebecca J. Gomez

Have you ever seen a book about you?  

When I was a teenager, my young cousin wrote and drew a book about me and the week I spent with her one summer. I still have that book. It meant so much to me because of the time it took to make it and the special story we’d created with our time together. 

Did you know there are books about making books? A Book for Bear is a fun, creative story that you can use as a catalyst to make your own books! 

READ: A Book for Bear by Ellen Ramsey, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley. In the story, Bear desperately wants to get a book, but no matter what he tries—costumes, sneaking around, and hiding—Bear is discovered and he scares the librarian, the teacher, and the book store clerk. Finally, Bear and his young friend decide to create a book that is just for Bear—and it’s perfect. 

DISCUSS: If you were going to make a book, who would you write about? Why? 

DO: This heartwarming tale of friendship, storybooks, and creativity pairs perfectly with your own homemade book! Do you want to write a book about someone special in your life? Need a place to start? 

All books have a beginning, middle, and an end. 


  • When was the first time you met this person? 

  • Or what is your first memory of them? 

  • What is one of the first things you think about when you think of this person? 

  • What is something they remind you of? 


  • What are some things you’ve done together?

  • Is there a specific activity, event, or situation that sticks out in your mind? 

  • What are some of your favorite things about this person? Perhaps they are kind—can you think of a specific time when they were kind? 

  • What makes you want to see them again and again? Is it the sound of their voice? Their smile? 


  • Just because a book has an ending doesn’t mean the story is forever over! Consider ending a book with a sentence that shows your story together will carry on: “I can’t wait to see you again…” Or “You always give me the best hugs, every time I see you.” 

  • Endings can share big ideas or small ones. Where does this person fit in your life? Perhaps your ending can include how you see them? “She may be silly and sing from the tips of her toes, but she’s my grandma!”

  • Or end on an emotion. People remember how we make them feel. Something like, “I’ll always love my sister!” can be a summary of your emotions for someone. 

However you decide to write your book, the person you give it to will love the originality and personal message. 

Looking to make an actual book with a beautiful cover? Check out these craft ideas: 

Make a “mini zine”

You can make your own little zine (as in magazine) out of just one sheet of paper. Here’s what you do:

  1. Take a sheet of computer paper and fold it in half crosswise (hamburger style), then fold it again, then one more time. Open it up. You should have a sheet of paper with folds in it that looks like this:

  2. Fold the paper crosswise again and cut a slit down the middle crease, stopping when you reach the next fold line. Like this:

  3. The next step is a little tricky. Set your paper down vertically in front of you. Pinch the creases to the left and right of the slit you just made, then pick it up and fold each side down. Your paper should have four flaps that resemble a + when you look down on it. Smooth the creases, then press all the flaps toward the same direction to make the book’s pages. There will be four pages total (8 if you count front and back). 

  4. To make the mini zine nice and neat, you can glue the loose corners together. Just make sure you don’t accidentally glue the pages together!

  5. Design a cover and create a story or illustrations (or both) for the inside pages.

Need a video? Here’s one from author Austin Kleon that shows how simple it is! Note: he uses a careful tear instead of scissors, but do whatever works for you!

Make a pamphlet style book:

  1. Gather three to five sheets of computer paper and fold them together crosswise (hamburger style). The folded edge will be the book’s spine. Optional: Use a sheet of card stock for the cover.

  2. Bind the pages together. This can be done a few ways:

    • Staple the pages close to the fold. Three staples should do just fine.
    • Sew the pages using a large needle and yarn or embroidery floss (great for older kids and adults).
    • Snip two small holes in the fold of your book and tie the pages together with yarn or ribbon.
  3. Design your cover and fill your pages!

Have you ever made your own book? If you made one today, what would it be about?