Saturday, July 10, 2021

PBT Series: For Our Youngest Children #3 Emma Dodd's "Love You" books

Picture Book Series: “Love You”

Author & Illustrator: Emma Dodd

Age Appropriateness: infant to age 5

Over the past few years, I’ve discovered a fabulous picture book series by an author/illustrator. The illustrations are beautiful in their simplicity and charm. The central focus in every book is the rich and profound love between a parent and child. At PBT, I hope you're learning to understand this: Parental love is particularly meaningful to children so it is the best comprehension connection to God’s love for us. Most children learn about loving ways from parents. These books present the daily treasures of such love by showing how God’s love for us is embodied, shared, and treasured. 

Before I give applications for ministry, let me emphasize that ALL these books would be wonderful gifts for a newborn or adopted child. The PBT bonus is parents & grandparents can simply read the book and then at the end of the reading say something like:

“God’s love is like that too.”   OR

“God loves you as much as I do.”    OR    

"All our love comes from God."        OR

“God gave us  all this love!”

The first 2 books I would not recommend for ministry, but they can be presented as explained above with a simple comment to a child in your family. One is for bedtime, so ministry applications don’t work. The 2nd is all about intimate cuddling, which is not applicable for ministry.

 Counting Our Blessings 


All of the books below I have recommended in Trinity Treasures, my scripture-based preschool Sunday school curriculum that features picture books & children’s Bibles. If you are interested in learning about Trinity Treasures, contact me at For now, free lessons are emailed if you fill out a monthly feedback form. 

What Matters Most

PBT Applications: This book sees love as most important! Talk about how God is love, is the source of all love, and has given us life for loving God and loving the whole world! 


Emphasize God’s love as the same for all of God’s children. There are obvious connections to 1 Corinthians 13. Be sure to apply to other kinds of relationships besides parent/child.  

Love: I Love You All the Time

PBT Applications: This book celebrates loving moments in our interactions with nature and between a parent & child. As the creator of everything and everyone, God is the source of all these loving moments. Love is what we are created to do and be. Connect with scriptures showing loving acts of early church members such as those we see in Tabitha/Dorcas. 

Happy: I Love When You’re Happy

PBT Applications: This book celebrates the joy a parent feels when a child is happy. Note the peace at the end of the book. Peace also comes from God’s love. Any scripture about joy or peace will connect. I think of the children surrounding Jesus when he welcomed them! How happy and contented they must have been!

Together: I Love Spending Time Together!

PBT Applications: This book celebrates the loving moments of a day spent together. Emphasize that God wants us to enjoy being together, loving, hospitable, and even kind to those we don't know. Be specific when talking about behaviors. What does love look like? Jesus’ actions and parables are great connections. His disciples (I often call these his “friends”) loved spending time with Jesus! 


PBT Applications: This book is about empathy, compassion, presence, trust, unconditional love, and resilient love. These are the components of a parent/child relationship that closely relate to God’s love. Jesus’ actions make this clear. His stories of love in action, his passion for the least, lost, and poor, and even hissacrifice offer connections to this book.

The books below have multiple titles! 

Just Like You      OR    When I Grow Up

PBT Applications: This book celebrates change and growing up. Attribute these wonderful changes to God. I’ve connected it to scriptures that call for good works. Such good work is meaningful for young children in their home and classrooms now and later as they anticipate growing, changing, and learning what kind of person to become. Talk about how God’s dreams for us are about growing how we love in ways and in words. Help your children apply these ideas to their specific contexts.


No Matter What      OR    Always: I Love You Always

PBT Applications: This book celebrates unconditional love, the kind of love God has for us. Every scripture that highlights an imperfect hero, demonstrates a mistake, redeems a hurtful act, or exposes a need for change connects here. Those scriptures and this book remind us all that no one is beyond God’s forever, unconditional love.

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