Book Reviews

MILA BOOKSIT: Valentines For All

Valentines for All — Esther Howland Captures America’s Heart

Mila, our eight-year-old book reviewer, loves exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day. She also loves reading, especially a new book. Valentines for All is about how an enterprising woman, Esther Howland, started the tradition of exchanging Valentine’s Day cards in America in the 1800s. Mila and her co-reviewer, her grandmother Johannah Luza, believe you and your kids will like this one, too!

Mila enjoyed reading this lovely book about giving a Valentine

Valentines for All — Esther Howland Captures America’s Heart

Author: Nancy Churnin
Illustrator: Monika Róza Wisniewska
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Review by Mila Vincent and Johanna Luza

Buy It Here.

Mila: I love valentines, but did you know Americans thought they were a waste of time in the old days? Everyone except little Esther Howland! She loved drawing hearts and writing poems inside of them for her family. Then, one day, when she was older, her father brought her back a beautiful Valentine from England. Esther had an idea. She would make valentines and sell them. But Esther’s brothers said that people in England like fancy things, and Americans don’t!

Valentines pg2 jpg

Esther didn’t give up. She made some valentines with paper, ribbon, and lace, and her brother took them to sell. When he got home, he had $5,000 in orders, which made Esther very happy! She got her friends together, and they worked hard to create a lot of valentines. Americans started liking them, and when the war came, the women would send valentines to the soldiers to make them feel better. And soldiers would send valentines to their girlfriends!

Esther Howland made Valentine’s Day famous in America; many people love it, especially me because my mama’s birthday was on Valentine’s Day!

Johannah: Mila and I always find something new in Nancy Churnin’s books, and “Valentines for All” is no different. Before reading this book, the origins, and popularity of this holiday in America were a mystery to us, much like it might be for many. This book is the perfect way to learn about the beginnings of this special day. The story is captivating, with delightful poems scattered throughout, and the illustrations are beautiful, full of hearts and vibrant colors! You’ll enjoy reading this book as much as your child or grandchild will love hearing the story!

Publisher’s Note: At the end of this delightful book, you can explore more of the fascinating story of Esther Howland and her Valentine’s business. The last page features a section about writing Valentines, and aspiring poets can find information about the annual Worcester Historical Museum Valentine card contest.

Be sure to check out more of Mila and Johannah’s children’s book reviews HERE.


Mila Vincent

Mila Vincent is our official "kid book reviewer." Her favorite things to do are playing on a soccer team her Dad coaches, giving to others on "be kind" days that her mom created, practicing new hairstyles, reviewing children’s plays with her grandmother Johannah Luza, and cuddling during home movie nights with her French bulldog, Penelope.

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