Valentines for All: Esther Howland Captures America’s Heart

Albert Whitman. Nov. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780807567111.
PreS-Gr 3–A delightful picture book based on the real entrepreneur, Esther Howland, who created a successful greeting card business in the 1800s. Howland received a present from her father, a card for Valentine’s Day, when he returned from a trip to England. Even though valentines were not common in the United States in 1847, Howland was thrilled and felt loved by the gesture. This inspired her to approach her family with the idea to make valentines. Luckily, the family’s business was a paper company, S.A. Howland & Sons. Her brothers solicited business, and Howland found people were indeed interested in expressing their feelings through valentines. Soon Howland’s business became a great success. As her business grew, she hired other women to help make the Valentine’s Day cards, along with holiday and birthday cards. Bright red and pink illustrations compliment the Valentine’s Day theme. An author’s note includes additional information about Esther Howland, and further back matter shares ideas for making valentines cards.
VERDICT A welcome addition to elementary school libraries that would be a great story time read-aloud for Valentine’s Day.

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