Last year, a family from co-op hosted a Valentine's Day Party. Children listened to a brief book about Saint Valentine, ate brunch, made a few crafts, and exchanged home made valentines. Our family enjoyed the activities and spending time with friends. Later, I looked for the book shared at the party, but it was unavailable. However, the idea of having a story book on Valentine, the person, in our home library intrigued me. I searched online and found this children's picture book: Saint Valentine. It is retold and illustrated by Robert Sabuda.
Within the beautifully illustrated pages, we read of Valentine, a Christian physician of Ancient Roman times, who relies on prayers and medicines to heal the ailments of his patients. A jailer brings his daughter, who has been blind since birth, for treatment. Valentine accepts no payment as the blindness appears incurable, but tries to help with a salve and prayer. The jailer and his daughter visit Valentine weekly, and a friendship develops. Eventually, Valentine is persecuted and arrested for being a Christian. The story continues with the jailer visiting a soon to be martyred Valentine. During this visit, Valentine asks for materials to write a note to the jailer's daughter, and this becomes the first 'valentine.' The book ends with a historical note about Valentine and a short history of Valentine's Day.
This brief book, with its simple story line and beautiful illustrations of a mosaic style, makes a fabulous read aloud to share with young children around Valentine's Day or while studying Ancient Roman history. Although we have not yet completed a craft with this book, my friend Annette at Live, Learn, Love featured a mosaic heart craft that could perfectly accompany a read through of this book. This year, when we read through this book closer to Valentine's Day, I will be pairing Annette's craft with our reading.