Sweet and silly wedding readings from children's books

May 2 | Guest post by Kristy Raffensberger
A Lovely Love Story
Thanks to makelifehappen for uploading this photo to the Flickr Pool.
This post was originally run on the New York Public Library's website. If you and your partner are both kids-at-heart looking for a wedding reading to highlight your sweet and silly sides, these passages from children's books just might be perfect!

Being a librarian, it's not surprising when I say that I'm surrounded by stories. But in reality, we are all surrounded by stories, every day. This was never more apparent to me than when I officiated a friend's wedding. She asked that I include a reading from a children's book, and while neither she nor her fiancé had any particular connection to children's literature, we created a whole ceremony around the power of story.

The groom told the story of how they met. The bride had her own version of that very same story. I told my story of watching them fall in love. Everyone who was at the ceremony was there because they were a part of the couple's individual, and now shared, stories. Besides, what better way to start a new chapter than with a kiss?

In preparing for the ceremony, I asked librarian friends for suggestions of what to read. This is our compiled list, with small excerpts from each. There are, of course, passages from amazing classics such as Winnie the Pooh, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Little Prince, and Shel Silverstein, all of which are often used in weddings. But if you're looking for something a bit offbeat, here are some rock star children's librarian choices.

Picture Books (simple enough for a child reader)

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

The story of a leaf who isn't ready to let go from the tree.
And then, high up on an icy branch, a scarlet flash.
One more leaf holding tight.
"You're here?" called the Little Yellow Leaf.
"I am," said the Little Scarlet Leaf.
"Like me!" said the Little Yellow Leaf.
Neither spoke.
Finally… "Will you?" asked the Little Scarlett Leaf.
"I will!" said the Little Yellow Leaf.
And one, two, three, they let go and soared.

Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton
A penguin pleads his case to a bewildered hippo. (There is also a musical version, sung by Davy Jones from The Monkees.)

I like you a lot.
You're funny and kind.
So let me explain
What I have in mind.
I want to be your personal penguin.
I want to walk right by your side.
I want to be your personal penguin.
I want to travel with you far and wide.

Like Likes Like by Chris Raschka
A lone cat sees pairs of animals and longs to find his mate. But first, he learns to appreciate the wonders that he finds on his search. (The illustrations are integral so unless you can show the book, it might not work with words alone.)

Unlike the rest. Unlucky, alone.
Ah. Oh. Rows and rows
of roses.
He sees
seas,
…a breeze, trees
high, wide skies,
…Look!
In luck.
Looks like
like likes like.
Oh. How lucky.
Not alone now,
two together,
in rows and rows
of roses.

I Like You by Sandol Stoddard
The many reasons for liking someone.

I like you because
If you find two four-leaf clovers
You give me one
If I find four
I give you two
If we only find three
We keep on looking.
… I like you because if I am mad at you
Then you are mad at me too
It's awful when the other person isn't
They are so nice and hoo-hoo you could
just about punch them in the nose.
… I would go on choosing you
And you would
go on choosing me
Over and over again.

Some Things Go Together by Charlotte Zolotow

Pairs of things that go together.
Pigeons with park
Stars with dark
Sand with sea
and you with me.
… Hats with heads
Pillows with beds
Sky with blue
and me with you.

Easy Readers and Chapter Books (adults love story time too!)

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Mathematics by Norton Juster (film)
A straight and narrow line falls madly in love with a dot.

"You're the beginning and the end, the hub, the core, and the quintessence," he told her tenderly, but the frivolous dot wasn't a bit interested, for she only had eyes for a wild and unkempt squiggle.

George and Martha by James Marshall
Two very wise hippos who are supposedly just friends (though we all know there's more going on). I am especially fond of the "Split Pea Soup" chapter.

One day after George had eaten ten bowls of Martha's soup, he said to himself, "I just can't stand another bowl. Not even another spoonful." So, while Martha was out in the kitchen, George carefully poured the rest of his soup into his loafers under the table. "Now she will think I have eaten it." But Martha was watching from the kitchen. "How do you expect to walk home with your loafers full of split pea soup?" she asked George. "Oh dear," said George. "You saw me."

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
In "Grandpa's Story," Grandpa tells about a scavenger hunt that all couples had to go on before getting married. A roadmap for all to follow.

This was the Scavenger Hunt, always the most troublesome and feared part of any wedding… But every setback only made us more determined. Scared? Sure, sometimes, but we had each other. That must be what it's all about, we thought: As long as we stick together, nothing can stop us!

"The Whale and the Seagull" from The Squirrel's Birthday and Other Parties by Toon Tellegan

The story of a lonely whale at the bottom of the ocean who is invited to a party for the first time.
They straightened their backs and the whale rested a fin on the seagull's shoulder, while the seagull draped a wing around the whale's middle. Then they danced, silently and seriously, on the moon-drenched beach, to the sound of the slow surf. Everyone held their breath and thought: "No one had ever danced like this before."

Sheep and Goat by Marleen Westera
A surprisingly philosophical little book from the perspective of two wooly friends. This comes from the "Happiness" chapter:

"What are you doing?" asks Goat. "I'm looking for happiness," answers Sheep. "Don't waste your time, Sheep. Happiness will find you." "Help me look!" shouts Sheep. "No, I'm much too comfortable here," says Goat. "Then I'll look by myself. But if I find happiness, I'm going to keep it," says Sheep. …

"Well, did you find happiness?" asks Goat. "I thought I had. But I was wrong. I'm sorry." "That's all right, Sheep," says Goat. "Would you like a mouthful of hay? It's a little dry today." "It doesn't matter," says Sheep. She takes a big bite. It is dry, and a little dusty. But it tastes like happiness.

Need more ceremony help?

  1. We are using A Lovely Love Story in our wedding…when I read it to him for Valentine's day he cried. When we read it to our parents, his mom cried. Good reactions so far, and we're really looking forward to it.

    58 agree
  2. I love Personal Penguin! Mu daughter loves it too. Too bad I didn't know about it until after I was married. I think it would be a really sweet way to propose, don't you think? Wrap up that book for your significant other to read and then pop the question? So sweet!

    3 agree
  3. What a brilliant idea! Im a primary school teacher who snoozes at most readings during weddings so this is a perfect idea!! I'm going to borrow it!

    2 agree
  4. Love this! We're using Lovely Love Story for a reading and for our guest book. If my dude had more connection to children's books I would have gone for more but he'll get there. It's great to have readings that everyone can understand on different levels. (I admit, one of ours will not be like that but I don't care, it's for me and the dude.)

    3 agree
  5. This is such a great post! We are also using A Lovely Love Story, but I love the Personal Penguin bit! I'm a preschool teacher, so this makes me want to do even more research in my own classroom :)

    Also, hell yes to George and Martha.

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  6. My sister and her boyfriend read "A Lovely Love Story" for us during our ceremony, and it was entirely adorable! Perfect for our small greenhouse wedding!

    6 agree
  7. My friends had 'I like you' by sandol stoddard and it went down very well, the kiddies were rolling around the aisles in laughter and the adults were crying happy tears. It was read by a very good performance artist friend, which added to the appeal.

    3 agree
  8. We're using I Like You as part of our vows. I'll be reading half of the book and he'll be reading the other half. These are all excellent suggestions! I have to buy the Personal Penguin story for a couple I know now :)

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  9. That Sheep and Goat excerpt just made me lose it. Wonderfully true.

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  10. We just decided this weekend to use the book "The Gift of Nothing" by Patrick McDonnell. It is not super lovey-dovey, but it has a cute message!

    4 agree
  11. I always loved the repeating line: "Where Would I Be, What Would I Do Without You" from the children's book Without You by Sarah Weeks and have thought about using it in our ceremony.

    1 agrees
  12. I am so excited to add "Your Personal Peguin" to my vows. My FI calls me his 'penguina' and this is just too perfect!! :)

    2 agree
  13. I have friends who used an excerpt from 'And Tango Makes Three' for their wedding.

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  14. Oh wow, thank you for this excellent post! My partner and I have been searching high and low for another reading. The Little Yellow Leaf just may be it :)

    2 agree
  15. We used a Lovely Love Story, Oh the Places You'll Go, and I Like You

    1 agrees
  16. Awesome post! I was desperately seeking kids readings, too. Then it occurred to me to look at SONG LYRICS to some of my favorite kids shows! Duh!

    We're going with some readings from Fraggle Rock – this site has all the lyrics from their songs and a lot have to do with friendship, devotion, nature, loyalty, and love. I FREAKING LOVE FRAGGLES!

    http://www.wherearemytoys.com/pandj/legacy/html/lyrics_ind.htm

    2 agree
  17. I love these! I'm also a fan of these quotes from The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (about a little rabbit who gets separated from his little girl and then spends the book going from person to person until he finally finds his way back)

    "If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless."

    and my favorite, the last line of the book:
    "Once, oh marvelous once, there was a rabbit who found his way home."

    1 agrees
    • This is one of my favorite stories, I read this to my class every year. :)

      2 agree
  18. A friend just brought your blog to my attention. I am touched that you included The Little Yellow Leaf in your selections. Thank you!

    Carin

    4 agree
    • You inspired me to look through my childrens books, thank you. Our 5 year old daughter will be reading 'I Love you as big as the world' by David Van Buren & Tim Warnes.

      I love you as big as the world.
      I love you as deep as the sea.
      I love you as bright as the sun.
      I love you. And I know you love me!
      I love you as blue as the sky.
      I love you as long as the days.
      I love you as high as the mountain top.
      I love you in so many ways!
      I love you as strong as the wind.
      I love you as soft as the dew.
      I love you as far as a star.
      I love you because…you are you!

      6 agree
  19. VERY likely some of these will make it into our ceremony. BEST. POST. EVAR. The End. ;)

    1 agrees
  20. thank you guys, lovely love story it is :) perffffect !

    2 agree
  21. We're using a quote from The Little Prince. There's two that I really liked:

    "If someone loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that's enough to make him happy when he looks at the stars. He tells himself, 'My flower's up there somewhere…' But if the sheep eats the flower, then for him it's as if, suddenly, all the stars went out. And that isn't important?"

    …..

    "You're lovely, but you're empty," he went on. "One couldn't die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important that all of you together, since she is the one I've watered. Since she's the one I put under glass. Since she's the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she's the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except two or three for butterflies). Since she's the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she's MY rose."
    And he went back to the fox.
    "Good-bye," he said.
    "Good-bye," said the fox. "Here is my secret. It's quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."
    "Anything essential is invisible to the eyes," the little prince repeated, in order to remember.
    "It's the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important."
    "It's the time I spent on my rose…," the little prince repeated, in order to remember.
    "People have forgotten this truth," the fox said. "But you mustn't forget it. You become responsible forever for what you have tamed. You're responsible for your rose…"
    "I'm responsible for my rose…," the little prince repeated in order to remember.

    3 agree
  22. This is so cute idea! Thank you for that!
    maybe me and my friend will use the little yellow leaf. :-)

    0 agree
  23. Thank you so much for mentioning my book, "The Little Yellow Leaf".
    If you would like to do a give away on your blog, I would be happy to contribute a signed copy of the book.
    Also, FYI, for couples are doing wedding readings of "The Little Yellow Leaf", I have signed, archival quality 11×17? prints from the book that are available for sale and also I am happy to send signed bookplates if they are giving the book as wedding presents to their guests. Interested couples can contact me via my website.
    Again, thanks for including me on your blog!
    Carin

    8 agree
    • I loved this post! We are using The Little Yellow Leaf for our September wedding and I bought the book for our nephew who loved it. I work for a children's theater and a big part of our organization is children book based so this post was very near and dear to my heart. Thank you, thank you.

      How neat that the author has commented on this. Lovely.

      0 agree
  24. I know it's been done before, but the passage from The Velveteen Rabbit may be something we use, mainly because that story is special to us since we have plushies that we play with, even now as adults. They're real to us. =)

    1 agrees
  25. For my sister's wedding, I read a passage from "The Velveteen Rabbit" when the skin horse explains to the rabbit what it is to be real. Since they were two people of different religions, they wanted something non-religious but also wanted something they didn't think anyone would really expect. It worked beautifully.

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  26. The Little Yellow Leaf one IMMEDIATELY got me choked up… it's perfect! I wanted to do something from The Velveteen Rabbit, but my cousin just got married and used the exact quote I would have.. so I wanted to look around to see if I could find something different, and this is perfect! And it is SO cool the author responded here!

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  27. I am a matron of honor at my friends wedding. I am best friends with both the bride and groom. I am looking for a childrens book reading that talks about love and friendship.

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  28. We used the over used bit from The Velveteen Rabbit, but it fit us.

    Then, we had my 6 year old cousin read "Partners" which is all about being G-d's partner in creation and partners with each other in creation. It's the first story in Rabbi Marc Gellman's "Does God Have A Big Toe?" It was awesome and really unique. Plus, it was really cute the way my 6 year old cousin read it.

    Even better, we really were partners in creation when we found out we conceived a baby on the wedding night!

    0 agree
  29. I have always wanted to use children's books in my wedding! I used to nanny and one of my families had this absolutely beautiful book, "I love you so…" I plan to use parts of it in my ceremony and have my little brother (7) read it.

    0 agree

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