The first one was called "Iron Hearted Violet" by Kelly Barnhill. It's about a princess named Violet who is not at all beautiful. The storyteller describes how in all the stories, the princess is ALWAYS beautiful. Since Violet is not beautiful (but IS the only daughter of the king and the queen) she starts to question if she REALLY is a princess. Exciting and bad things happen and Violet figures out who she really wants to be, all based on the power of love.. the love of her father and mother, the love of her people she serves, the love of her friends. It's a really great story. It has some interesting artwork... it's almost anime, which I found a bit distracting. It didn't seem to match the story to me... the story is sort of old fashioned and, well, fairy tail-ish, and frankly, this art work seems to modern to me.
To go with this one, I immediately thought of "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeline L'Engle. If by some tragic mistake you haven't read this already, drop everything immediately, get a copy, and don't do another thing until you've read it. It's that good. If you need a reminder about what it's about, it's about a girl named Meg who feels completely alone. She's not pretty or particularly smart (so she thinks) or athletic and her dad has disappeared which has left her completely adrift. She and her youngest brother (a genius) and her neighbor, Calvin, (a sensitive athlete) embark on a journey through time to try to save her dad. It's exciting and mysterious and you can completely identify with Meg for feeling left out, unappreciated, and generally unloved. However, it's Meg's great love that saves the day.
I LOVE this 90 second video version of "A Wrinkle in Time"!
And for a different kind of love, I also read "Ottolenghi, the Cookbook" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. They both grew up in Israel and have cooked professionally all over the world. The beginning of the book is all about their philosophy about cooking and eating which is basically that food should above all taste good, be fairly simple to prepare, and celebrate the goodness of the ingredients. They also believe, as I do, that cooking is an act of love. Preparing food doesn't have to be stressful or complicated, it should be a celebration of life and love. So there you have it, the power of love!