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17 Children’s Books that Celebrate Fathers

Made for Me Board by Zack Bush  (Author), Gregorio De Lauretis (Illustrator): Of all the children that ever could be, You are the one made just for me. From a child’s first uttered Dada” to his or her first unsteady steps, nothing can adequately convey the joy and awe of watching the birth and growth of a new child. Filled with adorable illustrations and the refrain, “You are the one made just for me,” Made for Me is a winning presentation of tender moments that tie a father and his new child together-forever.

Made for Me Board by Zack Bush  (Author), Gregorio De Lauretis (Illustrator)

 

The Daddy Book by Todd Parr: The Daddy Book celebrates all different kinds of dads and highlights the many reasons they are so special. Whether your dad walks you to school or walks you to the bus, whether he wears suits or two different socks, whether he has a lot of hair or a little, Todd Parr assures readers that no matter what kind of daddy you have, every father is special in his own unique way. With his trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes, kids will learn that while no two dads are exactly alike, “all daddies love to hug and kiss you,” and that is what is so special about them! Perfect for young children just beginning to read, The Daddy Book is designed to encourage early literacy, enhance emotional development, celebrate multiculturalism, promote character growth, and strengthen family relationships.

I Love My Daddy by Giles Andreae and Emma Dodd (Illustrator): This is an amusing, touching and heart-warming look at the special relationship between father and child from the bestselling Giles Andreae, perfectly brought to life by Emma Dodd’s charming and vibrant artwork.

Dad By My Side by Soosh  (Author): A heartwarming celebration of the special relationship between a father and daughter from Instagram sensation Soosh.   Whether they’re playing make-believe, making you smile, or warding off monsters under the bed, dads are always there when you need them. Debut picture book artist Soosh celebrates fathers with a gorgeously illustrated and moving story about the parent-child bond.

Dad By My Side by Soosh  (Author)

My Dad Is Amazing! by Hello!Lucky  (Author), Sabrina Moyle  (Author), Eunice Moyle  (Illustrator): A joyful tribute to dads from the bestselling creators of Hello!Lucky! Is your dad cooler than a million popsicles?  Tougher than a rhino wrestler?  Cuddlier than a ton of bunnies?  Celebrate all the things that make Dad amazing with this joyful board book!

With My Daddy: A Book of Love and Family by Jo Witek  (Author), Christine Roussey (Illustrator): A little girl loves spending time with her dad. They ride bikes and swim in the pool! They can imagine exciting adventures, or just lounge around on a hot day. Being with her dad makes her feel safe and comforted, strong and powerful. She can confront the neighbor’s dog and get thrown up in the air! And when she gets too scared, or too angry, nothing calms her down better than a big hug from dad.  With charming illustrations and a playful die-cut cover, this joyful picture book celebrates the bond and love between father and child.  The Growing Hearts series celebrates the milestones of a toddler’s emotional development, from conquering fears and expressing feelings to welcoming a new sibling.

If I Didn’t Have You by Alan Katz (Author), Chris Robertson  (Illustrator): A father and son discuss the variety of outlandish items they might have if not for the other in this funny and heartfelt look at the appreciation we have for our families.  There are tons of things a parent or child could have, if they didn’t have each other. A dad may be able to have a sleek sports car, and a son could have candy for every meal.   But if to have those things, they wouldn’t have each other…well, they’d rather have their family instead.  Kids and parents alike will find the humor in all the outlandish things they could have, but also the tenderness of knowing they have exactly what they need with each other.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney  (Author), Anita Jeram (Illustrator): How much will the youngest readers love this board book edition? Now with a refreshed cover in a format perfect for little hands.  “Guess how much I love you,” says Little Nutbrown Hare. Little Nutbrown Hare shows his daddy how much he loves him: as wide as he can reach and as far as he can hop. But Big Nutbrown Hare, who can reach farther and hop higher, loves him back just as much. Well then, Little Nutbrown Hare loves him right up to the moon, but that’s just halfway to Big Nutbrown Hare’s love for him.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney  (Author), Anita Jeram (Illustrator)

 

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson (Author), Peter Parnell (Author), Henry Cole (Illustrator): This is a heartwarming true story of two penguins who create a nontraditional family.  At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo get the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.  Selected as an ALA Notable Children’s Book Nominee and a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, “this joyful story about the meaning of family is a must for any library” (School Library Journal, starred review).

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall  (Author, Illustrator): Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.  Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

Big Boys Cry by Jonty Howley (Author): This picture book imagines a world in which boys are encouraged to express their full range of emotions.  It’s Levi’s first day at a new school, and he’s scared. His father tries to comfort Levi by telling him “Big boys don’t cry.” Though the father immediately understands his misstep, he can’t find the words to comfort his son, and Levi leaves for school, still in need of reassurance.  Fortunately, along his walk to school, Levi sees instance after instance of grown men openly expressing their sadness and fear. His learned mantra, “Big boys don’t cry,” slowly weakens, and by the time he’s at school he releases a tear. Once he’s there, things aren’t so bad after all, and on his walk home he sees everyone he’s encountered earlier, feeling better now that they expressed their emotions. Upon his arrival home, he finds his father waiting for him on their porch, tears in his eyes. His father is able to admit that he was scared and the two embrace, closer than before.

A Different Pond by Bao Phi  (Author), Thi Bui  (Illustrator): A 2018 Caldecott Honor Book that Kirkus Reviews calls “a must-read for our times,” A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event – a long-ago fishing trip. Graphic novelist Thi Bui and acclaimed poet Bao Phi deliver a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son – and between cultures, old and new. As a young boy, Bao and his father awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao’s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. Thi Bui’s striking, evocative art paired with Phi’s expertly crafted prose has earned this powerful picture books six starred reviews and numerous awards.

A Different Pond by Bao Phi  (Author), Thi Bui  (Illustrator)

 

Hammer and Nails by Josh Bledsoe (Author), Jessica Warrick (Illustrator): Darcy has plans. She and her friend are going to play dress up, do each other’s hair, and polish their nails. Daddy has plans, too. He’s going to read the paper, mow the lawn, and fix the fence. When Darcy’s friend cancels and she’s sure her day is ruined, Daddy suggests that they tackle their to-do lists together with a Darcy-Daddy Day. Daddy dons a tutu, and Darcy gives him a fancy hair do. They groom the lawn with Her Majesty’s Mowing Service and face off in a Daddy-directed sock battle. But will Darcy want to hammer? Will Daddy do nails? Stepping outside their comfort zones, Darcy and Daddy opt to be open-minded and even a bit daring. As Daddy says, “Sometimes things you’ve never done end up being fun!” With a gung-ho attitude, Darcy masters the hammer, and Daddy goes for it with the nails.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen  (Author), John Schoenherr  (Illustrator): Late one winter night a little girl and her father go owling. The trees stand still as statues and the world is silent as a dream. Whoo-whoo-whoo, the father calls to the mysterious nighttime bird.  But there is no answer.  Wordlessly the two companions walk along, for when you go owling you don’t need words. You don’t need anything but hope. Sometimes there isn’t an owl, but sometimes there is. Distinguished author Jane Yolen has created a gentle, poetic story that lovingly depicts the special companionship of a young child and her father as well as humankind’s close relationship to the natural world. Wonderfully complemented by John Schoenherr’s soft, exquisite watercolor illustrations, this is a verbal and visual treasure, perfect for reading around and sharing at bedtime.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry (Author), Vashti Harrison (Illustrator): It’s up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters, from Academy-Award winning director and former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestselling illustrator Vashti Harrison. Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.

You and Me, Me and You by Miguel Tanco  (Author): The wonder of being a dad is on display in this touching tribute to fathers. After all, the connection between a father and child yields a lifetime of learning and love. In You and Me, Me and You, that special bond is honored through poignant, tenderly rendered illustrated vignettes: a father and son walk together, discuss life amid a city’s bustle, play, and, perhaps most profoundly, grow, side by side. Bright pops of Pantone yellow infuse each spread with joy, and a cloth spine adds an irresistible specialness. At once a treasured Father’s Day gift and a year-round “I love you,” parents and children will delight in this celebration of a supremely meaningful relationship.

My Dad by Susan Quinn  (Author), Marina Ruiz (Illustrator): My Dad is a beautifully illustrated, stereotype-busting celebration of all the everyday things one child’s dad does to make him so wonderfully, daddish-ly awesome!  He may not be a superhero, or an astronaut, or a secret agent… but my dad is still the best dad in the world!  From baking cookies and gardening to playing make-believe and watching the sunset, a child reveals all the simple yet wonderful things he loves to do with his dad.  With lyrical rhyming text and gentle illustrations, this is a joyous celebration of fatherhood that creates a special reading experience between a child and their father.  Inspire a child to explore what makes the relationships in their own life special with this touching book.



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