Books to Celebrate Father’s Day

Reading recommendations from our own Dr. Alice Mar

Last month we featured books that celebrate mom…this month we’ll celebrate dad!

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
In this book, the father and son hares play the “I love you more game” that kids often like to play. Little Nutbrown Hare thinks he’s won the game when he doesn’t hear a response after he says “I love you to the moon.” Normally, his father responds with “I love you to the moon and back” as Nutbrown drifts off to sleep. I’ve always loved that Big Nutbrown Hare lets his son “win” the game even while knowing that kids can’t truly grasp the height and breadth of their parent’s love for them. This one is a great bedtime book for preschoolers.

We’re Going On a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
This book is another great choice for preschoolers due to the familiar song lyrics and repetition. It features a family who adventures together under the leadership of an intrepid Dad.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
Trixie and her Daddy go to the laundromat. Trixie takes her very special friend, Knuffle Bunny with her. Everything is going great until Trixie realizes that Knuffle Bunny has been left behind. However, she can’t talk yet and Daddy doesn’t realize what the problem is. Kids will identify with the horror of losing their special lovey (as will parents). In the end, all is well and Trixie and Knuffle Bunny are reunited. A bonus of this book is the unusual illustrations which are a blending of black and white photos and cartoonish drawings.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
A winner of the Caldecott Medal, this book tells the story of the night a young girl and her Dad go owling. Owl Moon is both a celebration of the father-daughter relationship and the appreciation of the natural world.

My Dad Used to Be So Cool by Keith Negley
Told through bold primary-colored illustrations, we see a young boy wistfully talk about how he knew his Dad used to be cool. The boy wonders why his Dad gave up such interesting hobbies as riding a motorcycle and playing in a rock band. Throughout the book, readers begin to understand that this father’s decisions were made in order to spend more time with his son.

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
Deservedly compared to the Ramona books, this Newbery Honor Book stars Billy Miller, an ordinary second grader who is navigating everyday challenges at school and home. Refreshingly, the Dad in this book is a stay-at-home Dad which is not often represented in books.

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Another Ramona-like character, Clementine is the kind of kid who tries not to get in trouble but somehow ends up cutting off all her best friend’s hair. She is quirky and hilarious. I’ve always loved the relationship Clementine has with both parents, especially her Dad who is the manager of their apartment building. Both parents are presented as loving and kind but also realistic and human (they do get frustrated and impatient sometimes).

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdall
This series stars four sisters who share adventures throughout their very relatable and ordinary lives. It also stars a realistically portrayed single Dad who loves his daughters but at times finds them exasperating.