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Celebrate Dads with Children’s Books

by Katrina Morse for Family Reading Partnership

Let’s celebrate dads! Give a children’s book as a gift to a new dad, or read books together about dads with your young child. Children will see in stories how it’s the simple, everyday things a dad does with his family that children will grow up to cherish.

Very young children are learning who is who in their immediate world. Dad, mom, sister, brother – babies and toddlers are just beginning to understand who the important people are in their lives. Reading books about dads (or moms, grandmas, grandpas, and significant others) is a way to talk to your child about these relationships.

But more importantly, every time you snuggle up with a child and read a book together, you are establishing a loving bond and a feeling of security for your child that will help them grow and thrive.

Here are some books about fathers to celebrate the dad in your young child’s life. Most of these are in board book format, so are great for babies who want to hold a book and explore how it opens and closes – and how it tastes!

“Made for Me” by Zack Bush, illustrated by Gregorio DeLauretis. This story is very sweet in its words, but what makes the book compelling to share with a child are the illustrations paired with the story. The dad depicted is a gentle giant of a man who cares for a very small child and repeats the reassuring refrain in the story, “You are the one made just for me.”

“Quiero a mi papa porque… – I Love My Daddy Because…” by Laurel Porter Gaylord, illustrated by Ashley Wolff. English and Spanish are together in one book, or you can read the English only version. This book is part of a series of board books that show the caring family relationships of people that are similar to animal families.

“I Love You Daddy “by Jilliam Harker, illustrated by Kristina Stephenson celebrates the bond between a child and dad. When Little Bear needs a hand he finds that his father is the best choice to help out and in turn learns more about himself.

“Daddy Hugs” by Karen Katz. This is a counting book layered with love and hugs between a father and baby going about their daily routine. The short text and bold illustrations will capture the attention of your young child.

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Celebrate Fathers All Year Long

It’s time to celebrate all you dads out there! Father’s Day is your day to be recognized for all you do give the children in your lives the love, sense of safety and security, and the high self esteem needed to be all they can be!  We thank you!

Read to the young children in your life whenever you can, and especially on Father’s Day, a day when you can revel in your role as Daddy. Any good book will do, but here are some choices that have dads in the story:

“My Dad” by Anthony Browne. The illustrations in this book show an unshaven dad in his plaid bathrobe. He’s just a normal guy by his looks, but his son sees him as his super-dad and loves him through and through. The simple text is great for toddlers.

“Pete’s a Pizza” by William Steig. Take a boy and make him into a pizza! Pete’s father starts kneading the dough (which is Pete), then adds some oil (which is really water.) He carefully adds tomatoes (checkers) and then tries to keep the pizza all together but it’s hard to do because the dough is a bit ticklish!


“Knuffle Bunny” by Mo Willems. Using collaged photos with pen and ink drawings, Willems tells the tale of the little girl Trixie losing her favorite stuffed animal in the big city. Trixie can’t talk yet, so she has to somehow communicate to her dad what has happened.

“Daddy Adventure Day” by Dave Keane and Sue Rama’. One smiley little boy and his dad spend the day at a baseball game. No cell phones or newspaper reading allowed!  They take the train, get special snacks, and have fun at the huge stadium cheering for their team.

“My Daddy and Me” by Amy E. Sklansky, illustrated by Ard Hoyt. Different dads and kids do activities together to show the variety of fun you can have with your dad.  This endearing book has simple text and the short length is great for very young children.

“Dad, Aren’t You Glad?” by Lynn Plourder, illustrated by Amy Wummer. A boy does all the “dad” stuff during the day.  From shuffling cards, pushing the shopping cart, to cutting the grass, the son tries his best, but it’s a relief when dad can finally take over and do his jobs.

“The Daddy Book” by Todd Parr. Parr uses his signature big bold colors and simple text to illustrate the diversity in who dads are and what they do.

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