Isn’t June a crazy month, or is it just me? Weren’t we just celebrating our mommas and springtime? Now, BOOM, it’s June and summer!
If your children are school-age, there are a million end of year events. Then suddenly, you’re pulling your hair out trying to keep them busy. And entertained. And fed. You can’t seem to keep the fridge or pantry stocked quickly enough. The sun is up forever, so they are up forever! And, why is there so much more laundry? But, also don’t forget (even though your brain is sizzling), Father’s Day is around the corner! And the father figures in our lives definitely deserve being celebrated too!
Just in time for Father’s Day week (cutting it close!), here are my recommendations of books that celebrate dads and fatherhood. Just like my list for mommas and motherhood, I’ve characterized the books here based on what you might be looking for, whether you realized it or not. Enjoy!
If you are looking for something short and sweet to help even the youngest little bookworms celebrate Daddy: Daddy Cuddles by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben
Filled with adorable illustrations that include playful monkeys, a protective daddy beaver, and snuggly tigers, this simple book gets an extra high-five for featuring a (human) daddy and son that have “pigmented skin” as my pediatrician says when describing my sweet Indian-Nicaraguan- American mixed babies. Nothing wrong with blond and blue eyed babies in picture books, but this is a welcome little detail to add some diversity to your book collection.
Wanna get silly while keeping it simple? Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada by Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon’s first contribution to children’s literature reached #1 Bestseller status quickly thanks to its charming humor and illustrations. Of course, all dad’s secretly want their child’s first word to be Dada. But alas, even Jimmy has to admit that Everything is Mama (the name of his second children’s book.)
Going for short, sweet, silly AND cool for any age? My Dad is Amazing by Sabrina Moyle
The Daddy counterpart to My Mom is Magical features a delightful Yeti. (Hope no Dads take offense to the hairiness. He is a cute Yeti.) Sprinkled with a unicorn, a wrestling rhino, a colossal squid, a bunch of underpants, and more, this story is bright, fun, and silly, but also very sweet. Extra cool that this book is a collaboration by two sisters! Sisters rule! But back to Dads…
For the animal lover: Quiero a mi papá porque…/I Love My Daddy Because…by Laurel Porter-Gaylord
Just as with its mom counterpart, the illustrations capture the tender, protective, nurturing, and supportive love of a parent. The text is in English and Spanish, plus each page includes the name of each animal and their young. Babies will enjoy the illustrations and preschoolers will love learning the nuances of animal baby names. On one page, children will love finding all the animal pairs hiding in the jungle.
If your animal lover specifically loves crocodiles or alligators: If I Didn’t Have You by Alan Katz
Wouldn’t you have been disappointed if this list didn’t feature at least one book with crocodiles (or alligators?). You’ll want to give this book a read before reading it aloud with your little one though. That way, you’ll know when to swap from Daddy’s voice to son’s voice, which really ups the story comprehension. My 2-year-old twins liked the illustrations but didn’t really understand the dialogue the way my 4-year-old did. I recommend it for Pre-school to early elementary age, to ensure they’ll really get the humor.
If the dad in your life is SUPER cool, or at least USED to be: My Dad Used to Be So Cool by Keith Negly
I was so psyched to buy and read this book, because don’t all parents sort of feel like we used to be cool… maybe? But (sorry hubby), it isn’t really a book that fits my family. My kids wouldn’t relate because the book’s dad is definitely more edgy than my kids’ dad. But this would be SO perfect for other kids and families. (Don’t worry hubby, you did used to be so cool. I mean you still are, just a different kind of cool.)
To truly celebrate ALL that Daddies do, through beautiful, authentic photos… I Wonder: Celebrating Daddies Doin’ Work by Doyin Richards
This book made for a pretty perfect gift for my hubby when it was released in 2016, just when he had been a father for a whole year. And every year, it will be more meaningful as he encounters more of those Daddy “Work” things like styling ponytails, reading in silly voices, or motivating a little one full of doubts and fear of failure. This book will resonate with Dads at any age or stage of parenting. The photos are authentic every day examples of real Dads being Dads, contributions from Doyin’s loyal Instagram followers and himself, and something kids will be able to connect with.
If you like the classics: Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
The source of all the “I love you to the moon… and back!” nursery decorations, onesies, shirts, etc. I swear, any child or parent who reads this book even once will forever want to quantify their love by some adorable distance. My son’s favorite is “I love you to Radiator Springs and back!” And I’ve convinced myself that’s infinitely farther than to the moon and back, since Radiator Springs is a fictional town (in Disney/Pixar’s Cars, one of his current obsessions.) Someday, he’ll get it if I say “I love you to Hogwarts and back!” That’s reeeeally far.
And don’t miss Guess How Much I Love You All Year Round: Four Seasons, Four Stories also by Sam McBratney of course.
To stimulate a wonderful imagination: Because I Am Your Daddy by Sherry North
This book brings to mind the imaginative bend-over-backwards-because-I am-your-parent-and-love-you-infinitely nature of Runaway Bunny. I mean, isn’t that really what this parenthood thing does to us? Wouldn’t we do anything for our children?
Don’t think about that too much, because its actually sort of scary and slightly debilitating, so just pick up this book, which is sweet, poetic, and really full of imagination! And while you read, your child might even really start to appreciate everything that you do.
And if you want to feel all the “awww”s or turn the Dad in your life into absolute mush: Made for Me by Zack Bush
This book is by far MY FAVORITE of this list, which totally surprised me! Reading, and children’s literature especially, is more my thing than hubby’s. Yet, I happily looked on as he snuggled with our little ones to read this book. And it filled my heart to see their faces all react to it’s sweet and tender words and illustrations. Simply put, this book is made for Dads. I am confident your children (whether you’re a parent or teacher) will enjoy it too!
For more books to celebrate the father figures in your life, check out:
Maestra Momma’s Books that Celebrate Mommas and Motherhood: because some of these can work for both mommas and daddies.
Working Mother’s 20 Children’s Books for Daddy-Kid Cuddle Time