Best Children's Books and Grown-Up Books to Give to Dads for Father's Day
Books Make Great Father's Day Presents
Everyone knows the cliched Father's Day gifts - the dreadful tie (do people still actually do that, or is that just a myth created by the tie industry?), the golf equipment (sorry I don't even know golf well enough to say anything more specific), or the barbeque equipment (see previous parenthetical). Hopefully you are reading this because you are looking for something beyond that. Of course, if the father in your life wants any of the above, by all means fulfill his wishes.
But I am going to make a pitch for why getting a book (or multiple books) is the perfect gift for Father's Day:
- I think in our society men's roles as fathers are often undervalued. By getting a book that specifically says why dads are important, you can help correct this.
- I think in our society fathers take less time (or are encouraged less to take the time) to reflect on what they love about being a father and what makes it all worthwhile, as well as what makes it incredibly hard and frustrating. Being a father can often be much more isolating than being a mother. Getting a gift that encourages the father in your life to reflect on his role as a father can give him this (often rare) opportunity.
- Books are personal - by deciding which book the father in your life will like the best you really have to think about who he is as a person and his interests, sense of humor, personality. This shows you care.
I could go on, but hopefully that's enough for now. I've broken down my book recommendations into two categories - children's books and books for grown-ups. I think the ideal gift would be a combination of the two. And if you could pull it off, I think the cutest way to give them would be to have your child bring them to his or her dad (or dads) in bed first thing in the morning on Father's Day, read the children's book together, and then give him the grown-up book to read on his own later in the day.
Children's Books That Make Great Father's Day Presents
Children's Books That Make Perfect Father's Day Gifts
My son is just past two and a half, and for each father's day we've (ok, full confession, I picked out the books AND paid for them with my own money) gotten his dad a children's book. The first year we got him "I Love My Daddy Because" and the second year we got him "Papa is a Pirate." This year I really want to find a copy of a book that I absolutely loved as a kid called "I'll Take Care of the Crocodiles" about a little boy and his dad going on a big (dream) adventure, and the boy wants to take care of everything so the dad won't be scared. It's just so sweet, but it's really hard to find a copy.
I think books are a sweet gift because they can read them throughout the year, and it helps ensure that our book collection isn't too mommy-centric.
- In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall - It's full of poems with illustrations, and focuses on African-American fathers. The poetry and art are really beautiful, and is probably best for someone who appreciates good poetry.
- I Love My Daddy Because - We love this one, and it's great for learning about different animals, and the pictures are beautiful. Not many words, board book, probably best for kids ages 2 and under.
- My Daddy and Me - Another sweet board book for young kids, not a lot of text, but a sweet story of how the baby bear feels when he's with his daddy bear.
- Father's Day - Kids in a classroom make special books for their dads. Nice because it includes reference to a kid who has a dad and a step-dad, and a variety of fathering arrangements. I think this one would work best for a step-dad present.
- The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish - Humorous and probably best for dads with a good sense of humor and no insecurities about whether or not their kids really love them!
- Papa is a Pirate - Fairly long book with a lot of text, about how a young boy's dad doesn't really go to the office every day, but is a pirate. Would be good for older kids, but our 2.5 year old also loves it. The pictures are very detailed and it's a fun, silly story.
Books for Grown-ups That Make Great Father's Day Presents
As I said above, I think it's really thoughtful to give a dad a book that really honors his role as a father. That said, you can do that in many different ways. Some dads might appreciate a more heartfelt book, some might appreciate a humorous one, and some might appreciate something more practical. Most of my recommendations are actually some combination of the above, but I've broken them down into categories by what I see as their primary orientation.
- Go the F*** to Sleep - This one was making the rounds on Facebook, email, etc a while ago, but it's now available right through Amazon as well, and a lot of local bookstores seem to carry it too. If you haven't read it yet, it's really absolutely hilarious about trying to get your kid to go to sleep. Probably best for a dad with kids 5 or under.
- Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads - This one is a mix of practical and humorous, but it's really funny so I had to put it in this category. Obviously best for dads of young babies. Includes ideas dads can actually use (which reggae songs have a beat that mimics the mother's heartbeat to help soothe babies), but also tons of humor.
Heartfelt books (apparently all titles in this category must include a colon):
- Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood - If I had to pick just one book to recommend across the board, it would be this one. Michael Lewis (author of The Blind Side, among others) applies his tremendous writing skills to the topic of fatherhood. Such a great read (as a mom, I really enjoyed it too), lots of funny stories, but also lots of really insightful observations about being a dad.
- Father's Day: A Journey Into the Heart and Mind of My Extraordinary Son - Also an excellent book, even more on the purely heartwarming side of things. Written by Buzz Bissinger (Friday Night Lights) about his special needs son, it includes many universal truths about being a father.
- The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant - By columnist and activist Dan Savage, very funny, includes blunt details of his sex life (just good to know so you don't get it for someone who is uncomfortable with that), but the main focus is on his and his boyfriend's journey to have a child through open adoption, including the first weeks of parenthood. Funny and heartwarming and thought provoking, all at once.
- Man With a Pan - Published in 2011, a collection of essays that tells stories of dads (including famous ones, such as Stephen King) who cook for their families, in a funny and heartwarming way. Also includes more than 60 tested recipes that dads can use. Obviously, best for dads who like to cook for their families!
- Clone Brews - It seems like more people are into home brewing these days, so this book would be perfect for a dad who is already into this, or as a big gift in combination with a starter brewing kit (got this for my husband a few years ago and he loves it!). Gives 150 recipes for commercially made beers (hence the name "clone"), including Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Anchor Steam (two of our favorites).
But Don't Take it From Me...
- Meathead: Father's Day Gifts: The Best Barbecue and Food Books for Dad
"Give a man a chicken and he will turn it into a black lump. Teach a man to grill a chicken and he will gloat all night." Meathead
- Give the gift of words for Father's Day - USATODAY.com
These books may be the perfect thing to get Dad.
- Father’s Day Books: Hottest Titles For Dad - The Daily Beast
Creative collection of books to give to dads for Father's Day. Has a broader focus than I do - not all of these focus on the role of being a father. But some great suggestions, including a couple from my list (or is it the other way around?).