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Best Picture Books about Fathers for Father's Day

Updated on May 2, 2018
wannabwestern profile image

I've written over 50 articles about children's literature for library, preschool or home settings. I have a BA in English Lit from BYU.

These Father's Day-themed children's picture books are a great way to celebrate the bond between children and their dads. These recommended selections would be great for a children's story hour, preschool circle time, or for lap-reading with dear old dad himself, especially if it comes with breakfast in bed and a great big hug!

  • Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle. This book is featured in my section on Oceans and Ocean Animals, but is a very appropriate selection for Father's Day. One of Eric Carle's more recently-published books, this one features dads in the ocean as they care for their offspring in a variety of fascinating ways. Cutaway spaces in the book pages create an underwater illusion that is both clever and mesmerizing. This one is a must-read for the month of June, and redefines the role of father in the deep blue ocean.
  • The Daddy Mountain by Jules Feiffer. This hilarious book will resonate with any father who has been used as his children's personal jungle gym. The young girl in this story gains purchase any way possible to scramble up the top of her Daddy Mountain, where she sits triumphantly on his head and shoulders. Of course Mom is not too pleased.
  • The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson and Jonathan Bean is a lyrical homage to the folk rhyme, The House that Jack Built, but the beautiful black, brown, and red ink illustrations give this book about a girl, her father, and the pie he baked a jubilant tone you will want to read again and again. This book lends itself very well to read-aloud during story hours. But even if you don't plan to use it for this purpose, I recommend it for the fine-art quality woodcut artwork in this book.
  • Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer is just one of many stories in the Little Critter series. These books are about a family of critters (not sure exactly what kind of animals they are) and the humorous mishaps they encounter together as a family. In this story, Little Critter goes on a camping trip alone with dad. Despite all of the mishaps and problems they have, they end up having a wonderful time bonding together. These books enjoy widespread popularity and are loads of fun to read.
  • The Ten Best Things About My Dad by Christine Loomis and Jackie Urbanovic shows with simple and straightforward illustrations that dads have many sides to appreciate, including a nurturing side, a playful side, and a listening ear.
  • I Love My Daddy by Sebastien Braun is another beautiful gift book for fathers about the simple ways a father nurtures his young children. Simple phrases like "My daddy washes me, My Daddy feeds me. My Daddy cuddles me." each have a related illustration featuring a father bear and his cub.
  • Daddy Cuddles by Ann Gutman. This board book appropriate for young toddlers features baby animals cuddling with their fathers. The illustrations are colorful with strong lines, yet tender too.
  • What Dads Can't Do by Douglas Wood and Doug Cushman is the companion to the author/illustrator duo's What Mom's Can't Do. These books use gentle humor to poke fun at all the way Dads need help doing things that other people can do just fine without the help of their children. The family of green dinosaurs are a cute addition to this book about fathers who need less help than their children realize!

© 2011 Carolyn Augustine


Submit a Comment
  • Melodie Tegay profile image

    Melodie Tegay 

    20 months ago

    Having recently celebrated both Mother's Day and Father's day, I enjoyed seeing some recommended holiday picture books on the website. However, I feel I must point out that a very large portion of these children's picture books are somewhat irrelevant to the life experiences of many of today's children. As a retired public school teacher who taught primary grades for 33 years, I observed that just about 50% of my students were not living in these "Sally, Dick, and Jane" nuclear intact family. Many of the children did not go home to two biological parents for a variety of reasons, ranging from being raised in a single parent home,or splitting their days between two parents who were separated or divorced, or "never married" biological Moms and Dads who were actively co-parenting; or even living in a household led by a relative other than a parent. Father's and Mother's Day celebrations or activities create awkward times for these children who might find it difficult to acknowledge that they might not need to write a card or invite a mom or dad to school if they did not have one at home. On the other hand, it might be be equally uncomfortable if they had both a step-parent AND a biological parent and have to choose between them or acknowledge both on these special occasions.

    Feeling a need to provide and validate the feelings of the children whose life situation was more diverse than those pictured in most of these story books; I wrote a children's picture book-"Hannah's Two Homes: life in a "blended" family; a 5 year old's perspective.

    Meet Hannah who is living between her two parents' homes while simultaneously trying to fit into the dynamics of her two newly reformulated family structures involving step-parents, half-brothers and half-sisters and the differences,therein, created in part by the inter-faith celebrations of both Jewish and Christian holidays. She tells her story "in her own voice", in simple sentence structures, easy-to-read vocabulary, printed in a large, bold font ideal for either reading to oneself or sharing as a read-aloud to the younger child. Moreover, a teacher or therapist could use this book as a tool or springboard to inspire interactive discussion of a child's concerns growing up in such a scenario. It is a story of hope, optimism, and ultimately the healing power of love. I would certainly love to hear from teachers, social workers, or therapists who might like to discuss this topic further.

  • kenneth avery profile image

    Kenneth Avery 

    2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

    Carolyn -- exquisitve writing. Wonderful. Especially

    the "Apple Pie that Papa Baked." That one is right

    up my alley.

    Please continue to share writing gems like this one.


  • Better Living profile image

    Better Living 

    8 years ago

    Thanks for the suggestions. I can't wait to read some of these!


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