Top Books Celebrating Dads and Kids

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Among all of the activities we get to enjoy with our children, the one tried and true pastime that will never go out of style is reading. It’s a diversion allowing us to escape reality and let our imagination run to its fullest tilt. We recall fond memories of our parents or grandparents reading to us. And we find joy in passing it on to the next generation.

Like most parents, I’ve been reading to our children since birth. However, I quickly discovered that in story after story, I found it nearly impossible to find a book that represented me – a dad. As soon as I started reading to them, I wanted our children to hear, just once, of some genuine, realistic, nurturing male role models. But they always seemed hard to come by. Yet, I kept reading – and looking – searching for more authenticity in family life.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that dads are a bit underrepresented in children’s books. Consider some of the classic book staples in your home or at the library. The Kissing Hand. Love You Forever. Where the Wild Things Are. The Cat in the Hat. Are You My Mother? Guess How Much I Love You. I Love You Stinky Face. Is Your Mama a Llama? Runaway Bunny. On the Night You Were Born.

These memorable books all have one thing in common: Dads simply don’t exist.

And in other stories where a dad was modestly present, it always seemed as if the mom was the caring, nurturing one who raised the children. The dad was relegated to the background at best, or comic relief corrected by the mother’s sensibility (think Berenstain Bears).

I casually mentioned to this my wife, who never noticed it before, but instantly agreed. So, on the very next Father’s Day, she surprised me with a few daddy titles. Granted, it took some help from a local bookstore to find them, but some dad-centric stories do indeed exist. Here’s a list of some of our favorite books celebrating dads and kids:

· Because Your Daddy Loves You – by Andrew Clements, illustrated by R.W. Alley. One of our favorites, a daddy-daughter day at the beach offers plenty of opportunities for the parent to frustratingly lose his cool, but he doesn’t. He shows love and patience every step of the way.

· Daddy Loves Me – by Karen Moore, illustrated by Mandy Stanley. This endearingly cute and simplistic rhyming book portrays a very hands-on father doing it all and demonstrating love throughout the day.

· Daddy’s Home! – by Rosanne Parry, illustrated by David Leonard. Do you remember a time when the house didn’t seem complete until dad got home from work? This book celebrates the ritual a family has when dad arrives home.

· Daddy’s Girl – by Garrison Keillor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. The juggernaut book duo of Keillor and Preiss Glasser is destined to induce some tears, especially if you relish an affectionate daddy-daughter relationship.

· I Love My Daddy – by Sebastien Braun. Light on text but heavy in heart, this doting dad shares fun and affection has he cares for his child through gentle and warm illustrations. It’s perfect and calming for bedtime. 

· Darth Vader and Son – by Jeffrey Brown. You won’t have a bad feeling about this cute take on evil Vader being reimagined as a sensitive father to Luke Skywalker. Love it, you will.

· Just Me and My Dad – by Mercer Mayer. This “Little Critter” view of a father-son camping trip is filled with trademark colorful illustrations that offer plenty to look at. Whether or not you’re big on the great outdoors, you’ll appreciate the warm feeling of just hanging with dad.

Do you have any favorite books celebrating dads?

What do you think?

Top Books Celebrating Dads and Kids

Tom Konecny is a dad of four children and husband to wife, Erika. Tom currently serves as a private consultant in writing, communications and marketing. In 2013, Tom founded Dad Marketing, a site dedicated to exploring the world of marketing to dads. He previously worked in sports marketing, served as an associate editor and writer for several publications, and directed an award-winning corporate marketing department. His first book, "DADLY Dollar$" will be published this summer, and he is c ... More

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