Books can be used for both educational and entertaining purposes during holidays. Some books may teach kids about the history and purpose of a holiday, while others may simply entertain and bring out the holiday spirit in kids. Some books do both. Here are 13 Father’s Day children’s books that will bring out the holiday spirit in kids, while honoring and celebrating dads.
1. My Dad Can Do Anything by Stephen Krensky (Author), Mike Wohnoutka (Illustrator) -Ages 3 – 7 years
Overview: What can your dad do? Can he climb the highest mountain? Or swim to the bottom of the sea? In this heartwarming story about how dads are strong, brave, and all-around great, dads can do anything. Includes a sheet of fun stickers!
2. The Night Before Father’s Day by Natasha Wing (Author), Amy Wummer (illustrator) -Ages 3 – 5 years
Overview: It’s the night before Father’s Day, and Mom and the kids have a plan to surprise Dad with a special gift. When Dad goes for a bike ride, everyone gets to work. Dad wakes up the next day to find his garage newly organized and his car sparkly clean. So, of course, he celebrates by taking everyone for a spin! This book goes along with The Night Before Mother’s Day.
3. Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin (Author), Bryan Langdo (Illustrator) -Ages 3 – 5 years
Overview: A boy compares his father, a U.S. soldier, to a superhero. This book goes along with Hero Mom.
4. Father’s Day by Anne Rockwell (Author), Lizzy Rockwell (Illustrator) -Ages 4 – 8 years
Overview: In Mrs. Madoff’s class, it’s a book made just for him. First the kids think about their special moments with their fathers. Sam’s dad is so strong, he can carry Sam on his shoulders. Eveline’s dad sings to her when Maman has to work at night. Jessica writes about her father in Texas … and her stepfather at home. And when it’s time to celebrate at school, both of her fathers give Jessica the best surprise of all. This book goes along with Mother’s Day.
5. Up on Daddy’s Shoulders by Matt Berry (Author), Lucy Corvino (Illustrator) -Ages 3 – 5 years
Overview: Feeling taller than his big brother, his house, and the giraffes at the zoo, a little boy spends the day on his daddy’s shoulders as they go for a walk around their neighborhood.
6. A Father’s Song by Janet Lawler (Author), Lucy Corvino (Illustrator) -Ages 3 – 6 years
Overview: How many ways can dad show his love? He can lift his son high in the air, gather him close for a ride down the slide, make funny faces to ward away tears, and fly him around “like an airplane that swoops.” Together, they’ll roll in the leaves, go on the swings, and roar like lions. Best of all, the verse offers fathers plenty of opportunities to play as they read–to tussle and hug, and to make silly sounds and expressions. And that means kids will want their dads to share this with them over and over again. What a delightful celebration of the bond between father and child–and a tale to make Father’s Day extra special. This book goes along with A Mother’s Song.
7. I Love My Daddy Because… by Laurel Porter Gaylor (Author), Ashley Wolff (Illustrator) -Ages 1 – 3 years
Overview: The youngest nursery tots will appreciate how phrases and actions from their own experiences also apply to animal babies. The book begins with an affectionate scene between a human parent and child, but moves on to caregiving in animal families. “He sings me songs” shows a gray wolf and his cub. In concept, text, and art, this is among the most warm and reassuring lap books ever. This book goes along with I Love My Mommy Because…
8. Daddy’s Little Scout by Janet Bingham (Author), Rosalind Beardshaw (Illustrator) -Ages 4 – 8 years
Overview: It’s springtime, and Little Fox and Daddy Fox are visiting the animals of the forest to see their new homes. Mrs. Finch is building a new nest. The rabbit family is making new rabbit holes. And Mr. Mole is digging new tunnels. Little Fox is outgrowing their old den, and the Foxes will need a new home, too. Little Fox is glad that their new home will not be high in a tree, in a prickly bush, or in a cold wet stream. Little Fox realizes that the best home is snug and warm in a den . . . with Daddy Fox! This book goes along with Mommy’s Little Star.
9. Saturday Is Dadurday by Robin Pulver (Author), R. W. Alley (Illustrator) -Ages 4 – 8 years
Overview: For Mimi, the best day of the week is always Saturday, because she gets to spend it with just her Dad. Every “Dadurday” begins the same way–Mimi and Dad make silly-shaped pancakes, read the comics section of the newspaper and make lists of fun things to do together. But when Dad gets a new work schedule, “Dadurday” is ruined. Can Mimi find a way to still make it a special day for her and dad?
10. Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson (Author), Rhonda Mitchell (Illustrator)- Ages 3 and up
Overview: Inspired by his family experiences and his parents’ paintings, a young boy creates four poems. In four vibrant verses and spectacular oil paintings, a young boy revels in the everyday pleasures of growing up in a family of fine artists. A still life of shoes inspires Noah to measure his own little ones against the big ones of his father. The whirl of an abstract painting encourages him to spin with his older sister. The moon outside his window is the same one that glows on his mother’s canvas. But the subject that brings out the best in Noah — and inspires his daddy to call him a man — has her crib right there in his parents’ studio. With its bold colors and arresting perspectives, this book is a celebration of art and an exaltation of family.
Father’s Day is a joyous holiday to celebrate and honor fathers. Unfortunately, not all children welcome it with open arms. In fact, many kids spend Father’s Day without their fathers, due to incarceration, divorce, and death. While it is never a pleasant experience to watch one’s parent(s) go to jail, go through divorce, or die, sadly, many kids are having to experience just that. As Father’s Day approaches, these books will serve to help these kids understand and cope with these difficult life challenges.
11. The Night Dad Went to Jail: What to Expect When Someone You Love Goes to Jail (Life’s Challenges) by Melissa Higgins (Author), Wednesday Kirwan (Illustrator) -Ages 5 – 8 years
Overview: When someone you love goes to jail, you might feel lost, scared, and even mad. What do you do? No matter who your loved one is, this story can help you through the tough times.
12. Weekends with Dad: What to Expect when Your Parents Divorce (Life’s Challenges) by Melissa Higgins (Author), Wednesday Kirwan (Illustrator) -Ages 5 – 8 years
Overview: When your parents divorce, it can feel like the world turns upside down. What do you do? Whether you live mostly at your moms or dads, this story can help you through the tough times.
13. Where Are You? A Child’s Book About Loss by Laura Olivieri (Author), Kristin Elder (Illustrator) -Ages 4 – 8 years
Overview: Where Are You: A Child’s Book About Loss is a kind and supportive text with beautiful illustrations designed to help children of all ages cope with the loss of a loved one. It is created with love and care so that even the youngest readers will find comfort during this stressful and difficult time.
As always, we love to hear your thoughts on books. What books are you reading together to celebrate Father’s Day? You may leave a comment or two.
By Dawn Hoff, Book Kids