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Best Father’s Day Picture Books: Affectionate & Present Dads
Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song. -Pam Brown
We hope these 50 books celebrating affectionate, present, and involved fathers are a blessing to you and your family.
Please share your favorites in the comments below!
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Alexander by Harold Littledale- A dad has a bedtime debrief of the day’s big emotions with his young son.
The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson- A spin on “This is the House that Jack Built” a little girl and her dad go through the steps of baking a pie.
Ask Me by Bernard Waber- A father and daughter ask and answer questions back and forth while on a walk.
A Different Pond by Bao Phi- Illustrated like a graphic novel, this beautiful book of a little boy and his immigrant dad fishing for food for the day while dad works oh, so hard, to provide opportunity for his family.
A Perfect Father's Day by Eve Bunting- A little girl gifts her patient father all her favorite things for Father’s Day.
The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl- A single curly haired dad and his long haired son emotionally work through losing their home and moving to a new one together. (Single dad)
Dad By My Side by Soosh- A larger than life dad and his adorable daughter live and play together. Also available as a board book.
Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson- A celebration of family.
Daddy Loves His Little Girl by John Carter Cash- Magical and imaginative journeys of a father and daughter.
Dandy by Ame Dyckman- A father comes to terms with his daughter’s love of a “weed” and stands up to the neighbor’s disapproval. So funny!
The Fathers Are Coming Home by Margaret Wise Brown- A reunion of military families.
The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say- A second generation Japanese girl works through wanting to change her name to fit in at school. She reaches a point of self acceptance through talking with her dad. (Divorced parents)
Finding Monkey Moon by Elizabeth Pulford- A young boy and his father retrace their path in the night to find a mislaid stuffy. Sweet mirroring by the boy of the modeled tenderness of his father.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry- A dad takes excellent care of his daughter’s hair while the mother is gone for a few days.
A Hug is for Holding Me by Lisa Wheeler- A sweet poetic tale of the love, safety, and comfort a little girl feels with her father.
Hush, Little Baby by Brian Pinkney- The traditional song being sung by a father and siblings trying to keep the baby happy while the mother is out for the afternoon.
“If” by Rudyard Kipling- A beautifully illustrated copy of Kipling’s famous inspiring poem. A beautiful addition to any home library.
I Love My Daddy Because… by Laurel Porter Gaylord- A heartwarming look at animals and humans spending time with their dads and the different ways their dads provide.
Is Daddy Home Yet? by Dean Russell- A little one who doesn’t want to go to sleep while waiting anxiously for daddy to come home from work.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall- With encouragement from his father a young boy overcomes his fears.
Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall- A father talks through feelings of frustration with his son encouraging him to perseverance and patience.
Joshua’s Night Whispers by Angela Johnson- A father comforts his small son in the night.
Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer- Dad and his son explore the great outdoors.
Mitchell Goes Bowling by Hallie Durand- Mitchell and his dad have a blast bowling.
My Father is Taller than a Tree by Joseph Bruchac- 13 beautifully diverse father and son pairs are featured in this lyrical tribute.
Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too by Anna Dewdney- Daddy daughter day is a blast!
The Night Before Father’s Day by Natasha Wing- A poem on preparing fun surprises for dad for Father’s Day.
Night Shift Daddy by Eileen Spinelli- A look at a day in the life when daddy works the night shift and father and daughter sweetly take turns tucking each other in.
The Night When Mother Was Away by Charlotte Zolotow- An understanding father goes on a walk with his daughter who is missing mommy. (I recommend the publishing with this cover. The more modern illustrator makes the dad look like a brother instead and the text is slightly changed)
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen- Beautiful lyrics tell of the night a little girl and her dad went owling together.
Papa, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse- A beautiful book full of reassurances of a father’s love. A companion to the book Mama, Do You Love Me.
Papa's Backpack by James Christopher Carroll- For military parents, a young bear is quite sure that with the right backpack they should be able to go with their parent wherever their job takes them.
Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek by Minfong Ho- A sweet game of peek-a-boo between father and daughter. Light text.
Rectangle Time by Pamela Paul- A father and his son and their read aloud culture.
Sonya’s Chickens by Phoebe Wahl- A father comforts and walks his daughter through the experience of losing her first chicken.
Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee- A little boy asks for the stories his dad’s tattoos represent and loves the one commemorating his own birth best.
Three Squeezes by Jason Pratt- A story of generational love and faithfulness.
Up on Daddy’s Shoulders by Matt Berry- A father and son go on a walk.
Violet Shrink by Christine Baldacchino- A dad listens, and really hears, his anxious SPD daughter and her concerns and they compromise and accommodate beautifully. (Single dad)
What Mary Jo Shared by Janice May Dory- Mary Jo can’t think of anything unique enough to share at school until she decides to bring her father.
When a Dad Says "I Love You" by Douglas Wood- All the ways dads show they love you and say it without words.
When I Am With Dad by Kimball Crossley- A day with dad may look nothing like a day with mom but love can overcome differences. (Divorced parents)
Winter Wood by David Spohn- A dad chops wood with his son and lets him chop too. (Single dad)
You Are My I Love You by Maryann K. Cusimano- One of my favorite board books! This delightful poem of what a child is to a parent is one I’ve tucked into my heart.
Fathers: Special Situations
We acknowledge that not all families have a home with a father present or there may be some added stressors in the home situation such as transitioning back to living under one roof after an absence.
This can often cause large emotions.
To support your family in stretching dad situations, we have included the following titles and hope they are a blessing to you in a trying time.
Some are for homes with absent fathers and others in this brief list address fathers who desire to be home but can’t be for one reason or another or dads who are struggling to reconnect after an absence. These books all feature children struggling with insecurity of one kind or another.
A Father Like That by Charlotte Zolotow- Perfect for boys who wonder and dream about what it would be like to have a present father. This title ends on a hopeful note of becoming that person and can be empowering for any boy lacking a good male role model in the home. Available by two different illustrators.
Crow Call by Lois Lowry- A little girl and her dad find their way back to each other slowly after the father returns from war.
Finding Daddy: A Story of the Great Depression by Josephine Harper- A little girl goes on a journey to find her father who last left the family after not being able to provide during the Great Depression and to restore him to the home.
Jafta: The Homecoming by Hugh Lewin- A father has missed much while being gone to the city to earn money but is finally coming home!
Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang- During China's Cultural Revolution, a father and son are separated when the father is sent to a work camp. They use kites to communicate and then to keep hope alive.
Today is the Day by Nancy Riecken- Papa has been gone for a year but promised to return today. But will he? (he does!)
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