10 Great Books to Celebrate That Special Relationship Between Dads and Their Kids

Like father, like book — these picks are smart, dependable, and filled with love to celebrate awesome dads.
By Scholastic Staff
May 15, 2019

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3-12

fathers day books

May 15, 2019

There's no one "type" when it comes to an amazing dad. Some might spend Father's Day barbecuing with their kids, while others might prefer to take the family to that new art show downtown. But no matter what your kids' dad is like, the one father-child activity most dads can agree on is reading. 

Yet, when you think about it, fathers aren't exactly the focus of many books. That's why surpising him with a few books that celebrate him as the hero of the day can be the most touching Father's Day gift (and for you dads reading this: treat yourself to the praise, you deserve it!). Not only will your kids be reminded of how lucky they are to have a dad like theirs, but he'll end the day feeling extra special and appreciated. As a bonus, these picture books are perfect for kids of different ages, so there's no need for siblings to take turns reading with him on Father's Day.  

1. Peppa Pig: My Daddy

In this sweet book, Peppa shares what she loves about her flat-out fantastic daddy: He's a big person with a serious job, but he always makes time to play with Peppa and her brother, George. From jumping in mud puddles to reading bedtime stories, Peppa lists every single thing that makes Daddy Pig the best around. 

2. Mighty Dads

Calling all builders, even the little ones still training with the sandbox crane! This book takes dads and their kids to a construction site to show how fathers build things full of love, with their little ones learning right beside them. Your kids' dad might secretly swell with a bit of pride while reading this tribute to the many ways fathers set positive examples for their kids.  

3. Big Choo

Choo's biggest dream is to be a brave, fast train just like his dad, Papa Pufferbelly. (Just try to say that name without smiling.) But becoming a Big Choo comes with unexpected challenges, and Little Choo will need all the bravery and strength he can muster to chugga-chugga-chug on the main line. Along the way, he learns a valuable lesson about never giving up on your dreams, even when everything goes off track.

4. Are You My Daddy?

Little ones with a dad who is the master of games will relate to this read. Walt the Walrus plays a game of hide-and-seek with his father, who turns out to be pretty good at it. Walt ends up exploring  every inch of the zoo, and asking all of the animals he encounters the same question: "Are you my daddy?" He gets thrown for a loop a few times — say, when a penguin's bushy eyebrows resemble his dad's mustache! Your youngest ones will be excited about the pull-tabs, flaps, and touch-and-feel animals, while toddlers and early readers will love learning all about animal daddies, from Daddy Penguin to Daddy Monkey.

5. Year of the Jungle

When Suzy's father has to go thousands of miles away to join the war in Vietnam, Suzy's head is buzzing with questions: Why does daddy have to leave? How long will he be away? Will he be okay? In this picture book memoir by Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, little readers see Suzy's relationship with her father in the midst of the Vietnam War. A moving tale, this book may particularly speak to military kids who are dealing with being separated from their dads on Father's Day. 

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6. Daddy Calls Me Man

Prepare to get all the feels with this one: This touching read is made up of four short, simple poems told from the perspective of a young character named Noah who's inspired by his parents' artwork. Paired with striking illustrations, his charming prose expresses just how much he loves, appreciates, and admires his father.

7. Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too

Fans of the Llama Llama series will love this sweet book about a father and daughter working together to create something spectacular. Nelly Gnu's home is filled with empty cardboard boxes, until one day she's struck with an idea: She could make a playhouse with them! Nelly Gnu spends the day building it with her daddy, as they paint, glue, and decorate together in this charming, sweet tale of father-daughter bonding.

8. Owl Moon

In this poetic book that's perfect for repeated read-alouds, a young girl and her father go on a trek and take in the beauty of the still winter night. With John Schoenherr's Caldecott Award-winning watercolor illustrations, this classic deserves a spot on every young reader's bookshelf. 

9. The Favorite Daughter
When Yuriko's art teacher calls her "Eureka" by mistake, all of her classmates start teasing her with the name. In turn, Yuriko tells her father that she wants to change her name to Michelle, but he helps her find confidence in herself and her Japanese heritage through exploring their favorite traditions. A touching tale that's moving for any reader, this read shows the beauty of fathers passing down their heritage (and may even inspire dads to talk about their own loved traditions).

10. Testing the Ice
Baseball fans, we see you! If your kids' dad loves the sport, he'll love this true picture book story written by Sharon Robinson, the daughter of legendary Jackie Robinson. The beautiful lake by Jackie's new Connecticut home becomes the center of all the neighborhood fun. But even as all the local kids come by to swim, Jackie never touches the water. Soon, Sharon finds out why: Jackie can't swim! When winter comes and the lake freezes over, Jackie has to overcome his fear to ensure that the frozen-over lake is safe for ice skating. It's a simple tale of a father's everyday bravery, but also serves as a metaphor for his exemplary life.

Looking for books that extra little ones can share with dad? We've got you covered with this list of daddy and me books for your youngest readers.

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