By Chrysta Naron
Father’s Day is fast approaching! It’s a great moment to honor Dad—and all the special guys in your and your child’s life. This year, why not create a celebration of dads, uncles, and grandpas on your bookshelf? The gift of a book is wonderful in and of itself, but the gift of time spent reading together is priceless. We’ve curated a list of some favorite Father’s Day picture books to celebrate all the men we care about. Let’s have some fun and read together!
Perfect Picture Books for Father’s Day
Winner of the Tomás Rivera Award, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a story about a young girl and the quality time she gets with her father on the back of his motorcycle. We see through her eyes how even when love may not be expressed in words, you can see it in a loved one’s actions.
This nonfiction book tells the true story of Roy and Silo, a pair of male chinstrap penguins living in New York’s Central Park Zoo who fall in love. They keep creating nests in which to lay an egg, so one day the zookeeper gives them an abandoned egg to hatch and raise. A touching tale that shows how adoption and LGBTQ+ families exist around the world, the story of these cold-climate birds will warm your heart.
Todd Parr creates colorful, silly books that delight kids and adults of all ages. This book teaches us that every daddy may be different, but they all love their children. It’s so fun and is sure to bring a smile to the face of every dad you know.
Every parent can relate to the dreaded moment when their child can’t find a favorite blanket or stuffed animal: The tears, the panic, the frantic searching. In Knuffle Bunny, Mo Willems tells with sensitivity and humor the story of little Trixie, who loses her beloved bunny somewhere in Brooklyn. It’s up to her daddy to find Knuffle Bunny and save the day!
Jabari is afraid to jump off the diving board at the swimming pool. He wants to, but he just doesn’t think he can. With the love and support of his father, Jabari finds his courage and takes the plunge!
Arthur Dorros is such a wonderful children’s book author. In fact, you’ll find another one of his books on our Mother’s Day list! This Spanish and English bilingual book has rich illustrations filled with movement. A boy and his papa spend the day cooking, having adventures in the park, and visiting family together, creating memories filled with laughter and love.
This book is a hoot. A yeti kid tells us all about how amazing their yeti dad is. The illustrations by Eunice Moyle are bright and playful. It’s a happy and fun Father’s Day read that reminds Dad: “You’re the best!”
Daddy takes his children on a roadtrip to visit his family in this Caldecott Honor book. Lil’ Alan learns about the history of his family for generations and the love, wisdom, and strength they have passed on to him.
This book is the adorable companion to My Mama is a Mechanic, recommended in our Mother’s Day list. It shows what a hero a dad is in the eyes of his daughter. She reimagines her papa as a princess, a hairstylist, a hide-and-seek champion, and so much more, as they use their imaginations while spending time together.
Poet Bao Phi has created his first picture book, earning a Caldecott Honor. Father and son get up before the sun (or even mom) and travel to a pond to fish and spend time together. It’s a simple story filled with love and beautiful details.
Hope Anita Smith has created a rich collection of poems that view fatherhood through the lens of a child. It is a heartwarming read and I love it to bits. Plus, if you’re a fan of Father’s Day poetry, it pairs nicely with this Father’s Day Activity.
Bonus: Father’s Day Reads for the Other Men in Your Kid’s Life
Laura Numeroff (of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie fame) has struck gold again with What Uncles Do Best. (Hint: They play, explore, and spend time with us whenever they can.) It’s a great book that shows just how special uncles are.
Chloe’s Uncle Bobby is getting married! Chloe worries that once Uncle Bobby marries his boyfriend Jamie, he won’t have time for her anymore. Throughout the story, Chloe learns that the love she shares with Bobby only grows once Jamie becomes her uncle, too. This book is a celebration of the loving relationships children can share with various male relatives.
Okay, this book isn’t about grandpa only, but grandpa is heavily featured! It’s a great way to engage your little ones in reading with grandparents and shows grandchildren creating a bond over reading. With a great sense of humor, it gives playful tips on how little ones can engage their grandparents with questions to find out their interests, using different voices when reading aloud, and even sharing a story over the computer (something so many grandkids and grandparents have had to learn to do).
Drawn Together is a touching book about a grandfather who doesn’t speak English and a grandson who doesn’t speak Thai. They learn that through art, they can share a language. Based on the experiences of the author Minh Le and the illustrator Dan Santat, this beautiful story shows the love that crosses generations, countries, and languages. The book’s so good that it was awarded the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.
Aneel’s Dada-ji tells the best stories. Dada-ji tells stories of his childhood, when he ate the most delicious roti in the world. It gave him the strength of a tiger! Aneel wants Dada-ji to be this strong again and vows to recreate the delicious roti. This story even includes a recipe for roti!
How are you honoring the men and masculine people in your life? Share with us the ways that you’re celebrating Father’s Day!
Chrysta Naron is an early childhood educator and curriculum specialist in Austin, Texas, who believes everything is better with glitter! Read more from her at www.playfulprek.com.
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