There are so many great dads and grandpas in children’s literature—sensitive, funny, encouraging, and strong, just like the real-life ones we love. These are some of our favorite Father’s Day books for kids, but they’re also great any time of the year.
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1. Things To Do With Dad by Sam Zuppardi (Gr. PreK-2)
Dad’s to-do list is full of boring chores. Undeterred, his son launches a more creative approach to getting things done. Soon, dad catches on and joins the fun in this touching, almost-wordless title.
2. Froggy’s Day With Dad by Jonathan London (Gr. PreK-2)
When Froggy is in charge of planning the Father’s Day surprises, there are bound to be some messes involved, and a classic “more red in the face than green” moment –but plenty of fun, too.
3. My Dad Has a Beard by Kellen Roggenbuck (Gr. PreK-2)
This son’s ode to his father’s beard will tickle any child whose own father prizes his facial hair, but it’s also a great example of focused, descriptive writing. Use it to model narrowing in on exactly what makes a loved one special.
4. Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin (Gr. PreK-2)
This dad doesn’t have x-ray vision or an invisibility cloak, but he does wear night-vision goggles and camouflage. This understated but poignant tribute to military fathers sends a clear message about their superhero status.
5. Shopping With Dad by Matt Harvey (Gr. PreK-2)
A dad and daughter head to the market with Mom’s silly list (“Strong Anti-Grump Pills?” Yes, please). The errand gets more interesting when an ill-timed sneeze causes a display-crashing catastrophe. Dad’s response makes him the perfect parental role model.
6. Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall (Gr. PreK-2)
Jabari desperately wants to jump off the high diving board at the community pool, but when it’s time to take the plunge, he suddenly isn’t so sure. The reassuring advice his dad offers is invaluable.
7. My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Dads by Hope Anita Smith (Gr. PreK-3)
We love how relatable the rhyming poems in this collection are. They are artfully accented by torn paper collage illustrations showing dads and kids in all shades of brown.
8. Dad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko (Gr. PreK-3)
When Nicholas loses his toy dinosaur, the one thing that helps him feel brave, his dad doesn’t hesitate to head out late at night to search for it with him. It turns out nothing is more reassuring than feeling understood.
9. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (Gr. PreK-3)
This true story of two male penguins who became foster parents together is impossibly sweet. The text sensitively portrays the penguins’ companionship and matter-of-factly explains why they couldn’t have their own egg like the other penguin couples. This important story honors the many ways there are to create a family.
10. Be Glad Your Dad…(Is Not an Octopus!) by Matthew Logelin (Gr. K-3)
Kids will love this funny twist on the theme of appreciating Dad. It offers plenty of wit—”Be glad your dad is not an octopus, because he would always win at tag”—and a touch of grossness for added appeal —”Be glad your dad is not a dung beetle, because he would pile poop in your room.”
11. How To Surprise a Dad by Jean Reagan (Gr. K-3)
An especially entertaining installment of the author’s “How To…” series, this title will get kids thinking about personalized ways to show their own dads –or other special grownups– that they care.
12. My Dad Used To Be So Cool by Keith Negley (Gr. K-3)
This young narrator is pretty sure his dad used to be in a rock band and ride a motorcycle. So what happened? Let your students figure it out from the illustrations and ask them to imagine ways their own dads used to be cool.
13. Boundless Grace by Mary Hoffman (Gr. 1-4)
Grace hardly remembers her dad, who moved back to Africa after separating from her mom and remarried. As she anticipates visiting him, she’s unsure what to expect. This is a story for children who wonder, like Grace, “Why aren’t there any stories about families like mine, that don’t live together?
14. Home at Last by Vera B. Williams (Gr. 1-4)
Lester has waited so long to be adopted by his new dads. When he moves into their house, though, it’s hard to sleep by himself in his new bed. There’s so much to ponder about the definitions of family and home as Lester, Albert, Rich, and their dog, Wincka, settle into their new lives together.
15. Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson (Gr. 1-4)
On Visiting Day, a young girl wakes up early to visit her father in prison. Jacqueline Woodson’s eloquent prose and James E. Ransome’s gorgeous paintings normalize a difficult situation. The author’s note, which describes the real-life inspiration for the story, will add even more to classroom discussion.
16. Sky Dancers by Connie Ann Kirk (Gr. 1-4)
John Cloud’s father leaves their Mohawk reservation each week for his job as steelworker atop the Empire State Building in 1930s New York. Share this story to get students talking about the things their fathers do that make them proud.
17. Night Driving by John Coy (Gr. 1-5)
This understated portrayal of a father-son road trip is an excellent mentor text for personal narrative writing focused on family relationships. The black and white illustrations add to the hushed appeal.
18. Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch (Gr. 2-5)
Young Hiromi describes how her father became a master sushi chef, and how she broke gender barriers to continue his legacy. Kudos to her dad for taking her interest in sushi seriously.
19. Weekends With Max and His Dad by Linda Urban (Gr. 2-4)
When Max’s parents divorce and his dad moves into an apartment, Max isn’t sure about visiting him. Father-son adventures help remind Max that home can be wherever your family is.
20. Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl (Gr. 3-7)
Danny’s mother passed away when he was quite young, and he and his dad are best friends. What’s Danny to think, though, when he discovers his father is a poacher? This is a classic story about difficult choices, growing up, and loving your dad.
21. Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager (Gr. 5-8)
Carol resents having to spend the entire summer at her ailing paternal grandfather’s decrepit sheep ranch. In time, though, she becomes engrossed in Grandpa’s fantastic stories, and learns a lot more about her grandparents, her father, and herself than she ever expected.
What are your favorite Father’s Day books for kids? We’d love to hear about them in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.