Sunday, June 21st 2020 is Father’s Day in the UK, so to celebrate we have put together a collection of our favourite books about Dads.
It’s a varied list which includes books which make great gifts, bedtime stories with strong father figures and even some beautiful poetry.
We have dads of many different races, bearded dads, gay dads, tattooed dads, animal dads, flatulent dads and if you look closely you’ll even spot a book with a pregnant dad (spoiler: he’s a seahorse – but still!).
We’d love to hear about your favourites too. What would you add to this list?
Jabari has just learned to swim, and he is desperate to try jumping from the high diving board. However, when he gets there he isn’t quite so sure.
He doesn’t want to look weak, so he lets the other children go in front of him and spends a little time stretching and thinking about what kind of jump he might do.
Jabari’s fear is stopping him from doing the thing he wants to do the most.
But all this time, his father is alongside him. He helps his son explore how he is feeling and quietly encourages without pushing. The father shares times when he has felt scared too so that his son understands that he is not alone in his fears. And eventually, in his own time, Jabari takes a deep breath and jumps.
Ivy is 4 now but I can clearly remember the days when we were eagerly anticipating her first word. Would it be Mama, Dada or something else entirely? If this sounds familar, then you’re probably going to like this hilarious book from American comedian Jimmy Fallon.
The story follows a range of farmyard fathers as they try to get their children to say ‘Dada’. Naturally it doesn’t quite go as planned! As the dads say ‘Dada’ over and over again, the babies all insist on responding with their respective animal sounds.
This is a book of few words – in fact, until you get to the end of the book there’s only one word per page!
Baby Badger is extremely curious about the world. He explores every detail and corner of his underground home and then asks his Dad “What’s Next?”. His Dad explains that there’s a whole forest up above them so together they head out in to the dark.
Baby Badger sniffs and snuffles, learning everything he can about this new environment. He discovers soft moss and bluebell bulbs and his dad takes him to a spot where he can look at the stars and the perfect full moon. But inevitably, impatience sets in and Baby Badger asks “What’s Next?”. There are more things to learn and more things to see and he wants to do it all right now.
This diverse and inclusive picture book encourages children to think about all the things which makes their dad unique.
Is your dad grumpy in the mornings? Does he have big feet? What colour is his hair? Does he give you a bath? What fun things do you do together? How does he get to work? Every page poses a question and then the lovely illustrations give your child lots of options to choose from.
The book features a huge variety of different father figures. There are dads from different cultures and races, dads in wheelchairs, dads in glasses, gay dads, beardy dads and tattooed dads. There’s even a dad with a blue mohican!
This beautiful book of poetry is a celebration of dads everywhere.
From dancing and wrestling to bedtime stories and learning to ride a bike, each of the 16 poems highlight the joy of the little meaningful moments we share with our dads as children.
He’s tickly like an octopus and wise like an owl. He snores when he sleeps but he makes breakfast like a pro. He makes you feel brave and he teaches you new skills. He knows the names of all your friends and he knows just what to do when you have a problem. Your daddy rules the world.
The poems are touching and poignant. Some make you laugh out loud whilst others encourage you to pause for thought. All of them are wonderful but there are two which stand out for me. The first is ‘Love Letter’ where we see a child writing to a father who is far away. The second is ‘Some Dads’ which has a beautiful line about stay at home fathers.
Seahorses are special because, unlike most animals, it is the male of the species which gets pregnant. When it’s time to mate he puffs out his tummy and the female lays her eggs in a little pouch where they are then fertilised. He carries the eggs until the baby seahorses are ready to be born.
This beautiful board book follows Mister Seahorse from conception to birth as he meets a whole host of other sea creatures who are preparing for the arrival of their own little ones. As we follow his journey we discover that he is not unique and that many other male fish go to great lengths to keep their young safe.
Mr. Stickleback builds a nest for Mrs. Sticklebacks eggs and then hovers over it, protecting them. Mr. Tilapia carefully carries eggs in his mouth so they are safe from predators. Mrs. Kurtus lays her eggs on Mr. Kurtus’ head and he carries them there until they are ready to hatch. Mr Pipe has a line of eggs running right along his belly and Mr. Bullhead is the primary carer of his brood once they are welcomed in to the world.
This smartly written book follows a father and his child as they enjoy the small moments of wonder to be found in an ordinary day.
Together they play in the park and count the ants on the ground. They make boats out of cardboard boxes, splash about in the rain and read bedtime stories. The simple pleasures shown in the illustrations are underlined by the minimalist text which, rather cleverly, can be interpreted in two ways.
The words are essentially a list of lessons being passed from one to the other, including how to choose words with care, how to be creative and how to look at the world in different ways.
The first time I read the book to myself I instinctively saw this as knowledge being passed down from father to child. However on further examination I realised that equally these could be lessons that we as parents learn from our children.
Most parents of my generation can’t wait to introduce Roald Dahl books to their children, and this gorgeous board book all about dads is the perfect primer.
At just 16 pages it’s a short read but there’s a lot of nostalgia squeezed in. Dads are fantastic just like Mr. Fox. They are giants like the BFG. They are as mischievous as monkeys, do magnificent whizzpops and sometimes they can be twits, but they will always be there for you.
And of course, the jolly rhyme is accompanied by Quentin Blake’s classic illustrations.
This is a great introduction to Roald Dahl and the chunky board pages are durable enough for you to enjoy it many, many times with babies and toddlers.
As children it can be hard for us to believe that our parents ever had lives before we came along. Even as an adult I can’t quite picture the younger versions of my mum and dad in full colour – he on a scooter with hair to his waist and she in a Mary Quant dress, twirling the night away at the local ‘Palais de Danse’. That’s why this book, about a dad who used to be a rock star, is so much fun!
The little boy in the story has heard that his dad used to be cool, but he’s really not so sure. As he watches him fold the washing, vacuum the study and tie his shoe laces he wonders what on earth happened. His dad was in a rock band and now he’s just dad. He thinks something massive must have occurred to bring about this change but he can’t work out what!