If you’re a dad, it probably didn’t take long for you to realize that you’re a bit underrepresented in children’s books. Consider the hit parade from your child’s bookshelf: The Kissing Hand, Love You Forever, Where the Wild Things Are, The Cat in the Hat, Are You My Mother?, Guess How Much I Love You, I Love You Stinky Face, Is Your Mama a Llama, Runaway Bunny, and On the Night You Were Born.
These memorable books all have one thing in common: dads don’t exist.
And in other stories where dad was moderately present, it always seemed as if the mom was the caring, nurturing one who raised the children, while dad was relegated to the background at best, or merely comic relief who needed corrected by the mother’s sensibility (think Berenstain Bears).
However, dad-centric stories do exist. Here’s a list of some of the best.
Because Your Daddy Loves You
By Andrew Clements, illustrated by R.W. Alley. A daddy-daughter day at the beach offers plenty of opportunities for the parent to frustratingly lose his cool, but he doesn’t. This dad shows love and patience every step of the way.
Daddy Loves Me
By Karen Moore, illustrated by Mandy Stanley. This endearingly cute and simplistic rhyming book portrays a hands-on father doing it all and demonstrating love throughout the day.
By Rosanne Parry, illustrated by David Leonard. Do you remember a time when the house didn’t seem complete until dad got home from work? This book celebrates the ritual a family has every time dad arrives home.
By Garrison Keillor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. The juggernaut book duo of Keillor and Preiss Glasser is destined to induce some tears, especially if you relish an affectionate daddy-daughter relationship.
I Love My Daddy
By Sebastien Braun. Light on text but heavy in heart, this doting dad shares fun and affection has he cares for his child through gentle and warm illustrations. It’s perfect and calming for bedtime.
Darth Vader and Son
By Jeffrey Brown. You won’t have a bad feeling about this cute take on evil Vader being reimagined as a sensitive father to Luke Skywalker. Love it, you will.
Just Me and My Dad
By Mercer Mayer. This “Little Critter” view of a father-son camping trip is filled with trademark colorful illustrations that offer plenty to look at. Whether or not you’re big on the great outdoors, you’ll appreciate the warm feeling of just hanging with dad