Caring father figures can be hard to find in children’s books. Often the dad is inept – I am looking at you “Mr. Large in Charge” – or has a minor role, if they appear at all. It is rare for a dad to take center stage.
It is crucial for our children to read about male role models, alongside embracing those figures in their own lives. The character traits of a loving, empathetic, supportive and attentive man is something we all want our children to aspire to, whether it is in friendship, partnership, or in a parental role later in life.
What we read to our children shapes opinions, starts conversations and dictates social norms. It is so important that we break gender stereotypes to ensure our children have a balanced view of the world.
Here is a list of some of our favorites.
The Storm Whale by Benji Davies
This is a wonderful story of Noi, who rescues a beached whale. When Noi’s father discovers the whale in the bathtub, he is understanding and kind, recognizing that Noi has been lonely due to his work and it needs to change. Beautifully illustrated with tender portraits of Noi and his father having a hug and walking hand in hand.
Daddy Long Legs by Nadine Brun-Cosme
A funny, quirky, and reassuring book. When the car is having trouble starting to go to school. Matthew that his father won’t be able to come back for him if the car won’t start. They talk about the increasingly absurd and imaginative ways he could possibly but would always get there. Gorgeous illustrations and enormous fun, a truly lovely book addressing and dispelling separation anxiety.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
A much-cherished book. Zuri discovers the magnificence and beauty of her hair. Her father is determined to make his daughter happy by giving her the hairstyle she deserves (albeit with some trial and loveable error)! Hair Love is a celebration of parental kindness, patience, and persistence.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
A poetic and magical book about a father taking his daughter owling in mid-Winter. It is a very quiet book yet full of sound, as the father calls out to the owls waiting for their response. It’s exciting for a father and daughter to have such a late-night adventure.
A Brave Bear by Sean Taylor
Richly illustrated, the pictures are so intricate, kids want to re-visit them again and again. A joyful story of a baby bear tumbling down to the river, bravely jumping from rock to rock to impress his dad. Although he falls, his father is encouraging, admiring and proud of his son’s courage to try new things.
You and Me, Me and You by Miguel Tanco
With colorful splashes of yellow throughout this book, this book is a touching tribute to fathers. It’s a wonderful tongue in cheek story of all the things a little boy can teach his father and does! It’s a delight for the whole family.
Quiet by Kate Alizadeh
Shhhhhhh listen, what’s that noise? A collection of all the sounds in every room, we can rarely hear them these days but children hear every one – it’s a tremendous symphony of noise! From the burbling kettle to the creaky door to her dad chewing, drying her hair, blowing her a kiss. It’s great fun!