With Father’s Day just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to highlight favorite picture books about fathers. But not just any dad-oriented picture book: I wanted to choose stories that were not only diverse in regard to cultures, but also diverse in theme, plot, or situation.
In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall is a stunningly illustrated poetry book celebrating African American fathers from all walks of life. Children’s literature luminaries such as Angela Johnson, Carole Boston Weatherford, and many more contributed to this unique collection. Take time to examine the variety of materials and techniques used by illustrator Javaka Steptoe; they are the highlight of this collection.
Although picture books about occupations are commonplace, stories about parents working the night shift are not. Alex fervently wishes to join Papa, an engineer, at his nighttime construction site. Construction/machinery obsessed youngsters will flock to this depiction of a busy, light-flooded construction site, and readers both young and small will be drawn to this loving portrayal of a father-son relationship. The Night Worker is an excellent read aloud for toddler/preschool groups.
Papa, Do You Love Me? is a companion book of sorts to Barbara M. Joosse’s Mama, Do You Love Me? Instead of an Inuit mother and child, readers are introduced to a Maasai father and son. Papa reinforces his love for his son using culturally appropriate similarities (a glossary is included). Although this may be a short read aloud, it’s great for a wide range of ages.
Surfer Chick was one of my favorite picture books of 2012. Not only is it a hilarious account of a young girl chick learning to surf, but it’s also a genuinely touching father-daughter story. Surfer terms are included for those unaccustomed to catching waves.
What are your favorite stories about fathers? Grandfathers or uncles? Let us know in the comments!