Books to Share on Father’s Day and All Year Long

Finding that perfect gift for Father’s Day can be tricky, but you can’t go wrong with a heartwarming picture book showcasing that special bond between dads and children. There is no better present than a story sure to result in extra cuddles, so I’ve put together a list of books that both kids and dads will love reading on Father’s Day and all year long!

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If My Love Were a Fire Truck: A Daddy’s Love Song by Luke Reynolds; illustrated by Jeff Mack, 2018

(Newborns – 3)

As a father gently tucks his son into bed, he regales him with the full range of his love using imaginative comparisons. “If my love were a fire truck, my sirens would flash all night.” Playful illustrations add to the fun of this endearing lullaby.

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The Daddy Book by Todd Parr, 2010

(Ages 2 and up)

New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, Todd Parr is well known for his colorful books that share positive messages with children. His signature bold artwork shines in this cheerful book celebrating different kinds of dads.

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Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too by Anna Dewdney, 2014

(Ages 2 and up)

Upbeat rhymes follow Nelly Gnu as she and her dad embark on an adventure to the store to purchase supplies to make a fort at home. Fans of Llama Llama will not want to miss this adorable tale that is just as much fun to read aloud as it is to listen to.

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Made for Me by Zack Bush; illustrated by Gregorio De Lauretis, 2018

(Ages 2 and up)

I dare you not to cry when reading this endearing book about the love between a parent and child. It makes me melt every time! Its sweet text paired with charming illustrations of a larger-than-life dad tenderly caring for his teeny, tiny baby make this a great choice for baby showers or new parents in addition to Father’s Day.

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Brick by Brick by Heidi Woodward Sheffield, 2020

(Ages 3 and up)

This uplifting tale of a son’s admiration for his father, could not be sweeter. Sprinkled with Spanish vocabulary, the clever text draws parallels between the young boy and his Papi while gorgeous collage-style illustrations capture how the two are alike using mirror images of the father-son duo. The gratifying conclusion features the family celebrating a new house that Papi has built for his family.   

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Side By Side: A Celebration of Dads by Chris Raschka, 2019

(Ages 2 and up)

This story beautifully captures the loving bond between a father and his children.  Award-winning author and illustrator, Chris Raschka uses simple text and his bold, signature illustrations to commemorate special moments between a father and child. Whether it is playing “horse and rider”, “mountain and climber”, or “teacher and learner”, the message of a father’s continued support is clear.

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My Dad by Susan Quinn; illustrated by Marina Ruiz Fernandez, 2021

(Ages 3 and up)

Gentle rhymes follow a father and son through the seasons in this lovely tribute to dads. Every day events like grocery shopping, bathing, and going for walks are made special by the caring connection between parent and child. Prepare for extra cuddles while reading this one!

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My Papa is a Princess by Doug Cenko, 2018

(Ages 3 and up)

Simple text and amusing illustrations show the different imaginative roles a dad plays in his daughter’s life through her point of view. From astronaut to rock star, this dad does it all and his daughter loves him for it. Usually I am the storyteller in the family, but my daughter loves having her daddy read her this alluring book.

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Things to do With Dad by Sam Zuppardi, 2017

(Ages 3 and up)

After an enjoyable pancake breakfast, a boy and his father set upon a long list of chores around the house. The imaginative boy amends the list making each task an exciting adventure. Making the beds becomes sailing pirate ships while watering the garden turns into a jungle expedition. There is a lot to love about this cute book that transforms mundane tasks into whimsical games.

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Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry; illustrated by Vashti Harrison, 2019

(Ages 4 and up)

This tender and amusing tale of a father struggling to give his daughter the perfect hairstyle is sure to evoke smiles. With its heartwarming storyline and expressive illustrations, this one is a must-have! If you need one more reason to read this standout story, it was also turned into an animated short film that won an Oscar!

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Dandy by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Charles Santoso, 2019

(Ages 4 and up)

Dandy is the hilarious story of a daddy lion who does everything he can to rid his pristine lawn of the invasive weed while his daughter adopts the dandelion as her new friend. This humorous and gratifying story is one that both adults and children will enjoy!

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Hike by Pete Oswald, 2020

(Ages 4 and up)

This wordless wonder follows a boy and his father as they hike through the forest together. There are so many standout details in the story most notably the expressions of the characters as they discover wildlife, take in the beauty of the natural world, overcome fears, and, best of all, foster a special connection between parent and child. Readers will be elated at the heartwarming ending revealing that this hike is a special trip passed down through generations.

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How To Surprise a Dad by Jean Reagan; illustrated by Lee Wildish, 2015

(Ages 4 and up)

Our family loves this amusing series of “how to” books. A brother and sister team up to teach readers a variety of ways to surprise dads. From making artwork to reorganizing his shoes, the child-friendly suggestions are lots of fun and engaging. Not only is this a great book for Father’s Day, its recommendation for everyday surprises makes it a perfect choice anytime.

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Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein, 2010

(Ages 4 and up)

It’s time for bed and Little Red excitedly awaits her Papa’s bedtime stories. As he reads each classic fairy tale, the exuberant Little Red can’t help but interrupt each one with comical results. This delightful Caldecott Honor book is a must-read!

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Hair Twins by Raakhee Mirchandani; illustrated by Holly Hatam, 2021

(Ages 4 and up)

The unconditional love between a father and daughter is palpable in this sweet story. Whether the papa is tenderly putting his daughter’s hair in braids or she is adoringly passing him hair accessories, it is clear that taking care of their long locks is an important tradition to their family. This cheerful tale further provides a window into the Sikh tradition of patkas and ends with a touching author’s note stating how the story is inspired by her own family.

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What We’ll Build: Plans for our Future Together by Oliver Jeffers, 2020

(Ages 4 and up)

In this love letter to his daughter, New York Times best-selling author, Oliver Jeffers, has created an imaginative and inspiring tale with a timeless feel. While this offbeat story is full of whimsy, the message that a parent will always be there to guide a child through life’s ups and downs is comforting and reassuring.

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A Pizza With Everything On It by Kyle Scheele; illustrated by Andy J. Miller, 2021

(Ages 4 and up)

When a boy and his dad attempt to make the perfect pizza by putting everything on it, they get carried away with hilarious consequences! They quickly go beyond the typical toppings and begin adding bigger and stranger items until the pizza collapses in on itself creating a cosmic boom resulting in a new pizza solar system!

The complete absurdness of the story and the engaging illustrations give this book tons of kid appeal! It is sure to be a tale kids ask for again and again!

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My Daddy Rules the World: Poems About Fathers by Hope Anita Smith, 2017

(Ages 4 and up)

Fifteen poems paired with beautiful collage artwork featuring a diverse group of fathers and children make up this lovely ode to dads. The child-friendly lyrical poems are the perfect inspiration for littles ones to create their own verses for their fathers.

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Every Friday by Dan Yaccarino, 2007

(Ages 4 and up)

Readers will relish in following a father and son as they stroll through the city on their weekly outing together. One of our family traditions was going out to breakfast at a local café, so this book became a fast favorite in our house. We love pouring through the retro style illustrations and cuddling while reading this delightful tale.

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Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall, 2017

(Ages 4 and up)

Gorgeous illustrations adorn this lovely book on facing your fears. Jabari has just finished his swim lessons and is now ready to tackle the high dive at his local pool. Jabari appears self-assured, but hesitates when it is his turn to climb onto the diving board. Luckily, his wise father is there to give him some sage advice that bolsters his confidence and inspires him to take the plunge!

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Hammer and Nails by Josh Bledsoe; illustrated by Jessica Warrick, 2016

(Ages 4 and up)

When Darcy’s playdate is cancelled, her resourceful father plans a “Darcy-Daddy Day” where they take turns coming up with activities to do together. Whether playfully fulfilling chores around the house or getting a makeover, this duo turns any situation into a special moment together.

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Papa Brings Me the World by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw, 2020

(Ages 4 and up)

Not only is this a loving tale about the special bond between a father and daughter, this extraordinary story broadens global awareness. Lu’s papa is a photojournalist who travels the world bringing her back souvenirs from his explorations. Dazzling collage-style artwork follow Lu as she pours over her father’s travel journal and relishes in the time she spends with her dad while he is home. A map of Papa’s travels is included in the back, giving readers a glimpse into the larger world.

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My Cat Looks Like My Dad by Thao Lamm, 2019

(Ages 4 and up)

Just as the title implies, the story comically describes how an unseen narrator’s cat and father are alike in many ways. Playful illustrations artfully present their commonalities. Hidden in the charming collage-style illustrations is the narrator, who reveals himself in the end for a surprising twist that reminds readers that families come in all forms. This quirky story about nontraditional families left me and my children smiling long after closing the pages.

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Raj and The Best Day Ever! by Sebastien Braun, 2019

(Ages 4 and up)

When a little tiger excitedly plans out his day with Dad, nothing goes as planned and he is initially disheartened. His quick-witted father, however, shows him how to seize the moment and find the fun in any situation.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Filled with bright colors, a sweet storyline about family and using one’s imagination, PLUS a clear example of being flexible in the face of hardship, makes this is an excellent choice for sharing one-on-one with a loved one.

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Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales, 2016

(Ages 5 and up)

This comical story stars a young Native American boy who dislikes his name. Striking illustrations and humorous text reveal all the possibilities he dreams up for a new name. In the end, his father helps him pick the perfect one. With themes of identity and culture presented in such an engaging way, this story is a real winner!

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My Dad Used to Be So Cool by Keith Negley, 2016

(Ages 5 and up)

Parents and kids alike are sure to get a kick out of this amusing story. When a boy begins noticing relics from his dad’s past such as a drum set and a motorcycle, he wonders if his father used to be a rock star and why he would give it up to do laundry and vacuum. It’s hard not to smile at the eye-catching illustrations and the concept of a father making his child a priority.

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Just Because by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, 2019

(Ages 4 and up)

“Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? What happened to the dinosaurs?” These are just a few of the questions a young girl asks her father as he attempts to leave her room during bedtime. The dad’s imaginative and amusing responses are perfectly paired with gorgeous, fantastical illustrations. This is such a fun book that will resonate with children and adults alike.

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My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero; illustrated by Zeke Peña, 2019

(Ages 5 and up)

A joyous bonding experience is shared between a father and daughter as they ride a motorcycle through their immigrant neighborhood. The text is sprinkled with Spanish vocabulary and detailed observations from the little girl noting how her community is changing. The love between the little girl and her papi is palpable and it is not surprising that this beautiful book was awarded a Pura Belpre Honor.  

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