Sunday, June 21 is Father’s Day. Here are a few books recommended by our Outreach Coordinator Leena Desai about the special bond that fathers share with their children.
Great Job, Dad!
Written by Holman Wang
Creator of the beloved Cozy Classics and Star Wars Epic Yarns series of children’s books, Holman Wang’s book Great Job, Dad! celebrates the quiet, unheralded work fathers do for their children. After their work at the office, fathers come home to do more work, but this time the work is fun and their bosses are pint-sized humans. From inspecting dirty diapers to designing pillow forts and scheduling play dates, fathers play and work and make it all seem fun and easy. Wang is the creator and photographer behind all the felt figures in this charming picture book that tips its hat to fathers everywhere. Grades Preschool-1
Written by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Hair Love tells the simple story of a Black father trying to style his daughter’s hair, but Matthew A. Cherry’s simple story and Vashti Harrison’s cheerful illustrations serve to depict a relationship that is not often seen in books. To counter the misconception that Black fathers are not involved in their children’s lives, Cherry tells the story of little Zuri who feels her hair has a mind of its own because it kinks, coils and curls. Her father steps in to style it for a special occasion and through their touching story, Cherry succeeds not just in getting rid of pre-established gender norms but also in challenging stereotypes and normalizing Black father-daughter relationships in books. Grades Preschool-2
Written by Naseem Hrab, illustrated by Frank Viva
Naseem Hrab’s beautiful picture book is essential reading for any family dealing with the aftermath of a divorce. In the book, a little boy’s parents separate and a week later he goes to spend the weekend with his dad. Over the course of the week, the boy observes things like his mom serving tuna for dinner, a fish his dad disliked, or the fact that he has been thinking of his father a lot since he moved out. On the weekend, the boy and his dad eat and play together and the dad gives the boy a letter to remind him that although they won’t be there during the week, he loves him very much. Frank Viva’s tender ink illustrations and Hrab’s comforting prose capture a beautiful father-son relationship and the new reality of having two homes after parents separate. Grades K-2
Written by Sara Cassidy, illustrated by Charlene Chua
In this middle-grade chapter book, eight-year-old Jolene is off on a road trip to Los Angeles with her father in an 18-wheel truck. It’s a six-day road trip, with the goal of delivering newsprint. But it’s so much more than that: it’s an annual tradition that Jolene cherishes because she gets to spend quality time with her father. And this year is more important than ever since Jolene’s parents split up when her father came out as gay. This change in her family has made Jolene even more determined to make the most of the trip and bond with her father over stories, music and truck-stop fast food. Sara Cassidy’s simple language and Charlene Chua’s colourful illustrations help make complex subjects easy to understand and appreciate for young readers. Grades 2-3
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
Written by Dan Gemeinhart
Five years ago, Coyote Sunrise lost her mother and two sisters to a car crash. Ever since then, she and her father have lived on the road in an old school bus, travelling from one state of the US to the next. But when Coyote learns that a beloved park in her old neighbourhood, where she, her mom and her sisters buried a memory box, is to be demolished, Coyote concocts a plan to get her dad to drive 3,000 miles back home. On the way, they give rides to a motley group of characters who, like Coyote and her father, are fighting their own battles. The journey Coyote takes is a literal and metaphorical one: it strengthens her bond with her father and makes her realize how much he loves her and is also the internal journey of a girl coming to terms with her loss. Grades 3-7