20 Picture Book Favorites for Father's Day

illustrations of father and children playing and hugging

Every year on Father’s Day we take time to celebrate the dads in our lives. For children, it is a day to show appreciation for their fathers and father figures. For adults, it is a day to show much they love and appreciate the hard work of the fathers and husbands in their lives. There are tons of bonding activities you can do to celebrate; one of our favorites (of course) is reading. Set aside time to read together with your kids this Father's Day!

We’ve gathered some of our favorite picture books below - books that celebrate the tender, tough, funny, insightful, and devoted dads we know and love. This list is sure to have one for every father raising spectacular kiddos. From gorgeous illustrations to affirming messages of paternal love, here are our favorite picture books starring dads!

My Dad
Susan Quinn

A dad does not have to be a superhero or an astronaut to be awesome; it is what is inside that matters most. This sweet picture book begins with the main character, a young boy, acknowledging that his dad isn’t a superhero or celebrity but then spends the remainder of the book detailing all of the extraordinary things his dad does in their ordinary life. The little boy recognizes that his dad loves to be with him and gives numerous examples of how he knows his dad loves him. The tender moments shared between this little boy and his dad are beautifully illustrated, showing how the dad’s greatest gifts are the time and attention he gives to his child.

My Daddy Can Fly!
Thomas Forster & Shari Siadat

"Ben and his friends are playing in their favorite part of the classroom-- the dress-up corner! They are talking about what they want to be when they grow up. Rachel wants to be a tae kwon do master, Dixie wants to be a doctor like her auntie, and John wants to be a teacher just like their teacher, Mr. Underwood. But when Ben says he wants to fly just like his daddy, his friends are sure his daddy must be a pilot. Ben tells his friends that they aren't even close, but he offers a few more clues. His daddy is strong, gentle, fierce, and fast. His friends have lots of guesses, but no one lands on the right one until Ben gives them the biggest clue of all."

Dad Bakes
Katie Yamasaki

"Dad wakes early every morning before the sun, heading off to work at the bakery. He kneads, rolls, and bakes, and as the sun rises and the world starts its day, Dad heads home to his young daughter. Together they play, read, garden, and―most importantly―they bake. This lovely, resonant picture book was inspired by muralist Katie Yamasaki’s work with formerly incarcerated people. With subtle, uncluttered storytelling amplified by her monumental and heartfelt paintings, she has created a powerful story of love, of family, and of reclaiming a life with joy."

Tuesday is Daddy's Day
Elliot Kreloff

"The little girl in this story loves her busy routine. Some days Mommy picks her up at school and they walk to her house.  Other days, she and Daddy take the bus to the apartment he shares with his partner. She has two rooms, two homes, and one big, loving family. (Even if both her parents make her eat broccoli—yuck!) But when Mommy comes to pick her up on Tuesday, the little girl gets upset. Tuesday is Daddy's day, and she doesn't like surprises! She wonders and worries and insists change is the worst thing ever...until Daddy shows up with the best surprise ever! Celebrating LGBTQ+ parents, co-parents who live apart, and the shared love that keeps families together no matter where they live, Tuesday is Daddy's Day is a sweet story perfect for sharing on Father's Day, during Pride month, and year-round."

Daddy Speaks Love
Leah Henderson

"What does a daddy do? From day one, this daddy speaks love to his little one. And along with that love, his words and actions speak many other things, too: like truth, joy, comfort, and pride. Like many dads, he answers a million questions and tries to make sure that days are full of fun adventures, giggles, and hugs. Dads are good at scaring away imaginary monsters, and honest about how to confront the real ones too. They set an example for the future, speaking out for equality and justice, while sharing lessons from the past. But most of all, daddies encourage their young ones to fight for a better world, with the comfort of knowing their dads are right beside them."

Hair Twins
Raakhee Mirchandani

"Every morning Papa combs through his daughter's waves like he does his own—parting it down the middle, using coconut oil to get all the tangles out. Some days he braids her hair in two twists down the side of her face. Other days he weaves it into one long braid hanging down her back, just like a unicorn tail.  But her favorite style is when he combs her hair in a tight bun on the top of her head, just like the joora he wears every day under his turban. They call this their hair twin look! A Sikh father and daughter with a special hair bond proudly celebrate and share a family tradition in this charming story perfect for fans of Hair Love and I Love My Hair!"

Dancing with Daddy
Anitra Rowe Schulte

"Elsie can't wait to go to her first father-daughter dance. She picked out the perfect dress and has been practicing swirling and swaying in her wheelchair. Elsie's heart pirouettes as she prepares for her special night. With gestures, smiles, and words from a book filled with pictures, she shares her excitement with her family. But when a winter storm comes, she wonders if she'll get the chance to spin and dance her way to a dream come true." This is a wonderful and gorgeously illustrated picture book featuring a girl with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome and the sweet bond she has with her father.

Brick by Brick
Heidi Woodward Sheffield

"Papi is a bricklayer, and he works hard every day to help build the city, brick by brick. His son, Luis, works hard too--in school, book by book. Papi climbs scaffolds, makes mortar, and shovels sand. Luis climbs on the playground and molds clay into tiny bricks to make buildings, just like Papi. Together, they dream big about their future as they work to make those dreams come true. And then one Saturday, Papi surprises Luis with something special he's built for their family, brick by brick." Winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, this book tells a beautiful story celebrating the warm bond between a little boy and his dad as they work hard to achieve their dreams.

My Dad Used To Be So Cool
Keith Negley

"Keith Negley's playful and emotional art tells this story of a new father who is no longer the cool guy he once was. He looks back wistfully on his crazy times playing in a band, riding a motorcycle, and getting tattoos. Those days may be behind him, but his young son still thinks he's the coolest guy in the world."

Days with Dad
Nari Hong

"Based on experiences from author Nari Hong’s own childhood, Days With Dad is a heartwarming story of love and appreciation between a young girl and her dad, who uses a wheelchair. Narrated by the daughter, the story follows an ongoing conversation between the two about the father’s regret over what he is unable to do with his daughter because of his reliance on a wheelchair. But his daughter makes it clear that there’s nothing to feel badly about. Whether they’re sitting on the beach building a sandcastle or drinking hot cocoa and watching the rain, what she loves are the things they can do together."

My Papi Has a Motorcycle
Isabel Quintero

"When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she's always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her. But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there. With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl's love letter to her hardworking dad and to memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change."

My Daddy Rules the World: Poems about Dads
Hope Anita Smith

"Told through the voice of a child, Anita Hope Smith's collection of poems celebrates everyday displays of fatherly love, from guitar lessons and wrestling matches to bedtime stories, haircuts in the kitchen, and cuddling in bed. These heartwarming poems, together with bold folk-art-inspired images, capture the strength and beauty of the relationship between father and child."

If My Love Were a Fire Truck: A Daddy's Love Song
Luke Reynolds

"The bond between a father and his son is as powerful as a rocket ship blasting into space, a giant whale splashing across the ocean, and booming, colorful fireworks lighting up the night sky. Celebrating that one-of-a-kind relationship between Dad and his favorite little guy, this story is a rhyming love song from fathers to sons that will become a cherished part of their lives for many years to come."

Thunder Boy Jr.
Sherman Alexie

"Thunder Boy Jr. wants a normal name...one that's all his own. Dad is known as big Thunder, but little thunder doesn't want to share a name. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder. But just when Little Thunder thinks all hope is lost, dad picks the best name...Lightning! Their love will be loud and bright, and together they will light up the sky."

Dad by my Side

"Whether they're playing make-believe, making you smile, or warding off monsters under the bed, dads are always there when you need them. Debut picture book artist Soosh celebrates fathers with a gorgeously illustrated and moving story about the parent-child bond. When Soosh first posted her initial series of images of a larger-than-life father and his adorable daughter on Instagram, fans from across the world immediately took notice with over 2 million views on a popular viral content website in a single week. These illustrations now come together in a universally relatable story of familial love for parents and children to share."

Papa, Daddy, and Riley
Seamus Kirst

"Riley is Papa's princess and Daddy's dragon. She loves her two fathers! When Riley's classmate asks her which dad is her real one, Riley is confused. She doesn't want to have to pick one or the other.
Families are made of love in this heartwarming story that shows there are lots of ways to be part of one."

Made for Me
Zack Bush

"Of all the children that ever could be, You are the one made just for me. From a child's first uttered 'Da-da' to her first unsteady steps, nothing can adequately convey the joy and awe of watching the birth and growth of a new child. Filled with adorable illustrations and the refrain, 'You are the one made just for me,' Made for Me is a winning presentation of the tender moments that tie a father and his new child together-forever."

I am Perfectly Designed
Karamo Brown

"I Am Perfectly Designed is an exuberant celebration of loving who you are, exactly as you are. In this empowering ode to modern families, a boy and his father take a joyful walk through the city, discovering all the ways in which they are perfectly designed for each other." Written in conversation format, this story highlights a father and son talking and sharing and recalling beautiful memories together.

Yo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His Daughter
Mark Gonzales

"From Muslim and Latino poet Mark Gonzales comes a touching and lyrical picture book about a parent who encourages their child to find joy and pride in all aspects of their multicultural identity. Written as a letter from a father to his daughter, Yo Soy Muslim is a celebration of social harmony and multicultural identities. The vivid and elegant verse, accompanied by magical and vibrant illustrations, highlights the diversity of the Muslim community as well as Indigenous identity. This story is sure to inspire adults and children alike this Father's Day."

It's Great Being a Dad
Dan Bar-el

"A gang of mythical creatures is roaming around a magical land having a great time, until Bigfoot gets his foot stuck in a tree trunk and Unicorn gets her horn impaled on a table and Robot's saw-arm gets rusted into position. But have no fear! Dad is there to fix things--even when a Sneaky Flying Alligator Pirate steals the Fairy Queen Ballerina Doctor's wand. This is a hilarious story about imagination, play and the best parts about being a dad."

Descriptions provided by the publisher.
By MadisonS on June 9, 2022