With social distancing and travel restrictions relaxing this spring, many families that may have been kept apart by the pandemic are able to reunite for the first time in more than a year. We’ve gathered a selection of celebratory titles for young readers to enjoy with their loved ones this Father’s Day.
Sybil Rosen, illus. by Camille Garoche. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-12320-1. Ages 3–7.
Renata is helping her Papi complete the construction of their new bathroom. But their work comes to a halt one morning when the pair discover an unexpected visitor: “It’s a little bird—a wren!—peppy and plump, with an upturned tail.” The wren weaves a nest with his partner on the shelf of an open bathroom cabinet, and soon enough, “four rosy eggs with red-brown blotches” hatch. This gentle story, with its respect for family, nature, construction, and collaboration, will lift readers’ spirits as surely as Renata boosts the wrens. The book received a starred review from PW.
The Circles All Around Us
Brad Montague, illus. by Kristi Montague. Dial, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-32318-2. Ages 3–5.
Husband-and-wife team Brad and Kristi Montague offer a picture book about how we can create bigger and bigger circles of community and connections as we grow. The story originated as an Instagram video by Brad (who is also the creator of the viral Kid President series), and narrated by the creators’ children.
Daddy Daughter Day
Isabelle Bridges-Boesch, illus. by Jeff Bridges. Dark Horse, $17.99 Oct. 2020 ISBN 978-1-5067-1808-8. Ages 7 and up.
For her debut picture book, parenting coach Bridges-Boesch pulled from memories of everyday childhood adventures with her father, Academy Award-winning actor and musician Jeff Bridges. Featuring his illustrations, Daddy Daughter Day tells the story of a girl named Belle, who invents a special imagination-fueled “hollyday” for her and her dad. See our q&a with the author here.
Dave Eggers, illus. by Kelly Murphy. Little, Brown, $18.99 ISBN 978-0-316-49219-5. Ages 4–8.
When Lucian brings home a magnificent cutlass he’s found on the beach, his mother has doubts. “Is it a faraway thing?” she asks, using his father’s phrase for treasures washed up on the beach. “Yup,” he assures her. When he hangs it on his wall, in their home below a defunct lighthouse, he dreams of his father. The next day, the cutlass’s owner appears by rowboat and approaches Lucian with an offer. Eggers tells his swashbuckling yarn with screenplay-like polish that feels just as expansive as Murphy’s art. The book received a starred review from PW.
Raakhee Mirchandani, illus. by Holly Hatam. Little, Brown, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-316-49530-1. Ages 4–8.
A brown-skinned girl relays the hair routines of her long-haired Sikh father and herself in this bouncy picture book by Mirchandani, inspired by her husband and daughter: “He brushes my hair like he does his own, splitting it down the middle, like a river separating two enchanted forests.” Digitally collaged illustrations in a colorful cartoon style by Hatam spotlight a cast with a range of abilities, hair textures, religions, and skin tones. This sweet read epitomizes a compassionate bond between parent and child. The book received a starred review from PW.
Mine, Mine, Mine, Yours!
Kimberly Gee. Putnam, $16.99 ISBN 978-0-593-11240-3. Ages up to 3.
In this companion to Up, Up, Up, Down!, a boy hosts his friends for a playdate while his father supervises the fun. Through games such as “hide, hide, hide—find!” and “stop, stop, stop—go!,” the toddlers explore concepts that include opposites and sharing.
Jacob Grant. Viking, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-11766-8. Ages 3–5.
Pablo and his father are ready for a great day; they’re having a cookout with the whole family. All they need to do is get ready: eat breakfast, brush teeth, put on pants. But Pablo has another idea: no pants!
Robert Broder, illus. by Carrie O’Neill. Little Bigfoot, $17.99 ISBN 978-1-63217-264-8. Ages 5–7.
A father teaches his creative daughter woodworking skills as the duo builds a shed in their backyard over the course of three days. Through a first-person perspective and simple, straightforward prose, Broder follows the project, including steps such as checking boards for warping and how to guide and use a saw. This sweet parent-child story effectively celebrates hands-on intergenerational collaboration.
Strong as Stone
Christopher Browne. Viking, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-20466-5. Ages 4–8.
A girl named Stone lives with her father during prehistoric times where mastodons and ferocious beasts abound. She longs to be as strong as her father. But when he becomes ill, she must journey deep into the wilderness to find a cure.
Jess McGeachin. Philomel, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-20358-3. Ages 4–8.
Lucy lives with her single father and delights in fixing things: “the wonky mailbox, broken watches, even Dad’s old binoculars.” When she finds a sparrow with a broken wing, she immediately names him Flap and gets to work building a project to help him fly again. The core of author-illustrator McGeachin’s poignant, fantastical tale is grounded in sobering reality, as Lucy’s father helps her come to terms with the knowledge that not everything is fixable, but he also teaches her that moving forward is possible with the support of loved ones.
Nidhi Chanani. First Second, $21.99 ISBN 978-1-250-15637-2. Ages 10–14.
In this middle-grade graphic novel, music links 12-year-old Bangladeshi American Shaheen (Shahi) to her white father “like rhythm and melody,” but her dad’s growing obsession with the topic is also becoming a source of contention in the family. When he doesn’t return home one night, Shahi and her Indian mother grow worried. Convinced that the record store Shahi’s dad frequents holds answers, Shahi and her 15-year-old cousin Tannaz (Naz) slip inside an open alleyway window to get inside. In the attic, they discover a mysterious jukebox that can play a full album, and when Naz puts on a Bessie Smith record, she and Shahi are transported to the year 1929. Music aficionados will appreciate the message of connectivity that, through music, transcends generations.
Emiko Jean. Flatiron, $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-76660-1. Ages 12 and up.
Mount Shasta, Calif., high school senior Izumi “Izzy” Tanaka is a normal 18-year-old American girl: she enjoys baking, watching Real Housewives, and dressing like “Lululemon’s sloppy sister.” But Japanese American Izzy, conceived during a one-night stand in her mother Hanako’s final year at Harvard, has never known the identity of her father. So when she and her best friend find a letter in Hanako’s bedroom, the duo jump at the chance to ferret out Izzy’s dad’s true identity—only to find out he’s the Crown Prince of Japan. Desperate to know her father, Izzy agrees to spend the summer in his home country. A fun, frothy, and heartfelt duology starter.