We’ve gathered a selection of celebratory titles for young readers to enjoy with their loved ones this Father’s Day, ranging from outdoor adventures and animal allegories to contemplative tales about the nature of love, and more.

Climb On!

Baptiste Paul, illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara. NorthSouth, $18.95 ISBN 978-0-7358-4481-0. Ages 4–8.

A hike to the summit of a tropical peak has a father and child bonding through movement in this effervescent book. Paul’s staccato prose fluidly mixes Creole and English for a rhythmic effect that emphasizes the exertion on display. Bursting with verdant foliage, Alcántara’s exuberant illustrations capture the physicality of the story through varied perspectives.


Daddy and Me and the Rhyme to Be

Chris Bridges and Halcyon Person, illustrated by Parker-Nia Gordon. Scholastic, $17.99 ISBN 978-1-338-79633-9. Ages 6–8.

Featuring the characters in his Netflix animated series Karma’s World, musician, actor, and philanthropist Chris “Ludacris” Bridges’s debut picture book showcases the special bond between a Black father and his daughter. Karma and her dad love making music together; they’re the perfect team. But for his birthday, Karma decides to go solo on a special rap that’s just for him.

Duck, Duck, Dad?

Lorna Scobie. Holt, $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-82273-4. Ages 4–8.

Ralph, a red- and black-haired terrier, is unexpectedly thrust into fatherhood when a quiet walk takes him past a series of eggs from which dozens of ducklings simultaneously hatch, imprinting on the hapless canine. At first, Ralph has no idea how to care for his demanding new charges, but he gives the task his all. After a mallard arrives to claim ownership of Ralph’s clutch, trading him for a “flock” of puppies, the creatures embrace a broad, inclusive definition of family.


Girl Dad

Sean Williams, illus. by Jay Davis. HarperCollins, $18.99 ISBN 978-0-06-311363-3. Ages 4–8.

What is a “girl dad”? Williams, CEO of the Dad Gang—an organization committed to building a global community among Black fathers—offers a definition with rhythmic prose: “He’s not afraid to be en pointe/ or to paint your fingernails.// He volunteers to do your makeup/ your braids, and your ponytails!” Together, text and art build to a fatherly portrait that simultaneously embraces and expands upon traditional dad tropes.


Juna and Appa

Jane Park, illus. by Felicia Hoshino. Lee & Low, $19.95 ISBN 978-1-64379-227-9. Ages 4–8.

A girl goes on a series of imaginary adventures with unique fathers from the natural world in this captivating follow-up to Juna’s Jar. Juna enjoys helping her Appa at the family’s dry cleaning shop, but when an expensive garment goes missing, she’s instructed to sit still. Though the child attempts to comply, daydreaming repeatedly brings her face-to-face with different animal dads. While none of the interactions locate the missing item, they do remind Juna of the bond she shares with Appa—a caring connection that helps the pair transcend the day’s stresses.


My Dad Is a Grizzly Bear

Swapna Haddow, illus. by Dapo Adeola. Red Comet, $17.99 ISBN 978-1-63655-011-4. Ages 4–8.

The child narrator persuasively argues that “my dad is a grizzly bear” in this family-oriented picture book. The evidence appears overwhelming: Dad has fur that “scratches and scritches,” a taste for honey, and an aptitude for napping “anywhere, any place.” Portrayed as a beast in human clothing, Dad is pictured catching a fish in his mouth at the table and climbing a tree to rescue a soccer ball. But the most important proof arrives during a family camping trip, when a scary story about a grizzly bear requires Dad to swoop in and comfort with “the biggest, warmest, best ever bear hug!”


My Dad, My Rock

Victor D. O. Santos, illus. by Anna Forlati. Linguacious, $23.99 ISBN 978-1-64962-122-1. Ages 4–8.

Santos offers a poignant picture of multigenerational fatherhood in this tender tribute. Via first-person narration, a child reveals that neither he nor his dad ever met his grandfather, but “if I could meet my grandpa, this is what I would tell him.” The child then offers examples of his dad as “my rock”—a playmate, teacher, comforter, and role model, interspersing Dad’s lessons throughout. Final images of the child, grown, partnered, and with children, reveal the way the pair’s bond reverberates through time.


My Hero

Brian Biggs. Dial, $18.99 ISBN 978-0-525-55338-0. Ages 4–8.

Biggs flips the script on classic father-daughter tales with this standout book, which casts “gallant girl of greatness” Abigail, aka Awesome Girl, as a hero who comes to her dad’s aid. Biggs’s lively storytelling and polychromatic mixed-media illustrations are simultaneously action-packed and emotionally complex, making this an ideal book for budding superheroes.


Papa Loves You, Tiny Blue

Jo Empson. WorthyKids, $17.99 ISBN 978-1-5460-0221-5. Ages 3–6.

A small blue penguin’s adulation for his father propels this dialogue-driven story for the marine-inclined. Fairy penguin Tiny Blue demonstrates an unwavering faith in his father’s wisdom, asking ceaseless questions about the oceanic world around them. Papa’s patient replies offer instruction for Tiny Blue and readers. When seals arrive on the scene, a brief moment of suspense provides an opening for Tiny Blue’s questions to build in seriousness, creating a fittingly profound conclusion that foregrounds the attachment between father and young: “Will you always keep me safe?” and “What is love?”


Rafa Counts on Papá

Joe Cepeda. Little, Brown, $17.99 ISBN 978-0-316-54089-6. Ages 4–8.

Cepeda offers a STEM-inspired spin on the connection between a father and son in this appealing, measurement-oriented picture book. Rafa and his papá like to know “exactly how much,” whether it’s the length of Rafa’s toy train, the distance they can run “in twenty-two minutes,” or the height that their dog, Euclid, can jump. When Rafa, surrounded by rulers and an abacus, wonders, “Wait! What about love?/ Can we measure that?” it’s a segue to the more specific math problem of how to quantify his papá’s devotion.


See our roundup of 2022 titles celebrating mothers here.