Happy Father’s Day! Growing up, my dad was the designated bedtime reader. He patiently tucked us in, squeezed in with us on the bed and read us story after story. I distinctly remember that he would fall asleep first and when I would wake him up to finish the book, he’d insist he wasn’t sleeping, just “resting his eyes.”
My Dad is a man of habit. He likes the same thing for breakfast. He likes to listen to the same song (over and over and over again). He likes to pack the same thing in our school lunch bags (I still can’t eat dried apricots to this day). And he liked to read the same picture books to me at night. Luckily, that was something we both agreed on! A good story is one that can be read again and again.
Dad was a Seuss fan. We had copies of all of his picture books, which are now now so well-loved they’re carefully held together with brown packaging tape. His favorite (or my favorite? It’s hard to tell) was I Had Trouble In Getting to Solla Sollew. He would always read it in the exact same way with the same cadences in his voice as he went through the sing-songy verse. He even had little sound effects he’d always do at certain points, like when the character fell down (ba-wee-boom!). To this day, I can’t read this book without hearing my father’s voice in my head and I’m reminded how a book can really connect a father and daughter, even if it’s just a few pages before “resting your eyes.”
Do you fathers out there have a special book that you read to your children at night? Or do you remember a book that you shared with your dad? For new dads, below is a small list of terrific picture books that highlight those special father-child relationships.
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle (Simon & Schuster, 1986)
Some fathers will do anything for their children. In this book Eric Carle dedicated to his own daughter, Monica’s papa has promised to get her the moon. Papa goes to great lengths (accentuated by Eric Carle’s delightful fold-out pages) to get the moon for his daughter. Eric Carle plays with size and expectations in this beautifully illustrated book that makes a perfect bedtime book for a father to share with his child.
Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle (Penguin, 2004)
Mister Seahorse is a very caring father. Unlike many other wild animals, male seahorses carry and care for their eggs, instead of the mother. With Eric Carle’s classic bright colors and fun hide-and-seek transparent pages, readers learn about seahorse and the many undersea wildlife whose fathers play an important role in the upbringing of their babies.
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems (Hyperion, 2004)
The beloved story of a well-intentioned, but clueless dad who makes good in the end by reuniting a lost stuffed animal with his very distraught daughter.
Every Friday by Dan Yaccarino (Henry Holt & Co, 2007)
A father and son relish the day each week when they get to spend time together, just the two of them. Inspired by the weekly breakfast tradition author Dan Yaccarino shares with his own son.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr (Philomel Books, 1087)
The poetic and soothing text of this Caldecott-winning picture book is a tribute to the special, quiet moments shared between a child and father, when out late at night looking for owls.
Share with us some of your favorite father-child books in the comments. Happy Father’s Day!