Dads are great. They fix broken toys, sing silly songs, and open our eyes to the wonders of the world around us. But most of all, they give us lots of love. Celebrate the fabulous fathers in your life with this selection of favorite books for kids ages 0-9.

 

Big Jimmy’s Kum Kau Chinese Take Out
By: Ted Lewin
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
After a busy day at his family’s Chinese take-out restaurant in Brooklyn, the young narrator enjoys his favorite dinner: pizza! Lewin’s highly realistic watercolor illustrations show the bustle, the food, and the way the boy works with his family.

Guess How Much I Love You
By: Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram
Illustrated by: Anita Jeram
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
This is a great bedtime story for reading with your children or, in my case, my grandchildren. This lovely book has become a reference point for expressing our love for one another. Sometimes, Alexis says “I love you all the way up to my toes.” And, sometimes, Kasie says “I love you right up to the moon.” And sometimes I say “I love you right up to the moon… and back.”

How Many Stars in the Sky?
By: Lenny Hort, James Ransome
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
When a boy can’t sleep, he and his father drive out to the country, away from the city lights. There they try to count the stars. Lush paintings show the warmth of the evening and the loving relationship between father and son.

Just the Two of Us
By: Will Smith, Kadir Nelson
Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Jubilant illustrations show how a father supports his son as he grows into a man and eventually becomes a father himself. The text is from Will Smith’s popular song of the same name, and is distinguished by luminous, full-color paintings that make the words sing.

My Dad
By: Anthony Browne
Illustrated by: Anthony Browne
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Though he’s pretty ordinary looking (and wears a truly ugly bathrobe), the narrator’s dad can get rid of the Big Bad Wolf and sing like a professional. Most important though, the narrator knows that his dad loves him and he loves his dad! The illustrations are filled with the child’s hyperbole, making the metaphors jump off the page. Also available in Spanish.

My Daddy and I
By: Eloise Greenfield, Jan Spivey Gilchrest
Illustrated by: Jan Spivey Gilchrest, Eloise Greenfield
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader
A boy and his father, shown as African Americans in warmly hued illustrations, enjoy doing everyday activities together, from laundry to sharing a book and more. The simple pleasures of family life are conveyed affectionately through easy but flowing language and realistic paintings in a sturdy format.

My Daddy and Me
By: Jerry Spinelli, Seymour Chwast
Illustrated by: Seymour Chwast
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
A young pup expresses the joy he and his dad share when his dad comes home from work. The energetic duo do lots of things together, from cooking to fixing things. Young readers will empathize with the boy and his dad who are shown as charming floppy-eared dogs in the animated illustrations.

Night Worker
By: Kate Banks
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
On most nights, Alex stays in bed while Papa goes off to work. But on this special night, Alex puts on a small red hard hat as his father puts on his big yellow one, and together they go out to the construction site where Papa works and bedtime is put off until morning. Richly hued paintings evoke the nighttime setting of this loving story.

Owl Moon
By: Jane Yolen, John Schoenherr
Illustrated by: John Schoenherr
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
A father and daughter go out “owling” on a cold, snow-filled evening with only moonlight to guide them. An introduction by the author to this edition opens the now-classic, luminously illustrated story in which hope “…flies on silent wings under a shining Owl Moon.”

Ramona and Her Father
By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Ramona deals with her father’s job loss, her mom’s return to work, and the normal trials of second grade in her own unique and very funny fashion. Her campaign to get her father to stop smoking is both a humorous and a very Ramona way to show her love for him.

So Much
By: Trish Cooke
Illustrated by: Helen Oxenbury
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
With each “ding dong!” of the door bell, another relative joins Mom and the baby to play and enjoy each other until the last arrival when the celebration really begins. The extended family who loves Baby SO MUCH celebrates Daddy’s birthday.

The Daddy Book
By: Todd Parr
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Bright, child-like illustrations and a straightforward text invite readers to take a look at what daddies do. They work, they teach their children different things, and they love to “hug and kiss you!” Its companion, The Mommy Book, is equally appealing.

Visiting Day
By: Jacqueline Woodson, James Ransome
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
A girl and her grandmother prepare to visit the girl’s father by packing a big lunch then boarding a bus. The joyful reunion takes place in a prison, emphasizing the love between a father and his daughter. Notes from both the author and illustrator complete this book.

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