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Dad-Approved: Books for and about Dads

Dad Approved

Father's Day is Sunday. You know what Dad really enjoys? The perfect book. We've compiled a list of books below that will definitely whet your dad's whistle, no matter his interests. Whether it covers one of his hobbies, provides inspirational messages, or gives father and child a chance to read together, these books are a perfect complement to a perfect Father's Day.

Books for Dad


Splendid Vile

The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson

If your dad enjoys sitting quietly in an easy chair and reading another book about military history, this book is for him. Larson perfectly encapsulates the trials and tribulations of Winston Churchill and England during the first year of the London Blitz.


Playing with Fire

Michael Symon’s Playing with Fire, by Michael Symon

What is Dad’s favorite social distancing hobby? If it’s smoking meat and grilling, he's going to love Playing with Fire. Barbecue chef Michel Symon provides recipes for ribs, brisket, burnt ends, and more. He also offers guidance on different barbecue styles and tips to make meat as tender as possible.


How to Build a Boat

How to Build a Boat, by Jonathan Gornall

When Jonathan Gornall’s daughter was born, he had the urge to build her something with his own hands. Thus began a journey that he recalls in this memoir. How to Build a Boat celebrates the simple pleasure of crafting something from nothing and the aspirations and glory of new fatherhood.



Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, by Michael Chabon

When novelist Michael Chabon took his teenage son to Paris Men’s Fashion Week, he expected to be bored. However, he quickly became enamored watching his son express his passion for fashion. Using that as a backdrop, Pops is a collection of heartfelt essays from Chabon about what fatherhood really means.


Black Fortunes

Black Fortunes, by Shomari Wills

Wills tells the story of six black men and women emerged out of the horrors of slavery and segregation to develop large amounts of wealth. Black Fortunes details both the ways they gained financial success and how they used their wealth to fight for abolition, civil rights, and racial equality.


Mastering Homebrew

Mastering Homebrew, by Randy Mosher

A cold beverage tastes even better when you’ve crafted it with your own hands. If dad has shown an interest in yeast and hops, this book is a wonderful way to learn the science of brewing. It’s great for beginners, advanced brewers, and even dads who just want to be the "fun fact" kings.


Being a Dad is Weird

Being a Dad Is Weird: Lessons in Fatherhood from My Family to Yours, by Ben Falcone

A funny and intimate look at fatherhood from the actor and writer/director of The Boss and Tammy that combines stories about his own larger-than-life dad and how his experiences raising two daughters with his wife, Melissa McCarthy, are shaped by his own childhood.


Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments

Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments, by Mike Adamick

Spend Father’s Day exploding soap and launching rockets! This book has 30 interactive experiments that are fun and hands-on for all ages in your family. If Dad is always hearing the question “But, why?”, these colorful experiments will help provide all the answers.


Life is a Party

Life is a Party, by David Burtka

Does Dad like being the life of the party? Here’s a book to soothe his party blues during social distancing. Burtka has 106 recipes and 16 party themes to help throw the best shindig ever. It’ll keep Dad’s mind percolating for ideas when the post-pandemic world arrives.


Let Love have the Last Word

Let Love have the Last Word, by Common

Grammy Award-winning rapper Common shares stories from his life, writing about being a better father to his daughter and the present-day issues of race and politics. Brave and authentic, Let Love have the Last Word is a call to action to open hearts and minds.


A Lucky Man

A Lucky Man, by Jamel Brinkley

Brinkley tells nine short stories about black fathers and sons attempting to salvage relationships with friends, families, and each other. These tales reflect the tenderness and vulnerability men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them, especially in a world where luck may be the greatest fiction of all.


Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James

Part-history, part-mythology, part Afro-futurism, Black Leopard, Red Wolf kicks off a trilogy in a land full of shape-shifters, unusual characters, and dense mysteries. If Dad is a fan of books that include magic, expansive worlds, and breathless adventures, he's going to love this.


Mamba Mentality

The Mamba Mentality, by Kobe Bryant

Future Hall-of-Famer Kobe Bryant had plenty of stories from his time on the court. In Mamba Mentality, he took readers on a journey over his playing years, detailing the approach that won him five NBA championships. In the wake of his passing this past spring, Mamba Mentality remembers Kobe’s legacy.


Books About Dad

I Love Dad with the Very Hungry Caterpillar

I Love Dad with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

This bright and colorful book is the ideal way to tell the person you call "Dad" how much you appreciate him. It's the perfect book to cuddle up together with on the couch for Father's Day.


Hair Love

Hair Love, by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison

Zuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to loving your natural hair -- and a celebration of daddies and daughters everywhere.


Mi Papi Tiene Una Moto

My Papi Has a Motorcycle/Mi Papi Tiene una Moto, by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña

When Daisy Ramona zooms around her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she's always known. But she can tell things are changing. 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 Two Dads and Me

My Two Dads and Me, by Michael Joosten and Izak Zenou

Celebrate both Pride and Father’s Day with this delightful board book. My Two Dads and Me follows busy dads and their kids throughout the day, while eating breakfast, getting dressed, and heading to the park. It’s a cheerful and fun book that wraps up like most nights do – with a good night lullaby.


Cómo sorprender tu papa

How to Surprise a Dad/Cómo Sorprender a tu Papá, by Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish

What’s the best way to make Dad happy? This book is full of tips and tricks! Kids that read this book will learn about yummy treats and presents for Dad, what to do if he gets suspicious about a surprise, and how to prepare for a big moment, including hiding and practicing your “Surprise!”


Dad and the Dinosaur

Dad and the Dinosaur, by Gennifer Choldenko and Dan Santat

Nicholas is afraid of so many things – the ark, bugs, and even manhole covers. His toy dinosaur helps guide him through those fears. When he loses his dinosaur, though, he can’t help but be afraid. Thankfully, his dad his dad is there to tell him it’s OK to be afraid while helping Nicholas face his fears.


My Dad Used to Be So Cool

My Dad Used to be So Cool, by Keith Negley

My Dad Used to be So Cool 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.


My Daddy Rules the World

My Daddy Rules the World, by Hope Anita Smith

From guitar lessons and wrestling matches to haircuts in the kitchen and bedtime stories, My Daddy Rules the World is a collection of children’s poems that capture the strength and beauty of the relationship between father and child.


Little Wolf's First Howling

Little Wolf’s First Howling, by Laura McGee Kvasnosky and Kate Harvey McGee

Little Wolf can hardly wait. Tonight, he howls at the moon for the first time. When Big Wolf demonstrates the proper howl, Little Wolf gives it a go. But then, something unexpected happens – he has not a howl, but a song! Little Wolf’s First Howling is a funny tale for little and big wolves everywhere.


If My Love Were a Fire Truck

If My Love Were a Fire Truck: A Daddy’s Love Song, by Luke Reynolds and Jeff Mack

Together, a father and his son are 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. If My Love Were a Fire Truck is a rhyming love song that will become a cherished part of their lives for many years to come.


Jabari Salta

Jabari Jumps/Jabari Salta, by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. Definitely. But when dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.


It’s Great Being a Dad

It’s Great Being a Dad, by Dan Bar-el and Gina Perry

A gang of mythical creatures is roaming around a magical land having a great time, until Bigfoot, Unicorn, and Robot's find themselves in trouble. But have no fear! Dad is there to fix things! It’s Great Being a Dad is a celebration of the best kind of dad – the kind that’s willing to join in the fun.


Things to Do with Dad

Things to Do with Dad, by Sam Zuppardi

A morning of fun with Dad takes a turn for the boring when a long to-do list interferes. At first content to let Dad cross things off his list, the boy in the story soon realizes that the whole day will be spent on chores, unless he can come up with a solution. Make up your own text in this nearly wordless book!

Published on June 12, 2020
Last Modified September 27, 2020