Father’s Day Readings

I thought this Father’s Day would be a nice  time to ask some of the men involved in the world of children’s literature to recommend books to fathers, particularly new fathers. I didn’t ask any of them if they are fathers themselves. I think their careers indicate a devotion to young people and makes them father figures to our community, excellent people to ask about books for dads. I simply asked them to recommend one book -only one book- for a new dad and it could be a read aloud, a self help book for dads, or anything from which a new dad might benefit. Please, feel free to add your suggestions in the comment section.


Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Associate Professor, University of Alabama SLIS; vice president/president-elect of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Jamie has served as an elementary school library media specialist and also held various positions  public libraries including head of youth (children’s and young adult) services. His writing includes  Diversity Programming for Digital Youth: Promoting Cultural Competence in the Children’s Library, A World of Rainbow Families: Children’s Books and Media with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Themes from around the Globe, Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors Through Reading (with  Dr. Sarah Dahlen Park) and Once upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish.

Jamie recommends: The Daddy Book by Todd Parr (Little, Brown Books; paperback 2010)


Ed Spicer (@@spicyreads) retired from teaching first grade in the summer of 2016 and hopes to publish his own writing. He’s the kind of educator you’d want your children to have. Ed  has served on the Caldecott award committee, the Printz Award committee and several other committees with the American Library Association. He is a Cool Teacher winner in Michigan.

Ed recommends: My Daddy Rules the World by Hope Anita Smith


My Daddy Rules the World by Hope Anita Smith It is brand new and perfect for new fathers everywhere!

Jason Low, publisher at Lee & Low

Jason recommends In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall by Folami Abiade (Author), Dinah Johnson (Author), Carole Boston Weatherford (Author), Dakari Hru (Author), Michael Burgess (Author), E. Ethelbert Miller (Author), Lenard D. Moore (Author), David Anderson (Author), Angela Johnson (Author), Sonia Sanchez (Author), Davida Adedjouma (Author), Javaka Steptoe (Author, Illustrator) (Lee & Low, paperback 2013)


 “ I’m going to recommend In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall. The book’s poems and message are timelessly universal. It conveys the importance and challenges of being a father. The art sincerely illustrates the seriousness of fatherhood and the joy of having the privilege of raising a family. It is Javaka Steptoe’s first book and he just won a Caldecott Medal.”

Varian Johnson is a prolific and accomplished author of middle grade and young adult books. This year, he’ll release To Catch a Cheat: A Jackson Greene Novel and The Wildcat’s Claw (Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts, Book 6). His young adult novels include My Life as a Rhombus and Saving Maddie and in 2018, it will be The Parker Inheritance. As important as writing and speaking are to Varian, his children are clearly #1 with him. Keep up with his latest appearances by following his blog.

Varian checked through his children’s collection of books and immediately identified Monday is One Day by Arthur A. Levine and Julian Hector (Scholastic, paperback 2015) as his recommendation.


Mike Jung is the author of Geeks, Girls & Secret Identities (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, 2012) and Unidentified Suburban Object (Arthur A Levine; Scholastic; 2016)

Mike recommends We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anchor Books, 2015)


“I have a daughter and a son. The equality of their importance to me, our family, and the world is not a question at all, but I’m also aware of how deeply I’ve internalized the world’s endlessly repeated and horribly destructive message that identifying as female means identifying as inferior. It’s always been my responsibility as a human being to stand up to the forces of sexism and misogyny. Reading We Should All Be Feminists reminds me that fatherhood opens new dimensions of responsibility in that effort.”

Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. He is also one of the founding hosts of the blog The Brown Bookshelf – a blog designed to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers, with book reviews, author and illustrator interviews. In August, he’ll release More about Strong As Sandow: How Eugen Sandow Became The Strongest Man On Earth (Charlesbridge).  Don frequently speaks at schools, public libraries and conferences and festivals and he has time for his own blog! He and his family live in Texas.

Don recommends: My Daddy Rules the World by Hope Anita Smith.


“Loved it! It’s told from the perspective of a variety of children about their dads–boys, girls, great diversity, including biracial kids.”

Daniel José Older (@djolder) is the New York Times bestselling author of Salsa Nocturna, the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series from Penguin’s Roc Books and the Young Adult novel Shadowshaper (Scholastic, 2015), a New York Times Notable Book of 2015, which won the International Latino Book Award and was shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize in Young Readers’ Literature, the Andre Norton Award, the Locus, the Mythopoeic Award, and named one of Esquire’s 80 Books Every Person Should Read. You can find his thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic and hear his music at http://danieljoseolder.net/, on youtube and @djolder on twitter.

Daniel recommends Between the World and Me by Ta-Nahisi Coates.


Robert Lui-Trujillo is the author and illustrator of Furqan’s First Flat Top. He is a visual artist, father, and a husband who employs illustration, public art, and storytelling to tell tales.

Robert recommends Papa and Me by Arturo Dorros and Rudy Gutierrez (HarperCollins; paperback 2014)


I would say Papa and Me by Arturo Dorros and Rudy Gutierrez. It’s one of my favorite father focused books because it is a slice of life. It’s a day in the life. Although it certainly focuses on a Latino family the book is more about the relationship between the dad and son. It leaves a lot of room for breath and space which I love. And the illustrations by Rudy are magical!

Chris Barton (@bartography) was inspired to start writing by telling stories to his toddler son. In 2016, Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions (Charlesbridge) which he wrote and Don Tate illustrated was released in paperback. This year, Chris will release Mighty Truck: Muddymania! (illustrated by Tony Cummings; HarperCollins). When he’s not writing, reading, researching, or revising, he loves to cook, listen to music and podcasts, taking long walks and runs. I lives in Austin TX with his wife, author Jennifer Ziegler, four children and dog, Ernie.

Chris recommends The Big Orange Spot by Daniel Pinkwater (Scholastic)


Ernie Cox believes that having the ability to read, to be literate, is part of the foundation to participating and thriving in our society. He believes that we need to have productive, safe and honest conversations that deepen our commitment to diversity and inclusion. As part of this commitment, Ernie blogs at Reading While White. He is an active member of ALSC and ALA and a baseball fan. He, his wife and daughters currently live in Oklahoma.

Ernie recommends 1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective and Happy Parenting by Thomas Phelan (Sourcebooks, 2016)


“So many books but the one I would recommend is very pragmatic. As a new father I was struggling to provide consistent expectations and consequences that did not involve yelling or spanking (the things I experienced as a child). This book helped me grow as a father and begin to lay the groundwork for great relationships with my girls. 1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting

Sam Bloom (2sibloom24) is a chidlren’s librarian and family man who lives in Cincinnati, OH. He blogs at Reading While White and is active of Twitter and Facebook. I rarely see a photo of him without his children.

Sam recommends Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson (G.P. Putman’s Sons Books, 2015).


” I’ve actually been agonizing over my answer, but then I thought: honestly, it doesn’t matter what book Dad reads! It just matters that he reads to his child every day. But if I *had* to pick one book, I’d choose Last Stop on Market Street.”