Celebrate dad and make bedtime extra special this June 21 with a read-aloud of one of these dad-centric children books perfect for Father's Day.

By Jamie Pacton and Editors at Parents
Updated June 05, 2020
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Illustration by Francesca Spatola; Photos Courtesy of Amazon (4)

Years ago on my husband's first Father's Day, I got him a picture book about a dad and a son. He read it so many times to our kids, we ended up re-buying it twice. Since then, buying books for my husband and kids to share has become a beloved Father's Day tradition. So, I wanted to share some of our favorite Father's Day picture books, plus a few more picks from fellow parents, so you can start your own gift ritual to celebrate dad.

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I love the book Dad School so much because it reminds me of my own dad telling me he graduated from a place called Dad School. I totally believed him, and, like the child in this story, I was convinced my dad learned to make ice cream sundaes, tell silly stories, fix any owie, and much more at the mysterious and amazing Dad School. This book is funny, charming, and definitely a great way to get kids chatting about all the things Mom and Dad know.

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Prepare to laugh out loud when you read Beard in a Box. The premise is clever: A young boy wants to be good at everything like this dad, and he figures dad's powers come from his beard. So he sends away for Beard in a Box, a product guaranteed to produce results (in just a few years). You'll love the story, but be sure to read the back cover blurbs from other bearded folk like Santa, Abe Lincoln, Che Guevara, and more. Hilarious.

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I Don't Want to Be a Frog is a cute new take on the story of a child wanting to be something he or she's not. In this case, a malcontent frog dreams of being a pig, owl, and many other creatures, but thanks to the good guidance of her dad, she finally realizes how great it is to be a frog.

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In A Brave Bear, two bears wander into the woods on a hot, hot day, headed towards the river. On the way, the small bear finds adventure, falls down, gets back up, and eventually the bears end up at the river. This is a perfect snuggle-up story that will have you and your kids dreaming of summertime adventures.

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Well, of course, every dad is a superhero, and Superhero Dad is a shout out to all the super things dads do. Scaring monsters away, making elaborate breakfasts, tossing his kids high in the air—a superhero dad can do anything and this book will prove it!

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As I read I'll Never Let You Go to my son, he pulled me into a tight hug and snuggled close. With its sweet poetry and affirmations of care and love, it could work for either mom and dad. It's one of our favorite snuggle books, and it would be a great Father's Day gift for any dad to share with his kids.

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Written by the same author as I'll Never Let You GoI Love you Night and Day is another poetic story of love through all sorts of situations. It's an adorable story that offers an easy way to tell your kids all about how much you love them.

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Introducing Teddy is indeed a gentle story and a surprising one. Written when the author's father transitioned and became a woman, it tells the story of a teddy bear who changes gender. While the subject is non-traditional, perhaps especially for a Father's Day gift, it does offer a wonderful way to talk to your kids about gender.

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Dad's First Day will release a bit after this year's Father's Day (it's available July 7, 2016), but it's still a perfect story for dad to read to the kids. My kids cracked up at the switcheroo that happens in this story as the dad hides behind the couch, worries, and does everything in his power to not take his son to school.

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Again, Rex releases a bit after Father's Day 2016 (it's available July 12), but it's a great gift for any dad and especially perfect for kids who love dinosaurs. This story of a fierce T. Rex who adopts a smaller Rex, and teaches him everything he knows, will definitely make you smile (and perhaps ROAR a bit, too!).

More Parent-Approved Picks

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“It was one of my favorites growing up, and it made me wish my dad was a poacher and we could concoct and execute such an ambitious revenge scheme together.”—Oliver Jeffers, author and illustrator of What We’ll Build

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“This story of a father and son who eat breakfast at their favorite diner every week embraces the beauty of how habits can turn into traditions. As a parent, I can relate. I go to a diner with my wife and kids every Sunday for breakfast.” —Dan Santat, illustrator of Little Fox and the Wild Imagination

Jamie Pacton lives in the Pacific Northwest where she writes middle grade and young adult fiction, drinks loads of coffee, dreams of sailing, and enjoys each day with her husband and two sons. Find her at www.jamiepacton.com

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