20 picture books all about Dad in honor of Father's Day

What's better than a tie for Father's Day? These children's books that show Dad as a hero.
/ Source: TODAY
By Lisa Tolin

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Sure, you could give dad a tie. Or some golf balls, or grilling utensils, or whatever else dads seem to like.

But why not give him the joy of snuggling close for a read with his children? Picture books singing dad’s praises give him an intimate moment with his child, a love song across generations. (Or, some burp jokes. There are lots of those, too.)

Here are 20 books that are the perfect gift ideas for Father's Day.

  • 1. "Dandy," by Ame Dyckman and Charles Santoso, $9 (usually $18), Amazon

Daddy's lawn is perfect until a pesky dandelion appears and his daughter gets attached. In this funny tribute to a father's love, Daddy may need to change his idea of perfection.

  • 2. "Hair Love," by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison, $14 (usually $18), Amazon

Zuri's hair lets her have superpowers, but she'll need Daddy's help to get ready for a special day. A short feature film of the story was funded by a Kickstarter campaign seeking more diversity and hair love in animation.

  • 3. “Pet Dad,” by Elanna Allen, $12 (usually $17), Amazon

Dad does not want a pet, so Plum gets the only pet she can: Dad. He’s lots of fun, but the training is more complicated than she expected.

  • 4. “Dad By My Side,” by Soosh, $14 (usually $17), Amazon

With Dad by her side, this little girl can do anything. Tender illustrations show the special relationship between father and daughter.

  • 5. “Because I’m Your Dad,” by Ahmet Zappa, illustrated by Dan Santat, $8, Amazon

A great choice for the “cool Dad” — this monster from rocker Ahmet Zappa and rock star illustrator Dan Santat is a fan of drum sets, burping and spaghetti for breakfast.

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  • 6. “Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada,” by Jimmy Fallon, $7 (usually $8), Amazon

Join the whole animal kingdom in trying to get baby to say Dada in this debut from "The Tonight Show" host.

  • 7. "My Papi Has a Motorcycle," by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

When Daisy Ramona soars across asphalt with her Papi, she feels his love and explores their changing neighborhood.

  • 8. "The Dad Lab: 50 Awesome Science Projects for Parents and Kids," by Sergei Urban, $12 (usually $18), Amazon

Make slime, stand inside a giant bubble or produce your own electricity with these at-home experiments for families to try together.

  • 9. “My Dad Used to Be So Cool,” by Keith Negley, $13 (usually $18), Amazon

What could possibly have made Dad give up rock bands and motorcycles? Don’t worry, Dad’s still cool to his son.

  • 10. “Daddy, Papa and Me,” by Leslea Newman, Carol Thompson, $7, Amazon

Two dads means double the fun in this rhyming board book. Or check out these picture books that celebrate LGBTQ pride.

  • 11. “Drawn Together,” by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat, $15 (originally $18), Amazon

This one is for grandpas. A boy and his grandfather have trouble bridging their language gap, until they find a new way to communicate beyond words.

  • 12. "My Dad Is Amazing,” by Sabrina Moyle, illustrated by Eunice Moyle, $8, Amazon

Dad is tougher than a rhino wrestler and cuddlier than a ton of bunnies in this Technicolor board book for your littlest ones.

  • 13. “With My Daddy: A Book of Love and Family,” by Jo Witek, illustrated by Christine Roussey, $12 (usually $17), Amazon

This whimsical book from the creators of “In My Heart” takes a tour of emotions felt with dad, from excitement and adventure through calm reassurance. Chew-resistant pages make it good for little ones.

  • 14. “Raj and the Best Day Ever," by Sebastien Braun, $12 (usually $17), Amazon

Raj plans the best day ever with his Dad, but when Dad forgets his wallet, can super Raj save the day?

  • 15. “My Dad Is the Best Playground,” by Luciana Navarro Powell, $7, Amazon

Dad is the highest swing and a great climbing wall in this celebration of playful dads.

  • 16. “If I Didn’t Have You,” by Alan Katz, illustrated by Chris Robertson, $10 (usually $18), Amazon

What could a father and child do without each other? They entertain ideas of staying up late and using the child’s room for a personal butler, but each knows they’d rather have each other.

  • 17. "Daddy Depot," by Chana Stiefel and Andy Snair, $9 (originally $18), Amazon

When Lizzie sees an ad for Daddy Depot, she thinks she can find the dad of her dreams, but discovers the model she has isn't so bad.

  • 18. “Lawrence in the Fall," by Matthew Farina and Doug Salati, $12 (usually $17), Amazon

Lawrence doesn't know what to share for show-and-tell, but Papa has just the answer.

  • 19. “Tell Me a Tattoo Story,” by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, $14 (originally $17), Amazon

This tattooed dad has touching stories behind his ink, indelible illustrations of his love.

  • 20. “Be Glad Your Dad… Is Not an Octopus,” by Matthew Logelin and Sara Jensen, Jared Chapman, $10 (usually $17), Amazon

Your dad might be perfect, but at least he’s not a dung beetle (who would pile poop in your room). This funny take on animal dads has fun animal facts for kids.

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