It’s Father’s Day this weekend and that means celebrating all things dad! We have some fantastic books exploring what it means to be a ‘dad’.
Phil Earle celebrates how we idolise our dads in Superdad’s Day Off, a Little Gems story for early readers packed with superhero action! As Stanley’s dad is the much-loved superhero Dynamo Dan, he never gets to spend enough time with him. When Stanley’s mum orders Dad to take a day off work, Stanley will stop at nothing to make sure that their day out to the park goes as smoothly as possible … even if this means taking over the superhero tasks himself! While his dad is too busy trying to keep his eyes open after a busy week of work, Stanley is saving the day all by himself, with his eyes on the prize of a go on the swings and a treat from the ice cream van…
A fantastically funny story that echoes the love we have for our dads, Superdad’s Day Off is heartwarming and hilarious, relatable to kids and parents alike.
Superdad’s Day Off is one of the best … it takes an all-too-familiar situation and twists it into a fun and family-centric story, with lovely messages of empathy and love as son supports parent
But not everyone has a father and today we’re celebrating grandfathers too – they’re double the dad! Jonathan Meres also offers something special in our Little Gems series in Grandpa was an Astronaut, as Sherman and his grandpa spend an afternoon playing at being in space and taking a rocket to the moon. It’s a beautiful snapshot of this unique relationship and definitely one that will pull at the heartstrings – the perfect tale for your little reader to share with their wonderful grandfather.
But sometimes our relationships with our fathers can be tricky, particularly as we grow older. Here we look at a couple of our titles for teenagers and young adults.
The Family Tree by the late Mal Peet is a beautiful, poignant exploration of the more complex side of families, and specifically that fathers are only human. Benjamin returns to his beloved childhood home as an adult, and relives the breakdown of his parents’ marriage through older, more experienced eyes. Realising that not everything was quite what it seemed at the time, Benjamin’s memories take on a new, bittersweet tinge.
A more serious read for a YA audience, The Family Tree doesn’t sugarcoat the trials and tribulations that families can face. But Benjamin’s wander down memory lane still allows appreciation for the good times, and Emma Shoard’s evocative and sensitive artwork brings a beautiful sense of nostalgia and warmth to his journey. (You can read more about Emma’s work on this book here.)
More complex family setups are explored in Annabel Pitcher’s YA novella The Last Days of Archie Maxwell. When Archie discovers that his parents are getting a divorce and his father is beginning a relationship with another man, he begins to question everything he thought he knew about his family life.
Archie and his father have always been really close, and this news hits him hard – has he ever really known his dad? Dealing with homophobic ‘friends’ at school puts pressure on Archie to keep this secret as close to his chest as possible, and prevents him from working through his feelings. How will Archie come to terms with his ‘new’ dad, and accept the changes to his once perfect family setup?
In a nutshell: beautifully written story of life, love and growing up
Ultimately, Archie learns that fathers are people too and that his dad is still the same dad he’s always known and loved. Annabel Pitcher writes beautifully about nuanced family relationships, and the lesson we all go through as we grow up and realise that adults – and especially our parents – are just as human as we are.
Whatever shape your family may take and through all the ups-and-downs they will go through, we hope this Father’s Day can be a happy one and a celebration of the person in your life who encapsulates everything ‘dad’.
Happy Father’s Day!