Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day: Books with Great Dads

It's Father's Day! Started in 1910 in Washington State, it didn't become an official holiday until 1972, 58 years after Mother's Day did. Poor dads.

Here are some books with some pretty great dads:


The First Part Last by Angela Johnson. Alternating between then and now, Bobby tells us of his girlfriend's teen pregnancy and how he is raising the infant as a single teen father. Bobby's family is supportive, but it's up to Bobby to raise Feather, to balance sleepless nights and diaper changes with school, and his fading hopes for college. The second in a trilogy of companion novels, readers don't have to start with Heaven, but will want to pick it up after reading Bobby's story. It

Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan. When Blake's friend Marissa sees his photography homework, she's stunned. The passed out junkie is her mother. Marissa needs her friend Blake to help her find her mom. Blake wants to be a good friend, but he also has obligations to his actual girlfriend. Marissa's mother isn't going to win Parent of the Year, but Blake's parents are pretty cool, especially his dad.

The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Alice's mother died when she was very young, so Alice's dad has been raising her and Lester on his own, and doing a pretty good job of it. This long-running series covers some pretty heady topics, and Alice has lots of questions. While Naylor often uses Alice's dad and brother as a mouthpiece for info-dumping of GOOD INFO FOR TEENS TO KNOW, he's still answering all of her questions, even the crazy-super awkward ones.


Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn. Cyd Charisse has been kicked out of her posh boarding school and returns home to generally sulk and stomp around angrily. She eventually gets what she wants-- to go to New York to stay with Frank-dad, her biological father and her half-siblings. Frank-dad's not the greatest, but Cyd's stepfather, Sid-dad, is the greatest and as we discover the backstory of Cyd's parents and siblings, he just gets that much better. Sid-dad is awesome. The first in a series, follow it with Shrimp

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow. Lydia and Julie want to be popular when they start junior high, so they decide to do some research now-- by observing the popular girls at their school, they'll learn their secret, right? Of course, it all goes hilariously wrong. Lydia's dad is not in the picture, but Julie's Papa and Daddy do a great job with both girls-- the perfect blend of supportive and oh-so-very-embarrassing. Follow it with The Long-Distance Dispatch Between Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. Maisie's a detective in inter-war London, working on her first case to see if a woman is cheating on her husband. As she unravels the mystery, we get her backstory of how she grew up poor and through education and patronage was able to cross class lines. Maisie's dad wins because of the number of sacrifices he made to give her so many opportunities, and by making a point to stay in her life when he could have so easily faded away. Their relationship strains when class differences come between them, but they work to overcome them. Published for adults, teens enjoy this series. Follow it with Birds of a Feather.


Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Lola's not sure what's going on now that Cricket Bell has moved back in next door. When her birth mother shows up, things are harder. Lola's birth mother isn't getting any awards, but her dads certainly are. They're funny, supportive, and protective when needed.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. Ever since the Days of the Unspeakable, when the royal family was murdered and Lumatere cursed, Finnikin has been roaming the neighboring kingdoms, checking on the refugees. His father, head of the Royal Guard, has been a prisoner. Guys, Trevanion is gruff and rough, but so wonderful. So wonderful. The first in a trilogy, follow it with Froi of the Exiles.

My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger. Told in three voices-- TC, his best friend Augie, and the new girl, Ale. They tell the story of their freshman year, of Mary Poppins, and the Red Sox, as they and their family find love and acceptance. TC's mother died when he was a kid, and he and his father are VERY close. His dad may overdo it sometimes (especially with the school projects) but it's great. Augie's dad is also great, and I love that Kluger includes the conversations the two have about their sons, and parenting issues and questions.

Who are your favorite book dads?

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1 comment:

  1. These are a great bunch of books featuring great dads. One I would add is Forever Changes by Brendan Halpin. I also thought the dad in K.L. Going's Fat Kid Rules the World was a good guy even though he was also a hard-ass.



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