From a father and son who cross the Mexico-US border to a haiku story told by a father-son duo, our top picks celebrate father figures and other valuable family relationships.
1. La Frontera
Written by Alfredo Alva and Deborah Mills, and illustrated by Claudia Navarro
Based on a true story! Join a young boy and his father on an arduous journey from Mexico to the United States in the 1980s to find a new life. They’ll need all the courage they can muster to safely cross the border — la frontera — and to make a home for themselves in a new land. Inspired by the childhood immigration experience of co-author Alfredo Alva, this story of perseverance is told in both Spanish and English to empower language-learning. Includes 4 pages of endnotes that unpack facts about Alfredo’s story and other stories like his. Learn how to talk to children about immigration, resilience, empathy and belonging.
2. Family Reunion
Written by Chad and Dad Richardson and illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin
Written by a father-son duo! In this contemporary tale, a boy is reluctant to go to his family reunion, which he’s sure will be boring. Vivid, poetic language and rich illustrations bring readers along for the boy's emotional journey, as he ultimately finds himself enjoying the large and joyous gathering in spite of himself. This modern kid’s-eye view depiction of a Black American extended family celebrates the importance of kinship and intergenerational ties.
3. Baby’s First Words
Written by Stella Blackstone and Sunny Scribens, and illustrated by Christiane Engel
Learn over 100 early vocabulary words with a toothy toddler and her two dads! Cheerful acrylic illustrations and digital collage artwork will keep little eyes glued to the pages, searching for the silly woolly mammoth on each one. Designed to support babies' natural pattern of language development, this first word book for the modern world reflects the earliest nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives and interjections that children learn to say. It’s also available in Spanish and bilingual Spanish-English.
4. Grandpa’s Garden
Written by Stella Fry and illustrated by Sheila Moxley
This beautifully told story follows Billy from early spring to late summer as he helps his grandpa on his vegetable patch. They dig the hard ground, sow rows of seeds, and keep them watered and safe from slugs. When harvest time arrives, they can pick all the vegetables and fruit they have grown. Children will be drawn in by the poetry of the language and the warm illustrations, while also catching the excitement of watching things grow! Includes educational endnotes on gardening throughout the year.
5. The Beeman
Written by Laurie Krebs and illustrated by Valeria Cis
Find out where honey comes from as Grandpa the Beeman teaches the basics of beekeeping to his young grandson. This rhyming story includes 7 pages of educational endnotes full of essential facts about bees, beekeeping, honey and the vital part that bees play in the natural world.
6. Undies, Please!
Written by Sumana Seebourth and illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin
Motivated by new undies and Daddy’s support, a relatable toddler adorably navigates the excitement and challenges of learning to use the potty. Age-appropriate language and engaging illustrations make this simple and sweet story a perfect potty training support for little ones.
7. The Bread Pet
Written by Kate DePalma and illustrated by Nelleke Verhoeff
Cora is thrilled when her Uncle JB visits! She promises to keep his Bread Pet alive but didn’t anticipate its exponential growth. She needs to come up with a solution — and fast! This whimsical STEM story of family, creativity and community will inspire young makers to experiment and share their gifts with others. Includes sourdough starter recipe and sourdough bread recipe.
8. Lola’s Fandango
Written by Anna Witte, illustrated by Micha Archer and narrated by The Amador Family
A heart-warming story about a father-daughter bond! Little Lola is tired of living in her big sister’s shadow. But when she starts taking secret flamenco lessons from her Papi, will she find the courage to share her new skill with the world? Includes notes on Spanish vocabulary at the end. Recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats Award Honor and listed among Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year.