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Books for All Kinds of Dads!

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • June 12, 2019

What kind of dad do you have?

For Father's Day, we celebrate the amazing diversity of dad-dom. As society evolves, the portrait of what it is to be a father grows more nuanced. Modern dads might be breadwinners or they may stay home with kids. They might coach little league, but they could also be running the school bake sale. Maybe the pop in your life makes everyone laugh with his goofy dad jokes or maybe he's the one you trust with your deepest secrets. The beauty of today's fathers is that they get to choose the flavor of their role, which no doubt makes them stronger, better, and happier parents. Whatever kind of dad you are celebrating, show him you appreciate him with a book that suits his unique style.

Sporty Dad

Traditionally, a lot of dads bond with their kids over sports. They may even coach their soccer/baseball/basketball teams. Here are a few books that will appeal to the sports enthusiast in your life.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is obviously known as a great basketball player, but he's also a very accomplished (and bestselling!) writer. In Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship on and off the Court, he explores his remarkable friendship with Coach John Wooden.

In Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers by the Greatest Coaches of All Time, Tom Limbert compiles more than 100 inspiring and insightful quotes from the greatest coaches of all times.

Witty Dad

Dads often excel at making their kids laugh. It's one of those cool dad tricks to joke us right out of a bad mood with a bit of silliness. As we get older, we might roll our eyes, but we're still chuckling while we do it. To return the favor, get your dad a book that will tickle his funny bone.

Being a Dad is Weird by Ben Falcone includes a foreword by his hilarious wife (psst, it's Melissa McCarthy!). Falcone's amusing essays share his relatable experiences parenting his two daughters with McCarthy and trace back to experiences with his father.

This is Ridiculous This is Amazing by Jason Good offers a sweetly hilarious view into both the absurdities and the rewards that fathering offers.

In The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant, columnist Dan Savage brings his trademark sense of humor to the distinct challenges he and his boyfriend faced as they endeavored to start a family.

Chef Dad

It's a familiar comedic trope: Mom's out of town and dad has to cook. His horrified children look on while he haplessly throws together a disgusting concoction. But in reality, we know lots of dads who are the master chefs for their families.

In Man With a Pan: Culinary Adventures of Fathers who Cook for Their Families by John Donahue, 21 writers and chefs share stories about feeding their clan.

For something a little different, bestselling author Bill Buford's Heat. This richly evocative memoir shares Buford's journey as he, "a reasonably comfortable cook," enters into an intense series of internships with Mario Batali and other great chefs. Perfect for the dad who might fantasize about becoming a professional chef.

Deep Dad

Another cliché about men is the notion that they aren't comfortable expressing their emotional side. But we all know (and love!) men and dads who have no problem showing us a little tenderness. In the absolutely gorgeous bestseller Between the World and Me, author Ta-Nehisi Coates lets us into his inner world with an open letter to his 15-year-old son. His perspective seems particularly significant as a black man struggling to understand a rash of high-profile deaths of black men by police. Coates brings a strong historical context to his first-hand observations of the dangerous racial environment that he and his son must navigate.

Bestselling author Michael Chabon offers this slim volume of heartfelt (and often humorous) essays about his experiences as a parent. Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces is a lovely set of anecdotes that delve into the complexity of modern-day fatherhood.

New Dad

Regardless of whether you're 25 or 55, whether you're a man's man or a sensitive type, the transition to fatherhood is massive and deserving of attention. New dads are looking for guidance that goes beyond the requisite care-and-feeding manuals. All of the books we have recommended here could apply, but here are a few that are specific to new dads. Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads by Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Hayden provides new dads with humorous (and useful) daddy strategies for all sorts of relevant situations.

For something that dad and baby can enjoy together, Your Baby's First Word Will be DADA by Jimmy Fallon is a great choice! Dads can read this to their tots for a little bonding time (and vocabulary training).

For Father's Day this year, give the papas in your life a book that suits them. Hopefully there are a few books here that make you think of a few of your favorite dads.

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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Memoir | Nonfiction
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