When my boyfriend and I started dating, my daughter was only seven months old and bonded with him very quickly. The two had their own little games they played, but my daughter loved nothing more than to bring my boyfriend book after book to read. Their love of reading together not only makes them even closer (and makes my ovaries ache to have more kids with him), but it turns out there are some children's books dads can learn from, too, which means my boyfriend can get his own education lesson every time he cracks open a picture book.
Not only do some children's books provide lessons for dads, but it turns out that it might benefit your kids more if their dads read to them. A study from Harvard University found that children are more inclined to listen to a story when its read by their father, since its presumed to be more of a feminine activity and moms often do it. The study also found that while reading, women are more likely to ask children factual questions about the book, whereas fathers open the dialogue up to be a little more creative and abstract.
Reading to your kids is important, no matter who the narrator is, but if daddy's taking over some of the bedtime stories, here are 15 children's books with lessons for them to learn, too.
1. 'Ask Me' by Bernard Waber
When you need a reminder that the world is so much bigger to your children than it may seem to you, you need to read Ask Me. The sweet story of a little girl peppering her father with random questions will make your heart swell, and make you want to take your own little one on a walk right now.
2. 'A Dog Day' by Emily Rand
It may feel like you're always having to tell your kids to wait for you to finish something up before you can do a fun, promised activity, but your kids definitely feel it harder. In A Dog Day, a sweet pup has to wait for his owner to finish some errands before hitting the park, and surprisingly, it can put those same feelings your little one has into perspective for you.
3. 'Sidewalk Flowers' by JonArno Lawson
Being an adult means losing some of your child-like wonder, but you get it back a million times over when you watch your children. In Sidewalk Flowers, a distracted father isn't paying attention to his daughter, who is collecting weeds she sees as flowers to give to those around her. It's a sweet picture book on finding the beauty in the every day things and remembering to look up once in a while.
4. 'The Whisper' by Pamela Zagarenski
Things can't always be taken at face-value, and that lesson is prevalent in the beautifully illustrated The Whisper. The book can be read in a variety of ways as your little one chooses how to combine the characters and plots, which will stimulate both of your imaginations and your wonder.
5. 'Finding Winnie: The True Story Of The World's Most Famous Bear' by Lindsay Mattick
For a literal lesson, take a read through Finding Winnie and learn all about the true story of Winnie-the-Pooh. Not only is it a great story about kindness, creativity, and making an idea come to life, but it's also a sweet history lesson, perfect for the dads who grew up with Winnie-the-Pooh.
6. 'The Little Gardener' by Emily Hughes
As often as we tell our kids to persist and keep trying, it's a hard lesson to implement ourselves. The Little Gardener is the perfect story to teach your kids that they should always keep trying, no matter the odds stacked against them, and it's a sweet reminder for you, too.
7. 'Pool' by Jihyeon Lee
Two children go out into an overcrowded pool, but when they dip down where no one else is, they discover a whole new world. Something you definitely lose as you become an adult is the confidence to venture away from the crowd, but Pool can remind you of what lies in the place no one else has tried to discover, and give you the courage to do it.
8. 'A Fine Dessert' by Emily Jenkins
Not only does A Fine Dessert prove how important traditions, family, and food are, but I love that it broke gender norms by ending the story with a father and son in the kitchen, making a classic dish. It'll inspire all dads to speak more about their family's traditions and to work hard to put them back into your world.
9. 'Float' by Daniel Miyares
No book will make you want to experience childhood more than Float. A dad helps his little guy make a boat out of newspaper, and the boy and his boat go on an epic adventure. But when his boat is ruined and he returns upset, his dad doesn't miss a beat and helps him build another boat. Another great book to remind you of the sweetness of being a child, and it also comes with instructions to build your own boat with your little ones!
10. 'Horton Hears A Who!' by Dr. Seuss
"A person's a person, no matter how small," is just one of the important quotes you and your kiddo can learn in Horton Hears a Who! The story of an elephant who refuses to give up on those counting him, despite everyone being against him, is definitely one for a dad's collection. Always do what's right, and always stand up for what you believe in.
11. 'Wolfie The Bunny' by Ame Dyckman
When a bunny family adopts a baby wolf, Dot is convinced that her new baby brother is going to eat her and her entire family. Of course, she learns that not all wolves are the same, and Wolfie the Bunny is a perfect reminder to look beyond the surface of people and to never judge another.
12. 'Goodnight Already!' by Jory John
All dads have been the exhausted companion to a wide-awake child which is why Goodnight Already! is such a great addition to your library. Not only will you completely relate to the story, but it can also bring some humor to what is often a huge challenge.
13. 'The Invisible Boy' by Trudy Ludwig
Everyone wants their children to be kind and to look out for others, but how often do you implement that characteristic? Actions speak louder than words, so read them The Invisible Boy to give both of you a lesson in reaching out to those everyone else is ignoring and the magic that can happen when you do.
14. 'Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed' by Emily Pearson
A random act of kindness can spur a chain of sweet gestures and bring a whole lot of light and love to the world. In Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed, one little girl starts a train of kindness that makes its way back to her, all from doing one ordinary, normal thing. It might inspire you to pick up your co-worker's coffee order that morning and show your children just how contagious kindness is.
15. 'Where The Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak
The ultimate classic, Where the Wild Things Are may be a great story about imagination and childhood visions, but it's also the perfect book when you need a reminder that home is where the heart is, and making it a comforting, loving place is so important for your children. Little Max is having a blast being the King of Wild Things, but when it comes down to it? He just wants to go home. Your kids may have some grand, wonderful plans, but you are their home base, and we all need a lesson in that every once and a while.