A Baker's Dozen of Father Daughter Books

Dad and I have always been tight. He taught me how to relish a habanero chili, hit a topspin lob, and tease Mom without getting in trouble. In my book Rickshaw Girl, one of the easiest parts to write was Naima's sweet relationship with her father.  

In honor of Dad and all the other fathers about to eat burned toast in bed on June 15th, here's a baker's dozen of books featuring the special relationship between fathers and daughters, ranging from picture books to middle readers to books for young adults.  Thanks for your suggestions, and feel free to add more titles in the comments below.


Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems. Trixie, Daddy, and Knuffle Bunny take a trip to the neighborhood Laundromat. But the exciting adventure takes a dramatic turn when Trixie realizes somebunny was left behind.

A Place To Grow by Soyung Pak.  As a father and daughter work together in their garden, he explains what a seed needs to flourish and the reasons their family immigrated to a new country--looking for hope, like sunlight, and peace, like good earth.

Night Shift Daddy by Eileen Spinelli. When the narrator of this rhyming story is sleepy, her daddy reads to her, tucks her in, and switches off the light. Then he goes to work on the night shift. When he returns, the next morning, the same bedtime routine is repeated--but this time the daughter puts Daddy to bed.

Don't Let Go! by Jeanne Willis. Megan is nervous about learning to ride her bike. What if the bike goes too fast and she falls? Daddy is patient and encouraging, letting her know she can wait until she's ready. And then it's time -- Daddy lets go and Megan is off. Now Daddy is the nervous one. What if Megan doesn't come back?

My Father's Hands by Joanne Ryder. A father working in his garden finds a delicate worm, a beetle in shining armor, and a leaf-green mantis and shares these treasures with his daughter.

Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson. As a little girl and her grandmother get ready for visiting day, her father, who adores her, is getting ready, too. The community of families who take the long bus ride upstate to visit loved ones comfort each other.


Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket -- and comes out with a dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive.

Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown. When her mom runs away from home, Rachel is left behind with her father and many questions she cannot answer. Over time, she learns the truth about her mom. But, it's only when she learns the truth about her dad, the rock -- always there for her to lean on--that Rachel can move toward understanding.

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban. Ten-year-old Zoe Elias has perfect piano dreams. She can practically feel the keys under her flying fingers; she can hear the audience's applause. All she needs is a baby grand so she can start her lessons, and then she'll be well on her way to Carnegie Hall. But when Dad -- who is scared to leave the house -- ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe's dreams hit a sour note.

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt. A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate, and "father" her kittens.


Squashed by Joan Bauer. As sixteen-year-old Ellie pursues her two goals--growing the biggest pumpkin in Iowa and losing twenty pounds herself--she strengthens her relationship with her father and meets a young man with interests similar to her own.

Midnight Hour Encores by Bruce Brooks. When Sib asks her Dad to take her to meet her mother for the first time, she knows it might mean breaking away from the man who has raised her. Yet as she and her dad wind their way across the country to San Francisco, Sib learns more about the man she thought she knew, and finds out it's not simply her music that makes her special, but also the love from the parent she might have to leave behind.

Going for the Record by Julie Swanson. Seventeen-year-old Leah Weiczynkowski, about to begin her senior year of high school, is on the brink of realizing her dream — playing soccer for the under-eighteen national team, her gateway to the World Cup and the Olympics. She can't wait to tell her dad, her biggest fan and faithful chauffeur to games and practices. Unfortunately, her dad has news of his own. And it's not good.


I only gave myself room to offer a baker's dozen in the original post, but I'll add additional titles suggested by Fire Escape visitors as I receive them. Here they are: 
  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (Picture Book)
  • Monkey Soup by Louis Sachar (Picture Book)
  • Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban (Picture Book)
  • The Summer Night by Charlotte Zolotow (Picture Book)
  • Father Bear Comes Home by Else Holmelund Minarik (Easy Reader)
  • Ramona And Her Father by Beverly Cleary (Tween)
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Tween)
  • Beige by Cecil Castelluci (Teen)
And here's one last bonus -- a grownup non-fiction book showcasing the bond between dads and daughters:
Daughters of Men: Portraits of African-American Women and Their Fathers. Author Rachel Vassel has compiled dozens of photographs and personal essays about African-American women and their fathers. Whether it's a father who mentors his daughter's artistic eye by taking her to cultural events or one who unwaveringly supports a risky career move, the fathers in this book each had his own unique and successful style of parenting. Daughters of Men provides an intimate look at black fatherhood and the many ways fathers have a lasting impact on their daughters' lives.

Sal Bose getting choked up as he watches
daughter Mitali during her television debut.
Photo taken by his grandson ... on the sly.