14 Picture Books That Celebrate Moms and Dads

With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day around the corner, these titles would make for some great displays and themed story hour picks.

Ashman, Linda. Mommy's Kisses and Cuddles. illus. by Jane Massey. 24p. Cartwheel. 2023. ISBN 9781338359770.
PreS-Gr 2–A book in verse about how mothers love their children from morning until night. With each word and stanza, readers are drawn in by endearing expressions of admiration between mother and child, as the pair do ordinary activities and chores like going to the market and setting the table for dinner. VERDICT This joyful book that features the loving relationships between parent and child can serve as a guide and reminder to parents that it’s the little things that matter most to their children. Pair with the companion book Daddy’s Hugs and Snuggles.

Ashman, Linda. Daddy’s Hugs and Snuggles. illus. by Jane Massey. 24p. Cartwheel. 2023. ISBN 9781338854046.
PreS-Gr 2–Through the simplicity of a life, from morning to bedtime, Ashman shows how fathers love and care for their children. This book celebrates the ordinary activities and chores of a father’s life, such as making breakfast and going for a walk, through endearing words of poetry. VERDICT Highly recommended for personal, public, school, and classroom libraries.

Crawford, Rae. My Day with Dad. illus. by author. 32p. Holiday House. 2023. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780823452637.
PreS-Gr 1–A young girl spends a fun-filled, special day with her dad in this book ideal for emerging readers. Each spread contains one-to-three straightforward sentences filled with vocabulary building text, optimal for those learning to read independently. VERDICT This bright and colorful story is highly ­relatable for young readers and is a recommended purchase for early reader collections.

Figueroa, Raissa. What My Daddy Loves. illus. by author. 32p. HarperCollins/Clarion. 2023. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780358588771.
PreS-Gr 3–At times poignant and at other times expressly affirmative, this book is a heartwarming homage to African American daddies everywhere. On each spread, Figueroa trusts the children’s perspectives to describe their fathers: “My daddy loves starting the day with me,” and “My daddy loves eating with me.” VERDICT A long-awaited, refreshing celebration of African American families in roles that are both reflective, but also universal as part of the community of families everywhere. 

[Read: Eight Picture Books That Celebrate the Diversity of Motherhood]

Finkle, Corey. Pop's Perfect Present. illus. by Lenny Wen. 40p. Holt. 2023. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250819444.
K-Gr 3–A young girl decides she wants to give her father a present, but, “It had to be awesome and perfect. Like him.” They try fishing, playing baseball, making chili, writing music, riding bikes, and flying kites, but nothing goes the way she wants. VERDICT Children will be drawn to the rhyming text, and the illustrations create an environment that most students will be able to connect with; however, the book’s theme lacks uniqueness or significance. A “like to have” title rather than a “must-have” one.

Freelon, Pierce. Daddy & Me, Side by Side. illus. by Nadia Fisher. 40p. Little, Brown. 2023. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316055864.
PreS-Gr 2–A father and child on a camping trip in the woods create a deep sense of connection with each other and nature. As Daddy and child hike, cross bridges, fish, and enjoy the evening fireflies, visual and textual clues suggest that shared family traditions are being passed down from Pop-Pop to Daddy, and then Daddy to child. VERDICT A recommended purchase for sharing one-on-one, with a generational continuity camping theme and as a gentle treatment for addressing loss of a grandparent.

 Gardner, Michael & Ava Gardner. Daddy Dressed Me. illus. by Nadia Fisher. 48p. S. & S./Aladdin. 2023. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781665921954.
PreS-Gr 2–Ava, a young Black girl finishing kindergarten, is proud of her daddy’s many talents and skills. One day at school, her teacher announces that the celebration of the class moving into first grade is quickly approaching. Ava is quite anxious about the thought of first grade. Daddy comforts Ava with hugs, reassurance that he will help her prepare, and offers the idea of a new special dress. VERDICT A vibrant #girldad story of patience, determination, and love makes this an easy purchase for all library collections. 

 James-Duncan, Monique. Mommy Time. illus. by Ebony Glenn. 32p. Candlewick. 2023. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536212266.
PreS-Gr 1–An adorable story that is simple and full of love. A little boy enjoys his mommy time and all the other activities he does with his mother and family, from “morning time” to “sing-along time” to “go home time.” VERDICT An adorable story that encourages students to share what they do during the day and how much they love their family—­especially their mom.

Maass, Ted. Dads Can Do It All! illus. by Ekaterina Trukhan. 18p. Grosset & Dunlap. 2023. Board $8.99. ISBN 9780593522998.
PreS–This upbeat title highlights the positive difference dads make in the community and as mentors to their children. Dads are shown singing and composing, driving trucks, farming, cooking, firefighting, being astronauts, and working as stay-at-home dads. VERDICT Recommended for young children, because it highlights the importance of dads as role models and lets children know that they can be anything they set their minds to.

Maass, Ted. Moms Can Do It All! illus. by Ekaterina Trukhan. 18p. Grosset & Dunlap. 2023. Board $8.99. ISBN 9780593522974.
PreS–Moms are shown making a positive difference in their communities, on the job, and in their families in this board book. Simple text of one to two lines per page describes different careers moms can have, including writers, firefighters, architects, pilots, newscasters, actors, and athletes. VERDICT Recommended to highlight the importance of moms as role models, and the contributions they make in the community. This title can also inspire children to believe that they can be anything they want to be.–Robin Sofge

Soman, David. Papa’s Home. illus. by David Soman. 32p. Little, Brown. 2023. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316427838.
PreS-K–A delectable story featuring a bear family of Papa, his preschool age son, and Aunt Jessie. Soman (Ladybug Girl, Three Bears in a Boat) tells the story in a simple dialogue between Papa and son over the course of two days. ­VERDICT Reminiscent of David McPhail’s work, but with contemporary sensibilities, this charming and generous book belongs in any collection serving younger readers and their parents.

Urda, Gary. Daddy and Me. illus. by Rosie Butcher. 20p. little bee. 2023. Board $8.99. ISBN 9781499813517.
PreS-Gr 2–In this tender concept book, a series of brief snapshots depicts loving interactions between children and their fathers. All of the people have different rituals, shared activities just right for them: cooking, surfing, stargazing, gardening, sewing. Each father’s unique nickname (Dada, Papi, Appa, Baba) reflects the deep linguistic and cultural tradition of the family’s ethnic background (African American, Latino, East Asian, South Asian). VERDICT A sweet and worthy addition to family-themed collections, particularly those needing more titles with father-child relationships.

Walstead, Alice. How to Catch a Daddysaurus. illus. by Andy Elkerton. 40p. (How to Catch). Sourcebooks/Wonderland. 2023. Tr $10.99. ISBN 9781728266183.
PreS-Gr 2–A tale of traps, rhymes, and holiday cheer for Father’s Day, as part of the ongoing “How to Catch” series. A group of kids is trying to catch a Daddysaurus, ­without much luck. With each new trap they set, the kids talk about what a ­Daddysaurus does for them and how much they love him. VERDICT A great Father’s Day story for those who want to talk about their dads and how much they mean to them.

Zappa, Ahmet. Because I'm Your Mom. illus. by Dan Santat. 32p. Little, Brown. Mar. 2023. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316338219.
PreS-Gr 3–From the team that wrote Because I’m Your Dad, equal treatment is granted to Mom. Each page shares a message of love juxtaposed with the playfulness of a two-pronged monster mom and her equally monstrous, but charming, youngster. VERDICT Pure fun for readers with a lovable message that will appeal to all. A lovely addition to the library.

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