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Every third Sunday, people across the United States celebrate Father’s Day. Whether there’s an all-out barbecue, watching a favorite sports team live, or giving him that special gift he wanted, it’s a time for recognizing the unique contribution that dads have in the lives of their children. Below I’ve reviewed a few choices that highlight fathers and the different ways they influence their children’s lives.

Welcome to America, Champ highlights the relationship a child has with his stepfather and how he feels as his life changes. Set during the time of the second world war in England, Thomas, the main character, is learning about Jack, an American soldier his mother fell in love with after his father passed away. He learns that they’ll go to live with him in the States once the war is over, and Thomas has some reservations about the experience. Jack patiently answers questions about living in the United States and Thomas chronicles how he feels as they welcome a new baby, leave his friends behind, and move to the United States. This story’s great because it highlights the lengths that fathers go to validate and esteem their kids, and students can connect with this story by writing questions they want to know about their father. Students may also ask these questions to a special person in their lives, such as a grandfather, uncle, or mentor.

This book is perfect for those whose fathers are not present for a variety of reasons in their lives. Always By My Side, written by Susan Kerner, honors the father by reminding children that they may have certain features, attitudes, and passions that their fathers had. Whether it was in the waves, leaves blowing in the wind, or comforting them when something goes wrong, Kerner reminds children of their father’s presence and affirming their importance in this world. The picture illustrates children from diverse backgrounds, highlighting the commonality of this situation for many students. Have students write a poem describing the attributes they have of their fathers or have them read stories about children who have situations similar to the children in the story, comparing and contrasting how each author decided to approach the topic.

Rebecca Gauthier’s Best Day Ever is perfect for beginning readers. This story talks about the great times Jacob had with his father on a day they both had off from school and work. The rest of the story talks about all the fun things they did, from going to the movies to getting dessert. One way to honor dads using this story is to get students to draw or write about a special time with their fathers, using plenty of details to create a visual picture of that day for anyone reading or viewing the drawings. Then a book can be made and given to the dads as a present.

I hope these books will give your students inspiration to include their fathers as you’re closing out the school year and celebrating this holiday with your favorite dads. Have a very Happy Father’s Day!

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