Fathers play an important role in children’s lives and in society, yet in the US about 1/3 of children live without a father in the home (datacenter.kidscout.org). Finding a great father figure in children’s literature is not an easy task, especially in the last decade, but there are a few that are real gems. Here are some of Children’s Literature’s great fathers.
Auggie’s Father in WONDER by R.J. Palacio
Both of Auggie’s parents are amazingly supportive, but my favorite part in the book is when Auggie’s father tells him that it was he who got rid of Auggie’s space helmet (that Auggie wore to hide is facial deformity). Auggie’s father says he did it because he missed seeing his son’s face. There is no more validating message a father can send than “I love you, just the way you are.”
Billy’s Father in THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER by Kevin Henkes
Billy’s father uses wit and wisdom to help his son through his difficult year. He isn’t perfect, and doesn’t have endless patience, but his gives Billy the most important thing, time and attention.
Mr. Penderwick in THE PENDERWICKS by Jeanne Birdsall
What is not to like about the loveable, absentminded-professor father of the Penderwicks. All through the series Mr. Penderwick obviously loves and delights in his children and in return, the children are utterly devoted to their father.
Mr. Bell in THE CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander
Being a good father is not always about having fun and baking cookies. Mr. Bell, the father to the two basketball prodigies in Crossover, knows when it is time to pull one of his boys up short when he is out of line. Although Mr. Bell uses a firm hand, it is always motivated by love.