Episode 51-Celebrating Father’s Day as a Family

In this episode we explore fun books about dads and Father’s Day and some great books for Mom and Dad too. 

Books Discussed in This Episode:


Welcome to “Books that Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books, that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion, leading to teachable moments with our kids. Today, we’re going to be talking about Father’s Day. This coming Sunday, in America anyway, is Father’s Day. If you’re in Asia, it won’t be until August 8th because the number eight is ba, and so ba ba (eight, eight) is the same as “father” in Chinese. So they celebrate Father’s Day on August 8th, but we’re going to talk about different books that we can use to share our joy and our love for our fathers and help our children celebrate Father’s Day and enjoy preparing for that day. So let’s take a look at some of these special books. And of course there are so many of them I’ve narrowed it down to just a few that I thought were really special. And some of the others are really cute. They’re with the animals and the animals, celebrating fathers and lots of board books about how special fathers are, and being thankful for our fathers. And those are wonderful books too. But I wanted to highlight a few special books that I thought were really cute.

The first one is A Perfect Father’s Day by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Susan Meddaugh. And this is a really special book. This little kid is wanting to make the perfect Father’s Day. And so his little daughter, Susie wants to take him out for a perfect Father’s Day and they go do all these special things. And as they’re doing this or that, the father’s like, well, may I pay for this? May I do that? The father’s having to pay for everything, but it’s a special, perfect Father’s Day because they’re together and having all these activities and fun times together. So it’s very sweet and really cute, a special one, especially for a daughter and dad to share together.

Another one for a dad and daughter that is a little unusual is Dad By My Side. One of the interesting things about this book is the illustrations. The dad is like this giant. And if you remember when you were a child and you would look at your father, most likely you did look at him as kind of like a giant, but this little girl talks about all the things her father does and how he makes her feel safe and special and how they learn things. He teaches her things. And if he has to go away on a trip, he calls and sings a lullaby to her each night. So he’s like a tremendously wonderful dad. And this is written and illustrated by Soosh. It comes in a board book or in picture book form, but it is very different from most of the Father’s Day books I looked at or most of the dad books I looked at, but it is a very sweet heartwarming story.

One of my favorites that I read is called My Dad. It just describes the dad in different ways, and it uses a lot of similes. So it’d be a great book to use for teaching similes. It reminds me of how a child would describe their dad. There is a warning in one of the reviews on this one: there are two different versions of this book. This book is British in the vocabulary that it uses. For instance, it says, “My dad is as wise as an owl and as daft as a brush.” And so it’s silly is what it means. In another version of the story. It says, “My dad is as wise as an owl except when he tries to help.” So I think I would double-check which one you’re getting, because I don’t like when the books, you know, showed disrespect for a father and especially for a picture book that just isn’t appropriate. But this one’s really cute and really fun if you don’t mind the British vocabulary, because it definitely uses more of a British vocabulary. For instance, the child talks about his Teddy instead of Teddy bear and stuff like that. So just be aware, this is more British English, but I think it’s really cute because it definitely feels like it’s written from a child’s perspective. And this one is simply called My Dad by Anthony Browne.

And then one that I think I shared for mother’s day, the one about moms by these same authors. But this is How to Surprise a Dad by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish. And it is so much fun, written from a child’s perspective of what you can do to surprise your dad and how you can keep the secret away from him that you’re going to surprise him by camouflaging the book. So he doesn’t see the book that says how to surprise the dad. And it’s just so cute and so much fun and will bring a lot of laughter to your kids if they’re reading it and maybe even trying to surprise their dad in some way.

Then one last picture book I wanted to share is With My Daddy: A Book of Love and Family, and this one’s by Jo Witek and illustrated by Christine Roussey. It’s really special and heartwarming in the way it goes through. And again, this is a daughter and a father in this story as well. In the Surprise, a dad has both a boy and a girl, and then in My Dad, it doesn’t have who the child is. So it could be any child With My Daddy: A Book of Love and Family talks about how wonderful the father is. It’s a celebration of family. And I liked that about it.

Another very special book, and this one is a book with a dad and a son in the illustrations. This is called Daddy, Me and the Magic Hour. It’s written by Laura Krauss Melmed and illustrated by Sarita Rich. And in this book, the son is excited for his dad to come home and for them to have their special time at the end of the day. And as the sun is setting, after they eat dinner and everything, then there’s the magic hour when the sun is setting and they go to the park and watch what everyone is doing with their, you know, watering their plants and getting ready for the end of the day. And this little boy is just very hyper and very excited. And so you kind of get the feeling that the dad is taking him to go have some fun and get some energy out before bedtime while the mom puts the sibling to sleep because it has a little baby in the family. I love this story. I love how cute it is and how special it is to see this father spending a special time with his son. And as the sun sets and it gets darker, they catch fireflies, which is a really happy memory for me. And I just love that they put that in this book. And so that’s a really nice book, and it does have then the picture with the son instead of having another daddy/daughter book if you have a boy.

I found some really nice books for creating memories with dad, for making a memory book. My favorite is not really geared toward–It doesn’t look like a children’s book. It looks more sophisticated than that. It’s called My Dad in His Own Words. And this book takes you through different interview questions where the dad can tell the child his own story and his own experiences. This was my favorite of the keepsake books, and it’s a keepsake interview book, but there were some others. There’s one, Dad, What I Love About You: A Short Sentimental and Personalized Memory Fill-in Book for Dad. And then there was another one that is My Dad Is a Superhero. And those are really cute. And they’re more kid-friendly in their decoration and the way the pages are designed. But by far, my favorite one is My Dad in His Own Words, because it actually takes you through interviewing the dad and getting his stories written down.

And then I want to end with a special devotional book. I looked at a lot of different devotional books and there are quite a few wonderful ones out there for dads and for men. There are some good books, like Henry Blackaby has some great books for The Man God Uses and things like that. But this one intrigued me. It’s called Dad Tired and Loving It: Stumbling Your Way to Spiritual Leadership by Jared Lopes. I think it is so appropriate for today’s dad. It takes you through that, even though we’re living in a time where dads are busy and they’re trying to fulfill many roles, that they can still love what they’re doing and love becoming the spiritual leader that they are meant to be, the man of God they’re meant to be. It’s a three part book. The first part is “The Kingdom of God Around You.” The second one is “The Kingdom of God In You.” And the third is “The Kingdom of God Through You.” And this book encourages fathers to help lead their family in spiritual ways, and to create opportunities to have a biblical message in what you’re doing and your activities that you’re gearing it toward discipleship for your children. So that’s another reason I really love this book. And then the cover of it is so intriguing because it has a mustache and beard and it’s called Dad Tired. And I just think it’s really cute. It starts out “Color Blind: Why the Gospel Changes Everything.” I’m colorblind. Sometimes I find myself watching online videos of colorblind people trying on corrective colorblind glasses for the first time. In case you haven’t heard, apparently someone has invented eyeglasses that can allow a color blind person to see the world in normal color. One man’s wife surprised him with a pair of these glasses as a gift. And as the viewers, we get to see his response to seeing the world in color for the first time. At first, he’s trying to play it pretty cool as any confident man would do. He doesn’t seem to act overly surprised or emotional. From behind the camera you can hear his wife say, ‘Look at your kid’s eyes.’ And that’s when things take a turn. As he looks down at his daughter and stares her in the eyes, he begins to get emotional. He fights back the tears as he sees the beautiful color of his daughter’s eyes for the first time. He’s a wreck. I’m a wreck. It’s an emotional mess. He was born blind, but now he can see. For the first time in his life, he can see how things were supposed to be. Layla, my wife, once signed me up for a color blind study at the local college to see if we could pull off a similar video. I spent hours in a lab failing all kinds of tests and confirming that my eyes really are broken. I tried on one pair of eyeglasses after another, but with no luck. Layla stood by with her camera, constantly recording the reactions, but there was nothing. They didn’t have a single pair of glasses that could correct my colorblindness. To this day I’m not able to see the world as it should be. Sometimes I think none of us can see the world as it should be. One of the scariest parts of our world is that nothing really surprises us anymore. Think about this. What news story would you have to hear to make you genuinely surprised or shocked? When I turn on the news or scroll through the news app on my phone, I read story after story of all kinds of evil and wickedness, but to be honest, I’m not surprised. We have heard so many terrible stories that they have become normal to us. Even something as terrible as a school shooting doesn’t surprise us anymore. We almost expect it. It has become the new normal. In fact, did you know that as I’m writing this, the Columbine shooting, which is implanted deep into many of our minds, isn’t even in the top 10 worst shootings anymore. The brokenness, wickedness, tragedy, and pain have become our new normal, but it’s not normal. This isn’t the way things were supposed to be.” And then the next section is “Where It All Started.” “My kids love the story of creation and the start of humanity told in Genesis. We read it weekly. They are fascinated by the idea that God can make something out of nothing. They especially love the part with God walking with the humans in the garden. And of course they giggle every time they hear that Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. That’s how it should be, I constantly explain. I am always trying to teach my kids that shame isn’t normal. Hiding from God isn’t normal. Feeling far from God isn’t normal. Yes, those things describe our normal. We feel those things every day, but they aren’t the way things are supposed to be.” And it goes on from there. But I love this. I think it’s so powerful and what a great book for a dad to have and to encourage him, to disciple his family and share with his children.

And I also want to share a book for the wives, for those of us who are praying for our husbands. There are a few books out that are great for guiding us in praying for our husbands. But I wanted to talk about Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe: A Daily Guide to Scripture-Based Prayer. And this is written by Sharon Jaynes. I really like it. I think it has some great guiding scriptures and devotionals to help us as we pray for our husbands. There’s another one that’s if your husband is going through a hard time, that is specifically geared toward battling for them in prayer, fighting for them in prayer, and helping them with what they are facing. But this one is 30 days of Praying Scripture Over Your Husband from Head to Toe: praying for his salvation, his fatherhood, his healing, lifting him up daily each month. You could go through it each month.

And in this book, the prayers, the scriptures that are shared, everything is geared toward the husband who is already a Christian. So this might not be the perfect book for someone who is still praying for their husband’s salvation, but either way interceding for our husbands and encouraging them by praying for them and lifting them up before the father I think is such a wonderful opportunity that we have as women to really lift up our husbands and support them in prayer.

And for our devotion today, I want to share Hope for Each Day by Billy Graham. And this is from the August 11th devotional. It’s called “God, Our Father,” the verse is 2 Corinthians 6:18, “I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters.” “Have you ever had to pick a prize? There were several to choose from, but you couldn’t tell from the wrappings what they were. Did you wonder if one of the prizes would be better and more exciting than the rest and try to choose that one in Jesus story of the prodigal, the younger son, wasn’t satisfied in his father’s house with all his needs met. He wanted more, he believed the lie that something more exciting was waiting for him away from his father. Isn’t this how we sometimes behave. We think God is holding out on us, that there is something better than us close relationship with our heavenly father, that the world offers more excitement and joy than he does, but it isn’t true as the prodigal son found out when we think this way and then act on it, we always end up wishing we hadn’t. We always end up needing to ask for God’s help and forgiveness. Our heavenly father always answers us with love and mercy, but wouldn’t it have been far better to have avoided the trouble in the first place. Don’t ever think Satan’s way is better than God’s way. It never is.”

As we come up to Father’s Day, I just feel such a burden that we encourage our dads. I think they have a hard time in our world today because they have to fulfill so many roles, and they have to carry so much responsibility, just like the moms do with moms and dads both working outside the home, children needing parents and needing time with their parents and making those times count and helping our kids grow in the Lord and grow in their understanding and in the many facets of life that we need to train them in. It’s overwhelming without the help of God. This Father’s Day I hope our fathers can feel lifted up and encouraged. And throughout the year, I hope we can remember to show gratitude and to be lifting the father’s in prayer and encouraging them each day. And then on top of that, that the fathers would remember the admonition from the Bible to not anger and embitter our children, but to encourage them as well, and to help them to grow in their understanding of the Lord.

Thank you for joining us for “Books that Spark,” a podcast, celebrating books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussions. I hope these books will spark some wonderful conversations with your kids, that you will have some great times of sharing gratitude with each other and celebrating Father’s Day and honoring the dads in our lives. You can sign up for my mailing list on my website at TerrieHellardBrown.com and you’ll get notifications when I post a blog post or a podcast or if I send out an email to my mailing list, but I don’t overwhelm your inbox. We’re coming up on our one-year anniversary for “Books that Spark,” and next year we have some great things planned. Stay tuned; ask your friends to join in and to listen. I hope that the words I share, that the books I share, encourage you well, and that you have wonderful times with your children. Reading aloud is such an amazing gift you give your children and it helps draw the family, no matter what age your children are, reading aloud, blesses them. And so, and if you have teenagers, even if you have adult children, sometimes sitting down and reading together is such an amazing blessing to the whole family. So I want to encourage you to do that. And of course at the focus, at the center of all that we do at “Books that Spark” is discipleship and helping our children grow in the Lord. Whether we’re reading a picture book or reading a Bible story, or from the Bible itself, we want to be pouring into our children’s lives the word of God, the wisdom of God, and the guidance of God. We want to help them to grow in their faith and become the people of God that he intended them to be. Each Tuesday morning the podcast is posted and you can listen each week, or I have many who wait until the weekend to listen. It’s always up there so you can. And if you have any questions or comments, please go to my blog and write a comment. I would love to hear from you. If you know of a great book that you love to read for Father’s Day or a book that was really special between you and your dad when you were growing up, please put that in the comments. We would love to have you share that with our listeners. So feel free to do that. We look forward to hearing from you.

Your Host:

Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.

Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.

Her blog posts are published each Thursday and discuss living as a disciple of Christ while discipling our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ.

For more information, visit her website at terriehellardbrown.com

Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.

Her motto is “Growing older is inevitable; growing up is optional” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.

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