Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Great Middle Grade Dads (or at least they try really hard)

13 Jun

father's day

After my Mother’s Day post, I didn’t feel it was right to neglect the dads – so here’s a post just for them. On a related side note – I had a really difficult time finding high-quality dads in middle grade fiction. More often than not, 2-parent households don’t have strong parents or the family has a single mom household, albeit often a very strong single mom.

Every once in a while, you’ll find a single dad household, but more often as a widower or divorced parent, not from having mom walk out on the family. You’ll notice that some of my choices aren’t even dads – they’re grandfathers or other stand-in father figures – but ones that I couldn’t leave off my list. If you’ve got any really strong and sensitive dads in middle grade fiction, please let me know! Bonus points to you for a diverse novel as well!

  1. Weekends with Max and His Dad by Linda Urban
    A realistic portrayal of divorced parents and how it affects their son, Max. Max loves visiting his Dad’s new apartment, but will he ever be able to call it home?
  2. The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin HenkesA stay-at-home dad and working mom create a story that throws the “traditional” family out the window as Billy learns to navigate second grade, his friends and family with the help of his dad’s insights.
  3. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
    I loved the dad in this book because his story a to why it took him so long to walk to the corner store for milk is fantastical, imaginative and so much fun to read!
  4. Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
    I’ll be honest, I haven’t read this Dahl story, but it was on a bunch of other “great dad” lists and I didn’t want to miss it!
  5. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
    I love this realistic view of a family with two dads and four adopted boys – it’s a true telling of family, friends, school and life with parents who are gay. Not super focused on issue, rather how the boys are growing up.
  6. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
    A father and his four daughters spend the summer vacation near Arundel Hall where the girls befriend a young boy and they get into all sorts of summer fun. I really enjoyed the love you could feel as you read about this dad and his daughters.
  7. The Best Man by Richard Peck (uncle and teacher)
    This was such a great story about a young boy’s naïveté as he learns that his uncle and favorite teacher are getting married. I really enjoyed that, again, the gay characters are so much more than just “gay.” They are fully realized and beloved by the main character and I just loved it.
  8. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (grandfather)
    Calpurnia is a young girl growing up in 1899 in Texas who learns about science from her cranky grandfather. Her six bothers are too loud and boisterous, but when she spends time with her grandfather she knows she wants more than to cook meals and sew clothes for the rest of her life.
  9. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    Although the dad disappears quickly in this story, I adore the love between Meggie and her father, Mo (and their love for books.) But when Mo disappears, it is Meggie’s job to try and save him from inside the pages of his own books.
  10. 11Crossover by Kwame Alexander
    Josh and Jordan’s father gives them rules to live by both on and off the court in this novel in verse that is fun to read and so well done.


And as for this title, I couldn’t ignore it – Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee and illustrate by Eliza Wheeler is a beautiful and somewhat untraditional read aloud about a young boy and his father at bedtime as the father tells the story of his tattoos. It’s a lovely book with characters you don’t often see in picture books… I had to add it as a bonus book!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Book


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