Strong father figures, adventures, humor, and general fun await!
40 titles just right for DADS to read to their kids: fantasy, realistic fiction, historical fiction. Humor, adventure, coming-of-age, thought-provoking, silly…. there’s a little something for every dad on this list.
This list represents some of the Redeemed Reader team’s favorite books for dads to read to their kids, but do not miss the comments. We resisted adding some of those to the new list; it’s like getting two lists in one!
Recommended age ranges in parentheses reflect recommended listening level, but many are appropriate read alouds for a wide variety of ages.
[note: this post originally appeared on March 26, 2015; updated on June 15, 2020]
40 Books for Dads to Read to Their Kids
Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay. Funny, realistic fiction adventures for animal lovers. See our review. Ages 4-10.
Anna Hibiscus Series by Atinuke. Contemporary African realistic fiction. See also The No. 1 Car Spotter series. See our review. Ages 4-10.
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Elmer stows away to find a captive dragon in this gentle fantasy. Ages 4-10.
Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. A boy, a dog, and funny adventures. Realistic fiction. Ages 4+.
Freddy the Pig by Walter Brooks. Animal adventures for the whole family! Ages 6+.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. Hilarious modern classic. See our discussion. Ages 7+.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. Warm fuzzies all around, especially for dads and their daughters. Realistic fiction. See our review. Ages 7+.
The Vanderbeekers by Karina Yan Glaser. A brownstone and its lovable family. See our review. Ages 7+.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Better than the movie(s)! Also a good one for grandfathers to read. Ages 7+.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. A gorilla, an elephant, a dog, a girl, … and some paint. See our review. Ages 7+.
Encyclopedia Brown by Donald Sobol. The famed boy sleuth. See our review. Ages 7+.
The Dangerous Journey by Oliver Hunkin. The best Pilgrim’s Progress adaption! Ages 7+.
By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman. A rollicking good Gold Rush adventure. See our review. Ages 7+.
The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald. Old-fashioned humorous adventures. Ages 8+.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming. A car like no other! The updated series by Frank Cottrell Boyce is also fun. Ages 8+.
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. Adventure, a dragon, elves, and hobbits. For older kids, keep going with The Lord of the Rings. Ages 8+.
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. Classic frontier adventures. See our review. Ages 8+.
The Last Last-Day-of-Summer b y Lamar Giles. A literal race against time for two intrepid, legendary sleuths. See our review. Ages 8+.
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. A boy, a horse, survival, hard work, and a race! Ages 8+.
Three Terrible Trins by Dick King-Smith. Three mice and shenanigans. Ages 8+.
Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare. New England frontier adventures. Ages 8+.
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon. Styx Malone is a character like no other. Note language cautions in our review. Ages 10+.
We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey. Fast-moving and fun sci-fi. See our review. Ages 10+.
Little Britches by Ralph Moody. Hardship builds a relationship between a boy and his father. See our review. Ages 10+.
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarjan. Two boys learn that snap judgments aren’t always accurate. See our review. Ages 10+.
Rascal by Sterling North. If you find a baby racoon, will he make a good pet? Ages 10+.
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. If you make a bet to eat worms, then…. Ages 10+.
The Cave by Richard Church. 5 boys discover a cave and, naturally, set off to explore…. Ages 10+.
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson. A con novel full of good, clean fun. See our review. Ages 10+.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. A sci-fi classic! See our review. Ages 10+.
The 100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson. A boy, an attic, and 100 cupboards that lead to other worlds. See our review. Ages 10+.
Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri. A horse and his boy … in the inner city. See our review. Ages 12+.
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. A boy and his deer and a coming-of-age decision. Ages 12+.
The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan. Medieval-esque adventure, Robin Hood and King Arthur style. See our review. Ages 12+.
The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliffe. Roman-occupied Britain; so much better than the movie! Ages 12+.
The Monster Blood Tattoo by D. M. Cornish. Fantasy with complex characters and world-building. See our review. Ages 12+.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. Relationships, an outlaw brother, and miracles. Ages 14+.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. A real classic with plenty of “discussion starters.” Ages 14+.
True Grit by Charles Portis. Raw with plenty of heart, this is a modern classic. See our (movie) review. Note: the book has plenty of language.