by Pat Scales
Though Father’s Day has been celebrated by many families since the early part of the 20th century, it wasn’t named a permanent national holiday until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed it into law. The family structure is very different today than it was when Father’s Day was first proposed. Many children live in homes without fathers, but may have family and friends that provide them with male role models. There are even Father’s Day greeting cards for stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and friends. Father’s Day is a perfect time for libraries to promote male role models through books and special programming. Here are a few ideas:
Help readers develop research skills by asking them to find answers to the following questions:
- Who was the driving force behind the establishment of Father’s Day?
- What city founded Father’s Day? What organization was responsible for the celebration?
- Why did Americans initially resist the celebration?
- Which President was the first to speak at a Father’s Day event?
- How many countries have a Father’s Day celebration? Use pushpins to mark the location of these countries?
Have readers pick a non-English speaking country that celebrates Father’s Day and have the make a greeting card that might be purchased in that country.
Ask readers to select a book for them to read together with their father or male role model. Then have them share why they chose that particular book.
Have readers find a poem that best describes their feelings for their father, grandfather, or father figure in their lives. Allow them time to share the poem with the group.
Suggest that readers read a biography or autobiography about a man that is a positive role model. Suggestions from Random House include:
As Good As Anybody (Picture Book) by Richard Michelson & illus. by Raul Colón
Child of the Civil Rights Movement (Picture Book) by Paula Young Shelton & illus. by Raul Colón
First Kids (Early Reader) by Gibbs Davis & illus. by Sally Wern Comfort
Have readers share a favorite story about their grandfathers, or older males in their lives. Then have them read books about grandfathers. Suggestions from Random House include:
How to Babysit a Grandpa (Picture Book) by Jean Reagan & illus. by Lee Wildish
Song and Dance Man (Picture Book) by Karen Ackerman & illus. by Stephen Gammell
Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different (Middle Grade) by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It(Middle Grade) by Sundee T. Frazier
Belle Prater’s Boy (Middle Grade) by Ruth White
Bud, Not Buddy (Middle Grade) by Christopher Paul Curtis
Engage readers in a discussion about whether the father in the following novels is a good role model. What is the relationship between the main character and the father?
Navigating Early (Middle Grade) by Clare Vanderpool
Chomp (Middle Grade) by Carl Hiaasen
Heart of a Shepherd (Middle Grade) by Rosanne Parry
Hokey Pokey (Middle Grade) by Jerry Spinelli
Flush (Middle Grade) by Carl Hiaasen
It’s Not the End of the World (Middle Grade) by Judy Blume
Laugh with the Moon (Middle Grade) by Shana Burg
Liar and Spy (Middle Grade) by Rebecca Stead
The Mighty Miss Malone (Middle Grade) by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (Middle Grade) by Jeanne Birdsall
Pictures of Hollis Woods (Middle Grade) by Patricia Reilly Giff
Revolution (Young Adult) by Jennifer Donnelly
Have readers locate and read a book that has a male role model other than a father. Suggestions from Random House include:
Lord of the Deep (Young Adult) by Graham Salisbury
One Year in Coal Harbor (Middle Grade) by Polly Horvath
The Book Thief (Young Adult) by Marcus Zusak
Mexican Whiteboy (Young Adult) by Matt de la Peña
Small Steps (Young Adult) by Louis Sachar