Black fathers rarely get any appreciation or recognition. When they are visible.
Whether in film, TV or literature, they are more likely to be portrayed negatively. So, to celebrate Father’s Day this year, we’ve picked five of our favourite books that portray dads in a positive light and celebrate Black fatherhood in all its glory.
Daddy Do My Hair series – by Tolu Okogwu
The Daddy Do My Hair series is a collection of children’s picture books that celebrates the unique relationship between fathers and daughters, as well as challenges the perceptions around race and gender roles within parenting. The latest book in the series, Kechi’s Hair Goes Every Which Way, is a fun, heartwarming story of a bubbly, little girl blessed with big, thick natural curls whose dad is tasked with getting her and her mane ready in time for school.
The Daddy Do My Hair series is available for purchase here.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a deeply personal and poignant letter to his teenage son, of his own awakening to the reality about his place as a Black man in America. Drawing on personal experience, political theory, and history, Coates describes America’s long, painful and violent history with race, and further examining the hazards and hopes of Black male life.
Between the World and Me is available from all good bookshops and online retailers
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
While not a book about fatherhood per se, positive portrayals of fathers and father figures are featured very strongly in this acclaimed YA novel by Angie Thomas. Starr Carter is a 16-year-old teenager who witnesses the shooting of her best friend Khalil by a white police officer. As a result, Starr finds herself having to decide between speaking up about the injustice faced by Black people in America or remaining quiet in a bid to protect herself and her family.
The Hate U Give is available from all good bookshops and online retailers.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
A classic children’s novel about growing up Black in the segregated South, through the eyes of a young girl, Cassie Logan. The novel explores racism and social injustice, as well as other themes such as the importance of land ownership and family bond. One of the main highlights is the portrayal of the strong, loving relationship between Cassie and her father which is woven seamlessly throughout the novel.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is available for purchase from Amazon.
Papa, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joose
Beautifully illustrated in watercolour, this children’s picture book features the Maasai people. In it, a father patiently answers his young son’s seemingly endless questions while providing strong reassurance of his unconditional love for him.
Papa, Do You Love Me? is available for purchase from Amazon.