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A reader asked me for a wholesome book list of picture books that dads would enjoy reading aloud to their children. So I made this list, especially for that. These picture books are my choices for children ages 2 - 9.
An essential element on this list this that these books are wholesome and avoid inappropriate content such as violence, sexual content, witchcraft, etc.
The themes present in the books in this list revolve around good character traits, including kindness, integrity, respect, and the value of hard work.
#1 The Raft: Paperback
Author and illustrator Jim LaMarche tells the story of a boy who thinks his summer with his grandmother will be boring but has an unforgettable summer of discovery.
#2 Big Frank's Fire Truck: Paperback – Picture Book
Big Frank tells young readers all about firefighting and the many other important jobs firefighters do: fire safety training, fire inspection, helping at accident scenes, and more.
It's all in a day's--and night's--work for our firefighting friend and his crew. The detailed full-color illustrations in this paperback book will fascinate readers.
#3 Henry the Explorer: Hardcover – Picture Book
On the night of the blizzard Henry and Laird Angus McAngus (Angus for short) read an exciting book about exploring. And the next morning Henry assembled his equipment for the trip: lunch and flags for claiming all that he planned to discover.
#4 Bartali's Bicycle: The True Story of Gino Bartali, Italy's Secret Hero: Hardcover – Picture Book
An inspiring, true story of Gino Bartali, a beloved Italian cyclist and secret champion in the fight for Jewish lives during World War II.
#5 Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers: The Gospel: Hardcover – Illustrated
Relates the good news of salvation.
The book teaches God-centered theology in simple but precise language and on a level that small children can understand. Featuring charming illustrations, The Gospel makes for a fun but educational read.
#6 Life in the Great Ice Age: Hardcover – Picture Book
After Noah's Flood, the earth and its climate were undergoing drastic changes. The stage has been set for the Great Ice Age. Noah's descendants had to learn how to survive in a strange, often hostile land.
In part one of Life in the Great Ice Age, we'll spend summer with Jabeth and his family as they survive a saber-toothed tiger attack, battler cave bear, and go on a woolly mammoth hunt.
#7 The Carpenter's Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree
This modern classic Christmas story teaches children the spirit of the season by bringing together two great New York City traditions: the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the neighbor-helping-neighbor program of Habitat for Humanity.
#8 The Wall
Read about a little boy and his father visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This is a great book to educate children about the brave soldiers who fought and lost their lives fighting in the Vietnam war.
#9 Wings for Per: Real-life story of a Norwegian pilot during World War II
Initially published in 1944, this is the story of a Norwegian boy growing up pre-WWII who learns about freedom and the value of defending that right, eventually becoming a WWII flyer.
#10 Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Exactly how the unnamed men came to be entombed at Arlington and how their fellow soldiers have come to keep vigil over them is a sobering and powerful tale told by Jeff Gottesfeld and luminously illustrated by Matt Tavares. This tale honors the soldiers who honor the fallen.
#11 The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but he is always alone and never smiles. No one knows about the mementos of his lost wife and child that he keeps in an unopened drawer. But one early winter’s day, a widow and her young son approach him with a gentle request that leads to a joyful miracle.
#12 Miss Suzy
50th Anniversary Edition. Miss Suzy is a little gray squirrel who lives happily in her oak-tree home until some mean red squirrels chase her away.
Poor Miss Suzy is very sad. But soon she finds a beautiful dollhouse and meets a band of brave toy soldiers.
How Miss Suzy and the soldiers help each other makes a gentle, old-fashioned tale that has captured the imaginations of girls and boys alike for more than fifty years.
#13 Owl Moon
A gentle, poetic story that lovingly depicts the special companionship of a young child and her father and humankind's close relationship to the natural world.
Late one winter night a little girl and her father go owling. The trees stand still as statues, and the world is silent as a dream. Whoo-whoo-whoo, the father calls to the mysterious nighttime bird.
Wonderfully complemented by John Schoenherr's soft, exquisite watercolor illustrations, this is a verbal and visual treasure, perfect for reading aloud and sharing at bedtime.
#14 Andy and the Circus
Andy was in town getting a block of ice for his mother’s ice chest, a heavy iron point for his father’s plow, and a bag of horehound candy for Grandpa when he saw the circus poster!
If only he could buy a ticket to see the clowns but “Great snakes, boy,” said Grandpa, “don’t go bothering people for money. If you want a ticket to the circus, go to the circus ground and get yourself a job. They’ll pay you with a ticket to the big show.”
Ellis Credle penned this humorous classic nearly fifty years ago. It’s been delighting readers for generations, while exemplifying the values of self-reliance and kindness to others.
#15 Almost Time
A tender father-and-son story about the passage of time, the arrival of spring, and the excitement of reaching a goal.
Eager for maple syrup, Ethan can’t wait until sugaring time. And he can’t wait till his loose tooth falls out. But his father keeps telling him it’s not time yet, and no matter how hard Ethan tries, he can’t make time pass more quickly.
The closeness of father and son is evident throughout as they wait together and then celebrate the end of waiting.
#16 Construction Site Mission: Demolition
In Construction Site Mission: Demolition!, the construction team we all know and love has an exciting job to do—smashing, crushing, sorting, hauling.-
Ultimately, this picture book is about working together, breaking things down, and cleaning it all up at the end of the day.
Teaches teamwork, perseverance, and how to overcome obstacles—and have fun!
#17 Blaze and the Forest Fire – Paperback
Billy and Blaze race a forest fire in this installment of the classic, beloved Billy and Blaze series from renowned author C.W. Anderson.
Billy and Blaze are more than just friends—they’re heroes! When they spot smoke in the brush, they race through the woods to sound the alarm.
#18 Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Big Surprise - Paperback Picture Book
When Mother leaves to visit an old friend, Snipp, Snapp and Snurr decide to plan a big surprise for her return.
With Nanny's help they decide to get her a new chair. Since they don’t have any money, they earn the chair by working for all the people who help make it.
Mother is so thrilled when she sees her fantastic surprise!
#19 Make Way for McCloskey - Hardcover
A home library is not complete without this classic collection! Full of wonderful stories to captivate ages 3-8...although many older children love these just the same. Reading 'Blueberries for Sal' to my kiddos brings back so many memories of my Grandma reading the same story to me as a child. These wonderfully nostalgic memories must live on!
#20 Little Pilgrims Progress Big Journey: Pilgrim's Progress for Kids: Part 1 & 2 Boxed Set
Follow Christian on his unforgettable journey and help equip your kids to lead a life of faith as they follow the King's path to the Celestial City. This book is made with a heirloom quality cloth hardcover with gold foil print. This is a book meant to last for generations.