By Reya Mehrotra
The pandemic has taught us the value of relationships and how important it is to take out time for loved ones. As Father’s Day approaches on June 20, we bring you some books that tell heartwarming tales of fatherhood. You can read these yourself, gift them to your dad or read them to your kids this Father’s Day.
Best Seat in the House: 18 Golden Lessons from a Father to his Son
The 2021 book by Don Yaegar and Jack Niklaus gives readers 18 valuable lessons that Jack Niklaus II picked up from his father PGA champion Jack Niklaus, who was popularly called The Golden Bear. Readers get an insight into how Niklaus and his wife Barbara glided smoothly through more than 50 years of marriage, the importance of agreed boundaries and limits in the family, how he taught his son Jack the value of competitors and the need to be connected with one’s legacies.
Missed Translations: Meeting the Immigrant Parents Who Raised Me
American journalist Sopan Deb’s 2020 book talks about his Indian parents settling and raising a family in New Jersey, their nuclear family and backgrounds. The book tells the story of his trip to India to find out more about his familial roots, who they were before they got married. It talks about the dilemma of the Indian diaspora—divided by boundaries but united by blood. Deb discovers some humour and light moments as he uncovers dark family secrets.
A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to my Son
American comedian, writer, actor, director Michael Ian Black’s book A Better Man was published in 2020. A memoir-cum-advice book written as a letter to his son, Black’s book is a refreshing read in today’s time and pulls a stop on toxic masculinity by addressing complex gender issues. It raises pertinent questions—how can we be and raise better men? He talks about his own damaged relationship with his father and how the pressure to be masculine and tough leads to rise in violence.
Dad is Fat
Comedian and author Jim Gaffigan’s 2013 book Dad is Fat is made up of 60 short chapters that read like standup bits. He shares his experience of being the youngest in a family of six children and calls adults ‘giant toddlers’. He writes about the experience of raising his five children with his wife in a small two-bedroom apartment, the everyday chaos, the choice of home births and more. The book turns out to be a hilarious yet honest writing on fatherhood. Pictures of Gaffigan’s family add a personal touch.
A Lucky Man
The 2018 book by Jamel Brinkley unfolds through nine stories where fathers and sons come face to face with the mistakes made in the past and attempt to salvage their relationships with friends and family. In a world shaped by class, race and gender, the book exposes the vulnerabilities of black men and boys. The stories are set in Brooklyn and South Bronx where the author grew up and each centres on two African-American men.
The animated documentary released in 2019 and was directed and written by Matthew Cherry. The 2019 book by Cherry was based on his Oscar-winning short film. The story celebrates the bond between fathers and daughters and the importance of self-confidence. In the story, Zuri knows her hair is beautiful but untamed—it coils and curls all the time. While her mother usually does her hair like Zuri likes it, when her father steps in for a special occasion to do her hairstyle, he must step it up and make it as special as the occasion.
Things my Son Needs to Know about the World
Swedish columnist Fredrik Backman’s 2012 book is a collection of essays about fatherhood that are humorous, emotional and honest. He shares his firsts that caught him off-guard, while revealing his own flaws as a new father and much more. He notes down everything for his son—for him to grow up and face the world, taking cues from his life lessons. Backman has authored several other popular books, including A Man Called Ove (2012), and his books have been translated into more than 25 languages.
Your Baby’s First Word will be Dada
Written by popular anchor, comedian, television host, writer and singer Jimmy Fallon, the book Your Baby’s First Word will be Dada has been inspired by Fallon’s two children. It captures his desire to be his children’s favourite parent. In the book, daddy animals try to make their babies say ‘dada’ as their first word, but fail miserably. He later shares how he called everything at his home ‘dada’ just so his daughter would pick up and learn the word, and how badly he wanted her first word to be ‘dada’.