For Father’s Day, we asked the staff of the Omaha Public Library to share their favorite books with dads as central characters. Check out their picks below!

1. “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson. "The reflections of John Ames in letters to his young son make you re-examine the beauty that can be found in everyday life and relationships." — Allison Buser, clerk, Charles B. Washington Library

2. "She Rides Shotgun” by Jordan Harper. "In this violent thriller, a girl is picked up from school by her father, who was previously thought to be in prison, and they immediately go on the run. Find out why they are running and what will happen to them in this fast-action novel." — Sydney Groh, practicum student, Charles B. Washington Library

3. “In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall” compiled and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. "This short collection of poetry celebrates African-American fathers and grandfathers and contains beautiful illustrations using a range of materials." — Sydney Groh, practicum student, Charles B. Washington Library

4. “An Excess Male” by Maggie Shen King. "Fatherhood, among other themes, is explored through four character perspectives in a hypothetical near-future China in which 40 million men can’t find wives." — Colby Jenkins, senior clerk, Charles B. Washington Library

5. “I Can’t Breathe” by Matt Taibbi. "Both a father and grandfather, Eric Garner was killed by New York City police in 2014. This piece of literary journalism explores Garner’s life and the events of his killing." — Colby Jenkins, senior clerk, Charles B. Washington Library

6. “A Personal Matter” by Kenzaburo Oë. "This is a raw, semi-autobiographical account of a new father’s internal conflict as he discovers his wife is pregnant with a child with disabilities. Although a relatively short book, the entire novel compresses intense emotional weight into every new development." — Ameen Wahba, clerk, Charles B. Washington Library

7. “Not on Fire, but Burning” by Greg Hrbek. "After a terrorist attack polarizes the country, a man adopts a Muslim child while a young neighbor stews in his own radicalization and xenophobia." — Laura Evans, collections processing clerk, W. Dale Clark Library

8. “If You’re Reading This” by Trent Reedy. "For a responsible 16 year old, Michael Wilson has a lot of problems. His father was killed in Afghanistan in 2005, his overworked and overprotective mother will not talk about their situation and does not want him playing football, and he has suddenly started to receive letters that his father wrote before his death." — Sharon Pflanz, senior clerk, W. Dale Clark Library

9. “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. "This post-apocalyptic novel is grim, but features one of the best father-son relationships in fiction. It tells a beautiful story about the values fathers trust their children to carry on to their children. Set in a world that makes 'Mad Max' and 'The Walking Dead' look cheerful by comparison." — Mark Sorensen, arts & culture librarian, W. Dale Clark Main Library

10. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig. "It probably shows my age (or my dad’s age) but this fictional — philosophical — biographical book is a lifelong favorite that reads a little differently each time. Today it speaks to me as a story about a man confronting mental illness and reconciling his past with his responsibilities as a father." — Mark Sorensen, arts & culture librarian, W. Dale Clark Main Library

11. “A Bully Father: Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children” by Joan Patterson Kerr. "Teddy Roosevelt wore a lot of hats, but he was particularly proud and passionate about his role as father. His extensive correspondence with his children was first published in 1919 and can be found online, but this edition from the mid-1990s has a particularly good introduction and historical supplements." — Mark Sorensen, arts & culture librarian, W. Dale Clark Library

12. “Darth Vader and Son” and “Vader’s Little Princess” by Jeffrey Brown. "These children’s graphic novels imagine Darth Vader as an involved dad to his young children. They are cute and funny titles!" — Katy Lofgren, youth services librarian, Saddlebrook Library

13. “My Dad at the Zoo” by Coralie Saudo. "A young son takes his dad to the zoo in a hilarious story of role reversal. Will Dad ever figure out how to behave?" — Cassandra Nielsen, youth services specialist, Saddlebrook Library

14. “One Second After” series by William R. Forstchen. "This is a well-written series about the trials and tribulations of a father of two daughters after a massive Electro Magnetic Pulse attack. It is a modern-day 'Alas, Babylon.'" — Rodney Moorhead, technology specialist, Omaha Public Library

15. “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold. "After the disappearance of his daughter, Susie, a father obsessively searches for answers as to her whereabouts. As years go by, the vacancy left by Susie’s death causes the family to become untethered from one another. Jack’s search for his daughter becomes as much about his need to understand a world that has left him disoriented as it is about the loss of Susie." — Miranda Morales, library specialist, Omaha Public Library

16. ”Here and Now and Then” by Mike Chen. "Kin Stewart is a time-traveling secret agent from the future who gets stuck in the early 1990s. Almost 18 years later, he’s rescued and brought back to his time where he’s been gone a matter of weeks, not years. The desire to know and even change his daughter’s future drives him to corrupt time itself and sets into motion a government machine focused on eliminating her." — Margaret Petersen, outreach specialist, Omaha Public Library

17. “Dad by My Side” by Soosh. "Beautiful illustrations for very young children about the loving relationship between a father and his little girl." — Aura Sewell, youth services specialist, Abrahams Library

18. “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. "A father and son persevere in the barren landscape of smoldering ashes that is America, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world that is utterly devastated." — Justina Wemhoff, clerk, Sorensen Library

19. “Dead Water” by Ann Cleeves. "Homicide detective Jimmy Perez has become a father through the death of his fiancée, Fran. While still grieving, he gets involved in a local murder case." — Evonne Edgington, manager, Millard Library


This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of the Momaha Magazine.

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Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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