The Bulletin of

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of the Center for Children's Books

The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based booklist available as an online-only Bulletin feature. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.

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Discussions with Dad: A Paternal Dozen

--selected by Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor

Last month we gave you a list of mom-friendly book club suggestions, so this month we’re doing our best to be an equal opportunity provider with a Dad-centric  Dozens. Enjoy.

father dozen

Almond, David Slog’s Dad; illus. by Dave McKean. Candlewick, 2011. Gr. 5-8

After Slog’s dad, the beloved hymn-singing garbage collector of their small English village, finally loses his battle with cancer, Slog spends the spring awaiting his father’s promised return in this wondrous and captivating tale. (BCCB 5/11)


Brandeis, Gayle My Life With the Lincolns. Holt, 2010. Gr. 5-7

When an attempt to save her parents’ failing marriage goes awry, twelve-year-old Mina finds herself in the middle of Chicago’s equal housing movement in this touching coming-of-age story that captures both a moment in history and a moment in adolescence. (BCCB 7/10)


Christopher, Lucy. Flyaway. Chicken House/Scholastic, 2011. Gr. 5-8

Animal lovers will be drawn to this story for the engaging bird rescue story, but they’ll be as equally moved by the skillfully turned human drama that follows thirteen-year-old Isla and her relationship with her ailing father. (BCCB 12/11)


Couloumbis, Audrey Lexie; illus. by Julia Denos. Random House, 2011. 3-6

In this invitingly accessible exploration of family frailties and strengths, ten-year-old Lexie is stunned and disappointed to find that her special vacation by the sea with her father will be shared with his new girlfriend and her two sons. (BCCB 6/11)


de la Peña, Matt.  Mexican WhiteBoy.  Delacorte, 2008.  Gr. 7-10 

Shy Danny Lopez struggles to connect with his Latino father’s family despite his Anglo upbringing, and it looks like his prodigious baseball skills may be the key. (BCCB 10/08)


Frazier, Sundee T. Brendan Buckley’s Sixth-Grade Experiment. Delacorte, 2012. Gr. 4-6

Science geek Brendan Buckley’s is gunning to win the sixth grade science fair, but when he overhears his jock father calling him an “egghead,” he wonders if he shouldn’t be pursing more athletic goals that might finally earn him Dad’s favor. (BCCB 3/12)


Look, Lenore Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters; illus. by LeUyen Pham. Schwartz & Wade, 2009. Gr. 2-4

Anxious primary-grader Alvin Ho isn’t an outdoors kind of guy, so he’s got serious misgivings about a jolly, male-bonding camping trip with his father in this comedic yet sympathetic story. (BCCB 9/09)


Lynch, Chris. Hothouse. HarperTeen, 2010. Gr. 8-12

Russell, whose firefighter father has just died in a conflagration along with his best buddy, finds that the firefighter culture he’s grown up in hides some secrets in this moving story of heroism, community opinion, the evanescence of reputation, and father-son love. (BCCB 10/10)


Meehl, Brian You Don’t Know about Me. Delacorte, 2011. Gr. 7-10

In this stylish contemporary road story inspired by Huckleberry Finn, Billy Albright finds himself on a cross-country treasure hunt for his inheritance from his father, guided by a man who forces Billy to examine his own prejudices. (BCCB 6/11)


Mills, Claudia. How Oliver Olson Changed the World; illus. by Heather Maione. Farrar, 2009. Gr. 2-4

The fate of the ex-planet Pluto and the independence of helicopter-parented third-grader Oliver Olson are brilliantly tied together in this hilarious, perceptive, and understanding story. (BCCB 4/09)


Pérez, Ashley Hope. What Can(t) Wait. Carolrhoda Lab, 2011. Gr. 7-10

Generations clash in this story about Marisa, a gifted student, who struggles to convince her Mexican-immigrant father of the value of her academic goals. (BCCB 4/11)


Vernick, Audrey.  Water Balloon. Clarion, 2011. Gr. 5-8

The painful transitions that often come along with adolescence are portrayed here with startling clarity and tender humor as thirteen-year-old Marley must come to terms with her parents’ separation, her estranged connection to her father, and her disintegrating relationships with her best friends. (BCCB 10/11)


Wallace, Rich. Perpetual Check. Knopf, 2009. Gr. 7-10

Brotherly rivalry and an overbearing father make this account of a chess tournament as taut and compelling as any contest on gridiron or field. (BCCB 4/09)


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This page was last updated on June 1, 2012.