Does your dad love history?
Does he constantly watch the History Channel (probably right now as you’re reading this)? Is he likely qualified to give an (unprompted) lecture on World War II? If so, these books are sure to go over like a perfectly-timed Winston Churchill quote.
This book by Hampton Sides is perfect for the dad who wants to get an account so close he’ll feel like he’s transported. On January 28, 1945, 121 hand-selected U.S. troops slipped behind enemy lines in the Philippines. Their mission: march thirty rugged miles to rescue 513 POWs languishing in a hellish camp. Hampton Sides’s book provides a fast-paced, minute-by-minute narrative of this heroic story that’ll inspire dad.
Reporting World War II: The 75th Anniversary Edition
This Library of America two-volume boxed set gathers the acclaimed collection that evokes an extraordinary period in American history—and in American journalism. In the two authoritative Library of America volumes, there are nearly 200 pieces by 80 writers recording events from Munich to the birth of the nuclear age. If you dad wants the Rolls Royce of histories, this boxed set is perfect!
Gifting Tip: We recommend giving dad one of these books and offering to watch his favorite documentary with him (even if over Zoom). It might be the longest night of your life, but we promise it’ll make your dad happy. Nothing says “I love you” like time together, even if it’s virtual.
Is your dad always fixing stuff?
Is he always telling you (or ideally, teaching you) how things work? Is he probably tinkering with something in the garage right now? If so, these books are a perfect fit.
This book is full of tech and science-driven DIYs for dads and their kiddos to enjoy together. It’s both an amazing and interesting read, and a perfect way to spend a day in quarantine seeking inspiration and learning along the way.
This book is as funny as it is practical. For a walk on the lighter side of the DIY spectrum, this book provides as many hilarious anecdotes as it does weird and wonderful tips and tricks for fixing anything and everything.
Gifting Tip: We recommend pairing one of the above gifts with a DIY project of your own to show him that all his hard work over the years sharing his tricks of the trade have finally paid off. Or, if that’s too much to ask, learn how to change the lightbulbs yourself, but still have Dad over (when you can) to admire your handiwork.
Does your dad live, breathe, eat, and sleep sports?
Is “sports” synonymous with golf? Is he itching to get the “green light” to hit the green this summer? Is there a framed photo of a golf course in his office? If so, these picks are sure to be a hole-in-one!
If your dad has uttered the phrase “green jacket” or “historic delay to October,” he’s probably talking about golf’s preeminent tournament, aptly called The Masters. Steeped in history and tradition, this is much more than a golf match (as Dad well knows). This book by Curtis Sampson outlines the origin story, context, and obstacles to keeping this tradition alive.
If your dad loves golf, he’ll love touching down on some of the sport’s most prolific musings. This collection of short stories is perfect because the short-story format allows for easy-reading in between holes, and is pocket-size to keep his golf bag light.
Gifting Tip: Ok, so this one might be difficult if golfing isn’t your thing. But let dad give you a virtual golf lesson or take you out for a round, if that’s allowed wherever you are. If all else fails, you can ride the cart.
Is your dad a first-time dad or a new grandpa? Do you have a loved one with a little one at home? If so, these books are sure to warm dad’s heart.
I Love Dad with The Very Hungry Caterpillar
If your dad has a nostalgic connection to Eric Carle’s masterpiece, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, he’ll love this paternal twist on an old favorite. Perfect for Father’s Day, it’s sure to delight new dads, grand-dads, and because of it’s universally appealing nature, is even good for your brother-in-law who is impossible to shop for. Start here.
Matthew A. Cherry
This story inspired an Oscar-winning animated short film, but nothing beats hearing the story from your dad’s own voice. A book that’s more about a father’s love than it is about hair, Hair Love will warm your heart.
Gifting Tip: See if your dad is willing to do a (virtual) storytime to share these books with his nephew, niece, or grandchild. Better yet, save it for the first time they’re able to visit in person.
Is your dad the ultimate grillmaster? Is no one else allowed to touch “his baby” in the backyard? Are burgers for dinner the perfect mix of art, science, and manliness? If so, these gifts are sure to light his fire.
Michael Symon's Playing with Fire
Ready, set, GRILL! This book from Michael Symon, who we trust to know his way around a grill, is full of fun tips to help your dad get the most out of his time over the flames this year.
Listen, this guy knows good grill. From the experts of Franklin BBQ in Austin, Texas (yes, we told you they were experts!), this book is filled with everything dad needs to turn up the heat this summer.
Gifting Tip: This one might be obvious, but use one of the recipes in the book to see if dad can show you the ropes on the grill, as soon as you can!
Does your dad have the greenest thumb? Can he diagnose the exact perfect spot to plant the tomatoes this year? Is he suddenly an amateur ornithologist? Is it impossible to keep him inside? If so, these books are sure to suit his fancy…
In addition to being the most admired woman in the world, she basically invented the backyard garden. Michelle Obama’s book about starting the White House garden, growing her love of gardening, and welcoming a nation of gardeners into the story is a must-have for any green-thumbed dad.
The Genius of Birds
Sure, your dad has taken up birding since the lockdown, and he might be able to tell the difference between a Bluejay and an Eastern Bluebird, but does he have insight into what they’re thinking? I didn’t think so. This book by Jennifer Ackerman provides insight to the social complexities of bird life in a way that any bird-lover can appreciate and understand!
Gifting Tip: Pair your book with a socially-distanced hike or birding outing! Birding is actually cool now, so getting a Kirtland’s Warbler on your insta feed is a win-win.
Everything feels different this year. When we’d normally be heading out for weekend get-aways, picnics, and sunlit family time, most of us are still honoring social distancing guidelines and staying put as much as possible. And with Father’s Day coming up (on June 21, by the way) , no matter who you’re celebrating—fathers, grandfathers, husbands, partners, brothers, mentors—this year’s festivities probably look a little different. And like years past, finding the perfect gift is still really difficult! At Read it Forward, we see this as a great opportunity to share the gift of books with your dads, grandpas, and everyone in between. He might not be able to fire up the grill and show off in-person or tell you about that hilarious story about his days on the golf course, but books can open up a world of possibilities for dad.
And one thing we know about dads is that they’re… picky (to put it gently). We’ve put together a selection of books that speak to his varied tastes, and maybe some of his new quarantine hobbies!
Featured image: @darby via Twenty20