In honor of Father’s Day, the Swanky 17ers salute our favorite literary dads! Endearing, brave, wise–these fictional dads remind us all how important fathers are in supporting and shaping their children. From cutting a portal to another universe to buying a “Growbra,” these guys get the job done with strength and humor!
1. Pride and Prejudice‘s Mr. Bennet is adorable. He always puts his daughter’s wishes first before anything.
V.V. Mont, THE ELEMENTALIST, Bookfish, Summer 2017
2. Hans Hubermann in The Book Thief–Liesl’s adopted father–is incredible. He’s such a strong example of love and courage, and the scenes where he teaches her to read at night are so touching and tender. The book wouldn’t be what it is without him, and neither would Leisl.
Kate Watson, SEEKING MANSFIELD, Jolly Fish Press, Spring 2017
3. My favorite fictional father has to be Mr. Murry in A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. I love the father-daughter relationship in that book and how Meg is the one who saves her father, not the other way around. And if it isn’t cheating to include two, I also adore Park’s dad in Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.
Katherine Webber, THE HEARTBEATS OF WING JONES, Random House/Delacorte, March 14, 2017
4. My vote would have to go to William from Danny, The Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. Single working father who manages to be an authority while still ensuring his son gets to be a kid. He also respects Danny enough to believe him when he says his teacher bullied him, AND he listens to Danny’s ideas in their pheasant poaching schemes. Added bonus: they live in an old caravan, which may or may not have inspired a detail of my own novel….
Mary Taranta, SHIMMER AND BURN, Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books, Summer 2017
5. My vote goes to Herb Simon, Margaret’s dad, in Judy Blume’s 1970 classic, ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET. Not only did he leave his old Playboys around the house for Margaret to show to her pals Nancy, Gretchen and Janie, he had the decency to congratulate Margaret on her first bra — a “Growbra” — without cracking up. Respect, Herb!
Melissa Roske, KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN, Charlesbridge, May 2, 2017
6. Lord Asriel in The Golden Compass trilogy gets my vote. What a man: He wants to cut a portal to another universe! His daemon is a kick-ass snow leopard! He’s captured by armoured polar-bears! He rebels against Heaven! No wonder he didn’t have time to be a decent father to Lyra…
Vic James, GILDED CAGE, Random House/DelRey, January 26, 2017
7. Have to give a nod to Eddard Stark for this. There are so many great moments. The way he prepares Bran for the truths of the North. The way he charges Robb to lead in his stead. The quiet understanding of how to parent Arya when he assigns her lessons under Syrio Forel. Even the fierceness with which he protected Jon. Really, Ned was too good for the world of Westeros. But the most impressive thing is how he resonates and echoes for each of his children. His lessons live on because he backed every word with the way he lived. Just a brilliant character.
Scott Reintgen, THE BLACK HOLE OF BROKEN THINGS, Crown Children’s ’17
8. I love Martin Penderwick in the Penderwick series: he’s often absent-minded, but he loves and encourages his daughters in the absence of their mother and he’s warm, funny, and supportive.
Rosalyn Eves, THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, Random House/Knopf, March 2017
9. Brigan from Fire by Kristin Cashore or, taking father loosely, the foster parents/mentors from the Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce because Frostpine and Niko are the best.
Linsey Miller, MASK OF SHADOWS, Sourcebooks Fire, Summer 2017
10. I’m going with Brimstone from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. He’s dangerous (of course he’s dangerous—he’s a demon) but he’s also complicated and kind. And he’s funny. Case in point: This quote.
Tracey Neithercott, GRAY WOLF ISLAND, Random House/Knopf, Fall 2017
11. Charles Ingalls from the Little House books. Log-cabin-building, well-digging, blizzard-surviving, bear-hunting, riot-quelling, fiddle-playing, storytelling, lets-his-19th-century-daughter-know-he’s-proud-of-her-physical-strength-and-toughness, best dad of them all.
Misa Sugiura, IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S A SECRET, HarperCollins/HarperTeen, Spring ’17
12. I pick Sabriel’s father, the Abhorsen Terciel, from Sabriel by Garth Nix. He entrusts her with the dangerous task of defeating Kerrigor, an undead Evil threatening the Old Kingdom, giving her his bandolier of bells (to put the dead to rest), his map, and his sword. He also has this awesome quote in the book: “But now, I live again for only a short time—a hundred hundred heartbeats, no more—and I must win a battle against a terrible enemy.” Father-Daughter necromancers for the win!
Axie Oh, THE AMATERASU PROJECT, Lee & Low Books/Tu Books, Fall 2017
13. I’m a huge fan of Calvin’s dad from Calvin & Hobbes — I love the wry sense of humor in the face of what is quite possibly the most difficult 6-year-old ever to walk the earth!
Jilly Gagnon, #FAMOUS, HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, Summer ’17
14. Can we have it up for Atticus, y’all? To Kill A Mockingbird is a classic and Atticus was the dad I wanted when I was growing up. Let’s just not mention his later literary appearance!
Rebecca Denton, GOING SOLO, Little, Brown/Atom Books, Winter ’17
15. Mo from Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart has always been one of my favourite fictional fathers. He’s so kind, so loving towards his daughter, Meggie, and aside from her, he loves books more than anything. He also has a cool magical power, bringing books to life by reading them aloud, but it’s Meggie who saves him. He’s the perfect kidlit father: strong, but not invincible. It’s twelve-year-old Meggie who saves the day.
Rebecca Christiansen, MAYBE IN PARIS, Sky Pony/Sky Horse, Spring ’17
16. Definitely the Colonel from Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. First of all, he and Mo have the best how-they-found-each-other story, i.e. they were each washed away during a hurricane. Mo was a baby, the Colonel hit his head and lost his memory, but they found each other and became a perfect family (and a perfect crime-solving duo).
Kim Ventrella, THE SKELETON TREE, Scholastic, Fall ’17
17. This one is a no-brainer — it has to be Keith Mars from Veronica Mars! He’s smart, funny and supportive. He’s also one of the best and most interesting characters on a show filled with interesting characters.
Cale Dietrich, LOVE INTEREST, Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, Spring ’17