Where are the Dads?
I've been reading a lot of MG and YA fiction recently and am noticing a disturbing trend. Where are the Dads? In book after book, the protagonist's father is absent or dead. Occasionally, the Dad exists, but in such an awful way they're practically villains or downright abusive. I haven't encountered a single YA or MG dad in books recently who is a great father.
As a stay-at-home dad, fatherhood's obviously important to me. But then I realized I'd fallen into the same trope. My newest novel-in-progress has an absent father! I hadn't even realized it until today!
Why do books and Hollywood ignore dads as good caregivers? Many writers seek to prevent gender stereotypes for boys, yet do not show the possility of men as nurturing fathers? How often do we see the cartoonish buffoon struggling to raise kids on screen? Or in novels, how often is the dad simply dead or gone?
Have you read books with strong, caring Dads? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
As an at-home-dad with a theatre background, I enjoy reading picture books to my three-year-old son, and then later acting out the book with him. He loves to read, and enjoys playing out the stories he enjoys most. We've had honey parties with Pooh and Piglet, mischief with Curious George, and a search for Whos with Horton on many specks. Recently, we lined up all his toy dinosaurs and gave them a wash in his toy car wash, based on Down at the Dino Wash Deluxe. We drew a red crayon doorway on our basement wall and pretended to explore the worlds beyond, using crayons to create help- based on Aaron Becker's fantastic wordless Journey trilogy. And we've had multiple trips outside, looking for dragons, inspired by Max's Dragon. He's even started making stories of his own, without prompting. On the way to the library for new books, he told me about a dragon that had passed on his way to the beach- the story had a beginning, middle, and end, and went on a good eight minutes. Maybe he'll be a storyteller like his parents someday. And he's already encouraging his new sister with books; her face lights up every time we all read one together.