My Papa is a Princess by Doug Cenko

I received My Papa is a Princess, by Doug Cenko, from Blue Manatee Press in exchange for an open and honest review before the holidays, and I knew immediately I’d share it soon into the new year… a picture book about a dad who is everything to his daughter? This book hits close to home in our 2-daughter house.

Then, the American Psychological Association’s guidelines to help doctors improve the health of boys and men came to light, eschewing some aspects of “traditional masculinity,” coincidentally within days of Gillette’s new campaign against “toxic masculinity,” and I felt even more compelled to share this book. Just as we celebrate books featuring empowered, strong women, we should celebrate books featuring gentle, kind men! What I loved most about My Papa is a Princess is that while the Papa does embody some traditionally masculine characteristics (the daughter loves imagining him as a fearless race car driver, and she sees him as a heroic firefighter when he battles an out-of-control grill), he also allows his softer side to shine, like when he braids her hair and plays dress up with her.

If you enjoyed this and are looking for more books that celebrate a wider version of masculinity than is “traditional,” or you want to celebrate the role the father in your house plays in your little girls’ lives, check out:

Books celebrating kind and gentle men:

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets by Kathleen Krull

How to be a Lion by Ed Vere (See my full review here)

The Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty

Tough Boris by Mem Fox

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino

Books celebrating the special relationship between dads and daughters:

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary

Baby Dance by Ann Taylor

Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn

With My Daddy by Jo Witek

Ask Me by Bernard Waber


Publishers target ages 4-8 for My Papa is a Princess, but this is short and quick enough to easily keep the attention of a younger audience, especially if their papas as this special to them!

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