MY FATHER KNOWS by Yusuf Ali  El


by ; illustrated by
Email this review


This picture book, told from the perspective of a man who identifies as Moorish American, celebrates the role of fathers and father figures in their children’s lives

As African-American educator and poet Haki R. Madhubuti states in a foreword, this children’s book “provides us with a necessary primer that puts Black men at the center of working families without negating the critical role of Black women.” The narration, from a child’s point of view, explains in rhyming couplets how fathers are important: They know how to fix things; they teach school subjects, life lessons, manners, morals, and history; they take kids on trips, meet with teachers, and cook meals. In the end, the child concludes, “When I grow up I’m going to be / as good to Father as he’s been to me” and present him with a brand-new truck. El (Thank You and Please, 2017, etc.) writes verse that scans well as it sums up the best qualities of a parent. Although the book may help children appreciate fathers, its true audience may be adults. It starts off with a “Vow of Fatherhood” for a reader to fill in, and the narrator’s statements could be seen as ideals for dads to meet. The expressive, varied illustrations by Carrington (Everything is Wonderful II, 2018, etc.) depict a wide range of black skin tones.

Positive and encouraging—as much for fathers as for children.

ISBN: 978-0-912475-06-6
Page count: 35pp
Publisher: Natural Resources Unlimited, LLC
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:


ChildrenIN DADDY'S ARMS I AM TALL by Angela Johnson
by Angela Johnson
NonfictionBECOMING DAD by Jr. Pitts
by Jr. Pitts
ChildrenMY DADDY RULES THE WORLD by Hope Anita Smith
by Hope Anita Smith