As advertisers climb over one another to suggest Father’s Day gifts, it is wise to consider Emily Dickenson’s poem, A Book.

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

The gift of a book is unlike other gifts. Like Dickenson’s poem, it has the power of words to lift the imagination and embolden action. But where does one begin?

If Dad has a penchant for poetry, Favorite Poems Old and New is a rich anthology which includes poems of Wordsworth, Yeats, Blake, Stevenson, and Dickenson’s A Book. However the book that I recommend most frequently, and give most often is Gladys Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart: The Imaginative Use of Literature in Family Life. It is a breathtaking view of the beauty of literature that the role that it can play in the family – replete with an anotated bibliography of great books for children at each age. I have yet to find a more inspiring book that makes reading with my kids a true joy.

Books, great books, have the ability to inspire awe and wonder in a Dad and his children. There are few gifts that should be higher on a gift list.

Honey for a Child's Heart

Graham Scharf is a father of two, and co-founder of He blogs at Essential Questions and produces a podcast series for parents of young children. You can follow him on Twitter @tumblondad.

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