REQUEST TO READERS: Good books for new fathers to be

From a reader…


Father, my wife and I are expecting our first child, and I wondered if you could recommend any good, solid books for new Catholic fathers please?


Good question.

I’ll open this to the readership.

Meanwhile, I received a good book for the other kind of “new Fathers”.  This is the collection of Ratzinger/Benedict’s sermons on priesthood.  Marvelous.  Get one for your parish priests and seminarians.

Teaching and Learning the Love of God: Being a Priest Today


Also, I recently picked this up for my KINDLE.  I saw it during my visit to the SEAL Museum in Florida.

Of course I fully realize that not all babies are male… but…

Raising Men: Lessons Navy SEALs Learned from Their Training and Taught to Their Sons 


Also, there are a number of great books about appreciating boys as boys.

I can’t imagine the challenges of raising children today.  Surely it has always been hard work.  However, today – being today – it has to be harder now than ever before to raising children.  Especially daughters.  There is so much twisting of reality bombarding them from every direction.  How do parents navigate?  I am sure that many of you have some good tips.

The moderation queue is ON.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. acardnal says:

    Books by James B. Stenson are often recommended. HERE

  2. CradleRevert says:

    I’m partway into The Three Marks of Manhood: How to be Priest, Prophet and King of Your Family, and I already can’t recommend it enough.

  3. hwriggles4 says:

    Years ago I read Strong Fathers Strong Daughters by Dr. Meg Marker. She has another good one that I read titled Boys Shall Be Boys, where she covers how boys are often discouraged today from doing boy things.

    Both are worth a read.

  4. acardnal says:

    More suggestions:

    “Catholic Family Handbook: Time-tested Techniques to Help You Strengthen Your Marriage and Raise Good Kids”, by Fr. Lawrence Lovasi

    “Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons”, by Meg Meeker, M.D.
    She has books on raising daughters, too. Anything by Meeker is very good! I think she’s a Catholic, also.

    “Raising Catholic Children”, by Mary A. Kuharski

    Books by Ray Guarendi, PhD.

    Books by Kimberly Hahn

  5. Spade says:

    At my daughters’s babyshower, her godfather (and my wife and I are godparents to their kid) gave me “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” by Dr. Meg Meeker.

    Highly recommend it.

  6. acardnal says:

    “Lovasi” above should be “Lovasik.”

  7. dcheney says:

    The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett UK HERE US HERE

  8. Jana Parma says:

    I have found Dr Leonard Sax’s books to be very informative. His first book is awesome, Why Gender Matters. He’s counter cultural in that he insists that boys and girls are different on more than an exterior level.

  9. WVC says:

    Ray Guerendi on Discipline that Lasts a Lifetime.


    It’s also important to emphasize that one who has taken on the role of bringing up children in this world now has an obligation to expand one’s own knowledge in order to be a better teacher. Reading the classics (like “Don Quixote” – highly recommended) and studying quality history books (like “A history of the American Revolution” by John Alden) are also important. Beyond that, cultivating a taste for good music (try the movie version of “La Cenorentola” – it’s a lot of fun), and even looking at the classics of film (like Buster Keaton’s “The General”) – there is a LOT out there that is good and edifying and the father can be the door by which it enters into a child’s life. Naturally, concerns for spiritual growth and purity are also vitally important, so going to Confession, reading a spiritual classic, making time to pray . . .etc. – ALL vital elements of being a father.

  10. Aquinas Gal says:

    Every priest should read this book: In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart, the Journal of a Priest at Prayer.
    By an anonymous Benedictine monk. It’s all about Jesus’ love for his priests and the importance of priests adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It’s great for anyone, though, and truly this book is spiritual dynamite. It will blow you away, about the importance of just being present to the Lord.


  11. Herman Joseph says:

    The book “Mary, the Beloved” would be excellent for new fathers, or any fathers! It is for men and women, but for men in a special way: that they come to know Mary better, love her more, and totally Consecrate themselves to her–no one gets anywhere without her. For women there is of course an identification with Mary–how a woman ought to be; for men there is a certain completion and perfection of their manhood, Mary bringing out the best in a man since she is the perfect Woman. For all fathers (of all sorts), we need to love Mary and have an intimate relationship with her if we’re to be true men in a world that becomes more satanic each day. It’s also following in St. Joseph’s footsteps–he was totally united with Jesus because he was totally united with Mary. He’s a model of consecration to her, and loving Mary deeply is also a perfect imitation of Christ! True devotion to Mary=saintliness.

    Not sure how to hyperlink (I tried several times), so here’s the link for the book if anyone’s interested:

  12. Jenson71 says:

    To Kill a Mockingbird

  13. HeatherPA says:

    The best luck I have had in finding solid Catholic books like what the man is asking about is looking for vintage Catholic books on eBay or Amazon marketplace.

    Also, everyone should have a copy of the Baltimore Catechism :)

    Father Daniel Lord, SJ, wrote a ton of pamphlets and “little” books that can be found on Amazon marketplace that are really great and wonderful reads. His so-called children’s book on the Guardian Angels is one of the best things I have read as an adult on Guardian Angels. The artwork is beautiful too. He has a lot of practical “advice” booklets too. Really good, solid Catholic stuff.
    Most of the stuff he wrote is not in active print, but can be found very cheap.

  14. Anthony Esolen’s “Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child” is a remarkably written book. Every parent should read it. It is thoroughly anti-modern in all the best ways, and owing to it’s being written as satire is also marvelously funny and enjoyable.

  15. Nan says:

    Teaching and learning the live of God is on my list. I’m going to add it to my Adoration bag.

  16. monscarmeli says:

    More than any book, the most critical thing is to REALLY live your Catholic faith, confidently, unapologetically, joyfully.

    Pray together as a family, daily, routinely.

    Preserve their innocence by rigorously controlling access to media.

    This forms good spiritual and intellectual habits from the start.

    And you must lead by example.

    Lastly, homeschooling seems to me the only way to truly accomplish this in our time. Otherwise, there’s someone else forming your child for most of the day….

  17. Imrahil says:

    I’m not terribly a fan of “advisory books”, as in: presenting a case how to do some thing in the expectation that people will read it and then do it. Of course, training for a profession is another thing, but as for the basic things such as parenting…

    If so, the Bible and specifically the Books of Proverbs and of Ecclesiasticus come to mind.

    As for the great effort of aut simul et iucund’ et idonea dicere vitae, and maybe with a view to also give them to the children themselves for reading when old enough, works like

    * J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion: Beren and Luthien (obviously),
    * H. J. C. v. Grimmelshausen, Simplicius Simplicissmus,
    * M. Ende, Jim Button I & II (has a very nice father figure, though not actually the father of the protagonist, who is an engine driver and, it seems, almost an engineer – problem is, no. I is only apparently sold in English for astronomical prices and no. II, without which the story isn’t complete, has not been translated at all)
    * O. Preußler, Krabat and the Sorcerer’s Mill,
    * the same, Mr. Klingsor could do a bit of magic, though that is more specifically for teachers rather than fathers (apparently not translated)

  18. Imrahil says:

    (For understanding, let me please footnote the expression:

    Of course, training for a profession is another thing [*], but as for the basic things such as parenting…

    with the explanation:

    * – that is, as Chesterton more or less said, the things unimportant enough to be left to experts – )

  19. HeatherPA says:

    Also, I know it isn’t non fiction, but “A Father’s Tale” by Michael O’Brien is probably one of the best, most moving books I have ever read about Catholic fatherhood. I have reread it and recommend it to everyone I know. It is very long but worth it.


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