Daddy Speaks Love

by Leah Henderson (Author) E B Lewis (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A moving tribute to the joy and grounding that fathers bring to their children's lives.

On that very first day,

Bundled in blankets,

You cried to be heard.

"Shh, baby bird, I've got you,"

are Daddy's first words.

What does a daddy do? From day one, this daddy speaks love to his little one. And along with that love, his words and actions speak many other things, too: like truth, joy, comfort, and pride. Like many dads, he answers a million questions and tries to make sure that days are full of fun adventures, giggles, and hugs. Dads are good at scaring away imaginary monsters, and honest about how to confront the real ones too. They set an example for the future, speaking out for equality and justice, while sharing lessons from the past. But most of all, daddies encourage their young ones to fight for a better world, with the comfort of knowing their dads are right beside them.

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Publisher's Weekly

Inspired by six-year-old Gianna Floyd’s words about her father, George Floyd, in the wake of his murder, this picture book centers the loving relationship between fathers and children. Narrating from an unnamed child’s perspective and employing the refrain “Daddy speaks,” Henderson completes the phrase with a range of qualities in turn—love, truth, joy, comfort, learning, and more—using poetic prose. “Daddy speaks FUTURE/ and of history’s long, long past,// for Black lives to matter,/ for compassion,/ and change that will last,” reads a spread featuring a Black child placing a teddy bear beneath a mural of George Floyd. Evocative washes of watercolor by Lewis present realistic portraits of children and parents of varying skin tones participating in indoor and outdoor activities, including hiking in the woods, baking in the kitchen, visiting a museum, and attending a Black Lives Matter rally, effectively depicting a paradigm of fatherhood. Back matter includes an author’s note. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Nancy Paulsen Books
Publication date
January 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV013060 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV039220 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Values & Virtues
Library of Congress categories
Picture books

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