book & film recommendations


Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons  by Tim Russert

"This book is for all fathers, young or old, who can learn from the men in these pages how to get it right, and understand that sometimes it is the little gestures that can make the big difference for your child. For some in this book, the appreciation came later than they would have liked. But as Wisdom of Our Fathers reminds us, it is never too late to embrace it." [from description]



Heroes for My Daughter and Heroes for My Son by Brad Meltzer

A personal note from Brad about the release of his kids non-fiction book, Heroes For My Daughter:


"Six years ago, my heart doubled in size as my daughter was born. And now, six years later, we’re finally releasing my newest non-fiction book — Heroes For My Daughter.


Yes, it’s been a few years since I did Heroes For My Son. And yes, my daughter kept demanding, 'Where the heck’s my book?' But over these past few years, as some of you may know, my mother passed away (after losing her battle with breast cancer). And in the past year, I also lost my Dad and my grandmother. It’s been quite a year. And as I wrote this book, I was forced to look to the world for women (and a few men) who, like my mother, could serve as ideals for my daughter.


As you’ll see, every hero in this book is a fighter. And as I tell my daughter in the introduction: 'No matter what stage of life you’re in, when you want something—no matter how impossible it seems—you need to fight for it. When you believe in something, fight for it. And when you see injustice, fight harder than you’ve ever fought before.'


The heroes I share with her—and with all daughters—run from Rosa Parks, to Christopher Reeve…from Marie Curie to Lucille Ball…from Joan Ganz Cooney, who helped create Sesame Street, to Shelia Spicer, my eighth grade English teacher.


In the end, though, the most important page in here is the last one — because it’s blank. It says 'Your Hero’s Photo Here' and 'Your Hero’s Story Here.' And I promise you, you take a photo of your Mom, or Grandmother, or teacher, or a military member of your family — and you put their picture in here — and write one sentence of what they mean to you — and that will be the most beautiful page in Heroes For My Daughter.


When you’re done, I think you’ll see, because it’s for my daughter…because I lost both my parents in the process…this is the most emotional book I’ve ever written. So thank you for letting me share these heroes with you." [from]



The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

"Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? In alternating narratives, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world." [ description]



Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. [ description]



A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events is a series of 13 children's novels by Lemony Snicket, the pen name of American author Daniel Handler. The books follow the turbulent lives of VioletKlaus, and Sunny Baudelaire. After their parents' death in a fire, the children are placed in the custody of a murderous relative, Count Olaf, who attempts to steal their inheritance and, later, orchestrates numerous disasters with the help of his accomplices as the children attempt to flee. As the plot progresses, the Baudelaires gradually confront further mysteries surrounding their family and deep conspiracies involving a secret society known as V.F.D., with connections to both Olaf and their parents. The series is narrated by Snicket, who dedicates each of his works to his deceased love interest, Beatrice, and often attempts to dissuade the reader from continuing to read the Baudelaires' story. [from Wikipedia]



Father Soldier Son (2020)

The excellent new film, Father Soldier Son, is a Netflix must-watch for military and civilian dads and moms, alike. It may be the most important and poignant piece ever on this difficult topic. The 90-minute documentary provides dramatic evidence for why our AD/DU! work is so important. Father Soldier Son was directed and produced by New York Times reporters Catrin Einhorn and Leslye Davis. It follows the family of Brian Eisch, a Sgt. First Class in the United States Army, and the effects his deployment to the War in Afghanistan have on him and his young sons.

EGG (2018)

An unflinching “dramedy” about why we become mothers and fathers, why we revere these roles, fear them, or delegate them, why some choose to forgo them, and how these roles influence/interact with each other.


My Architect: A Son's Journey (2003)

Director Nathaniel Kahn searches to understand his father, noted architect Louis Kahn, who died bankrupt and alone in 1974. [IMDb description]

Big Fish (2003)

A frustrated son tries to determine the fact from fiction in his dying father's life. [IMDb description]

La Mission (2009)

A single-parent ex-con in a tough, minority neighborhood finds his personal values challenged when he discovers his son is gay. [IMDb description]



Despicable Me (1, 2 & 3)

When a criminal mastermind uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand scheme, he finds their love is profoundly changing him for the better. [DM1 IMDb description]


Just as Gru has given up being super-bad to be a super-dad, the Anti-Villain League recruits him to track down a new criminal mastermind and save the world. Partnered with secret agent Lucy Wilde, Gru, along with the wildly unpredictable Minions, must figure out how to keep his cover while also keeping up with his duties as a father. [DM2 description from MovieGuide]


DM3 continues the story of Gru, Lucy, their adorable daughters, and the Minions.



Star Wars Ep. IV: A New Hope (1977)

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight (Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi), a cocky pilot, a Wookiee, and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader. [IMDb description]


A (seemingly) fatherless Luke forms a "patchwork dad" by teaming with father figures Uncle Owen, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han Solo.



Star Wars Ep. V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca face attack by the Imperial forces and its AT-AT walkers on the ice planet Hoth. While Han and Leia escape in the Millennium Falcon, Luke travels to Dagobah in search of Yoda. Only with the Jedi master's help will Luke survive when the dark side of the Force beckons him into the ultimate duel with Darth Vader.  [IMDb description]


Luke becomes an apprentice to yet another father figure in Jedi Master Yoda, then learns the truth about who his father really is!



A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix Original Series, 2017 and Original Motion Picture 2004)

After the loss of their parents in a mysterious fire, the three Baudelaire children face trials and tribulations attempting to uncover dark family secrets. [IMDb description]


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