The caveat here is that we can also include not only “fathers” but “father figures”. Of course, I have two adopted fathers on my list. Biology does not always a father make. Here are my faves, in no particular order…
Hans Hubermann – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
From the moment he meets Liesel he is kind and loving. Liesel has been left with he and his wife. Her mother is escaping Nazi capture due to her political beliefs, she leaves her daughter with the Huberman’s as a foster daughter, in hopes that she will have a better chance to survive. Hans helps the girl to deal with her fear and inspires her to continue to be a person of morality in the midst of World War II Germany. He is mild and good. He hides a young jewish man in his cellar to protect him from the Nazi police, and teaches Liesel to read. While he isn’t her real father, he is just what she needs.
Atticus Finch – To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Well this is a no-brainer. Is there any better example of a father than this guy? A model of ideals, quiet courage and kindness, he teaches his children how to grow up strong, principled and empathetic. Do yourself a favor and see the movie at least. It’s perfection.
Samuel Hamilton – East of Eden by John Steinbeck
In a novel full of human misery Samuel is a beacon of light and goodness. He is not without his faults. He is an inventor who can’t get a break, a terrible businessman and a little bit of a drinker, but he is also a warm, wise tolerant person who is beloved by everyone who knows him (I can only think of one person who doesn’t and she doesn’t count because she is as close to pure evil as you can get). He, like his biblical namesake, is a prophet. His ability to see the truth about people gives the reader a touchstone to rely on. He pilots his family with kindness and understanding, and his character is said to be based on a family member of the author. Read this book. It’s a long one, but so worth it!
Matthew Cuthbert – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Another adoptive father! He is instantly charmed by Anne. Unlike most people he can see the value of this clever little girl immediately, and wants to do all he can to help her. He buys her first puffed sleeve dress, helps her to deal with her early tempestuous relationship with her adoptive mother, and is a rock of strength to her. For a man who comes on parenting very late in life, he’s a natural.
Arthur Weasley – Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
How this man is able to take care of this whole huge, crazy family, owls, pets, pranks, friends, and battle evil is nothing short of a miracle. The family is an example of fostering an atmosphere of love and acceptance. All while holding down a job that become increasingly fraught with danger but maintaining his personal integrity. He’s pretty terrific.
Well that was fun! I’m sure there are a few I’m forgetting but those are good for now! How many times can I fit Atticus into a Top 5 Wednesday? I think I have a problem. Ha!