The best books for families dealing with addiction

Who am I?

My name is Craig Melvin and I’m an anchor on NBC’s Today show. I’m also a father to my two young kids, Delano and Sybil. Being a dad is so important to me because when you’re a parent, you’re charged with shaping and molding a solid human being whose empathetic, compassionate, and responsible. I don’t take the responsibility lightly. Of the many jobs I have, it’s the most important.  


I wrote...

Pops: Learning to Be a Son and a Father

By Craig Melvin,

Book cover of Pops: Learning to Be a Son and a Father

What is my book about?

A deeply personal exploration of fatherhood, addiction, and resiliency from Craig Melvin, news anchor of NBC’s Today show. 

For Craig Melvin this book is more an investigation than a memoir. It's an opportunity to better understand his father; to interrogate his family's legacy of addiction and despair but also transformation and redemption; and to explore the challenges facing all dads—including Craig himself, a father of two young children. Pops is the story of all these men—and of the inspiring fathers Craig has met reporting his "Dads Got This Series" on the Today show. Pops is also the story of Craig and Lawrence Melvin's long journey to reconciliation and understanding, and of how all these experiences and encounters have informed Craig's understanding of his own role as a dad. 

The books I picked & why

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To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee,

Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

Why this book?

I chose this book because I think it’s a novel that every dad should read. It’s a staple of American literature, and while I’m sure many of us have read this one before, it’s worth a revisit. The life lessons and words of wisdom that Atticus Finch teaches to his children, such as not judging a book by its cover and the meaning of what true courage is, are what have made this book a classic.


Don't Make Me Stop This Car!

By Ali Stroker,

Book cover of Don't Make Me Stop This Car!

Why this book?

No list of books for Dads would be complete without this one from my buddy, Al Roker. In Don’t Make Me Stop This Car, Al looks at the highs and lows of being a parent. Not only does it have his classic Roker charm and sense of humor, but he also writes about his experiences with infertility treatments and adoption. It’s become a favorite because he’s been a great friend and mentor to me. 


The Autobiography of Malcolm X

By Malcolm X,

Book cover of The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Why this book?

This was the first book that I ever read that wasn’t assigned to me. I read it when I was 13 years old because the movie was about to come out that year and my cousin made me read it. At its core, it’s a story of self-discovery, race, and evolution. It’s filled with lessons that fathers, especially those with children of color, should definitely be teaching to their kids.


Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood

By Michael Lewis,

Book cover of Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood

Why this book?

This book follows a dad’s written record of what happened immediately after each of his three children was born. His retelling of the tantrums and the way that your world becomes turned upside down with young kiddos is captured in a way that’s extremely funny, but also relatable. This book is honest and doesn’t sugarcoat what being a dad is really like.


Dad Is Fat

By Jim Gaffigan,

Book cover of Dad Is Fat

Why this book?

Jim Gaffigan is one of the funniest comedians out there, and he’s always one of our favorite in-studio guests. This book uses Gaffigan’s classic sense of humor to describe what it is like to be a dad to his five children. Beyond being extremely funny and a solid memoir, it reveals the underbelly of fatherhood, as only Jim Gaffigan can.


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