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. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

Why did I love 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.

By Harper Lee,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped…

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

Why did I love 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. 

By Ali Stroker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Make Me Stop This Car! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The famed weatherman on NBC's Today show offers a collection of essays, some serious, some humourous, offering his thoughts on parenting and life in general that draw on his experiences as the father of two girls and his own childhood as the oldest of six children. 200,000 first printing.

Book cover of The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Why did I love 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.

By Malcolm X,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Autobiography of Malcolm X as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement…

Book cover of Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood

Why did I love 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.

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Home Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Michael Lewis became a father, he decided to keep a written record of what actually happened immediately after the birth of each of his three children. This book is that record. But it is also something else: maybe the funniest, most unsparing account of ordinary daily household life ever recorded, from the point of view of the man inside. The remarkable thing about this story isn't that Lewis is so unusual. It's that he is so typical. The only wonder is that his wife has allowed him to publish it.

Dad Is Fat

By Jim Gaffigan,

Book cover of Dad Is Fat

Why did I love 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.

By Jim Gaffigan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dad Is Fat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jim Gaffigan never imagined he would have his own kids.

Though he grew up in a large Irish-Catholic family, Jim was satisfied with the nomadic, nocturnal life of a standup comedian, and was content to be "that weird uncle who lives in an apartment by himself in New York that everyone in the family speculates about." But all that changed when he married and found out his wife, Jeannie "is someone who gets pregnant looking at babies."

Five kids later, the comedian whose riffs on everything from Hot Pockets to Jesus have scored millions of hits on YouTube, started to…

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