- A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
- A 2023 Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor Book
- Winner of the 2022 South African Literary Awards Children's Literature Award
- Honorable mention, 2023 Children's Africana Book Awards
- A Cooperative Children's Book Center 2023 Choices Pick
- From award winning children’s writer Niki Daly, author and illustrator of the Lolo early reader series
Whether it’s jumping in puddles with Tata in the rain, greeting the neighborhood cat on the quiet back streets with Gogo, or holding hands with Mama while rushing to make the bell, walking to school with family is the best. But nothing is better than walking to school with Papa. From high above, resting on Papa’s shoulders, all of the town is in perfect view, and Papa always says “I love you” when he says goodbye.
A sweet ode to fatherhood and the special relationships children share with each member of their family, On My Papa’s Shoulders reminds us that it’s not about where we’re going, but rather the people who walk with us along the way.
"With fluid lines highlighted with primary colors, the art is imbued with the same energy, bringing to life a child-centered world. [...] A wonderful tribute to the father-son bond."—Kirkus Reviews
"[T]his gorgeous, gently humorous book truly does celebrate that father/son bond, but it also celebrates the bond between the boy and the various other members of his family – each one offering something different. One I’d strongly recommend adding to foundation stage collections and to family bookshelves, especially if there’s a child around the school starting age." —Red Reading Hub
"The illustrations are eye-catching, with a warmth of character detail and a thought-provoking sense of space and perspective. [...] A celebration of the bond between fathers and sons this is a great book to read and share." —School Reading List
"A beautifully written book with outstanding illustrations... A heart-warming celebration of family and fathers. I am sure this book will be read and reread many times and will be a firm favourite for all young children on their journeys to school across the world. A great book for home, nursery and library." —Dolphin Booksellers
“A sweetly relatable picturebook with a distinctly South African urban setting.” —The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education
“This is actually a very basic story about a very common activity: walking to school. But the author has brought it across with such care that the simplicity disappears, leaving familiar experiences and tons of good feelings. [...] This is a read to cuddle up with and enjoy, and one that many readers will identify with. It definitely leaves a smile on the face.” — Bookworm for Kids
“A wonderfully heart-warming story of love shown in different ways between a little boy and his family, with their own unique ways of taking him to school, and intimate, uplifting parting gestures. Set in urban South Africa, lyrical storytelling, alongside the beautifully atmospheric illustrations, captures the vibrancy of the places they walk through, whether it's Mama, Gogo, Tata, or Papa's turn to escort him to the school gates. Shining a spotlight on the value of, and joy that, extended family bring into children's everyday lives, this is an amazing book to share with children in early years and foundation stage and key stage 1 to celebrate starting school, family love, and Father's Day.” — The School Librarian
“Illustrated by the masterly Niki Daly, this tender and inclusive picture book celebrating family and fatherhood describes walking to school with four different family members, and the small joys of the journeys. ” —From "The best children’s books of 2022 so far," The Times (UK)
Named one of Brittle Paper's "100 Notable African Books of 2022"
"This is an endearing and heartfelt picture book which celebrates the connection between father and sons, but also the unique bonds that can exist with different family members. The expressive watercolour illustrations and simple, lyrical text capture the specialness that can be found in everyday moments and routines. This is a brilliant book for snuggling down and sharing at home and the backdrop of the daily routine makes it perfect for sharing with children who have just started school." —BookTrust, "New children and teen books we love in December 2022"
A 2023 Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor Book
"[On My Papa's Shoulders] shines a light on loving family relationships during a boy’s daily walks to school, which predictably vary depending on whether Mama, Gogo, Tata, or Papa is accompanying him. The mix of shorter and longer sentences and phrasing creates a wonderful narrative pace that is judiciously adjusted across the story to subtly mirror qualities of each walk." — 2023 Charlotte Zolotow Award Committee
“Remind[s] young readers and their Papas (and Mothers and Gogos and Tatas) that the greatest gifts are routines and security, as well as those daily parting gestures and words to launch a school day with deeply genuine love.” — Unpacking the Power of Picture Books Blog
Honorable mention, 2023 Children's Africana Book Awards
Included in CCBC Choices 2023, the Cooperative Children's Book Center's annual best-of-the-year list
"Loving relationships shine in the routine of a common daily activity. The mix of shorter and longer sentences and phrasing creates a wonderful narrative pace that is judiciously adjusted across the story to subtly mirror the qualities of each walk." — The Cooperative Children's Book Center
"A sweet story that provides a look at middle-class life in an urban South African setting." — Africa Access