It’s Father’s Day in the U.S. and what better time to give all the dads and stepdads and stand-in dads out there a shout out?

You are our non-fiction heroes. Whether you’re coaching disastrous kid sports teams or working overtime or answering the seventeenth “Hey, daddy?” in five minutes, you and your big hearts are my inspiration.

Special thanks to my dad for—among many other things—

  • coaching our soccer teams
  • making our stuffed animals steer the truck
  • chasing us up the basement stairs until we all developed fears of stairs
  • pay day hoagies every Friday
  • introducing me to John Wayne movies
  • cooking dinner every night
  • reading every single one of my books
  • shooting that mean turkey with your slingshot when it was chasing me
  • enjoying excellent novelty t-shirts

And for all you readers out there who are missing a father or a father figure today, I hope warm memories brighten your day ????