William's Doll, written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by William Pene Du Bois, was originally published in 1972. It is the story of a boy who, along with many typically boyish interests, also really wants a doll to play with. His brother and his brother's friend say that this makes William creepy and a sissy, and though his dad doesn't call names, he also tells William that he should really be playing basketball instead.
William practices basketball, and enjoys it, and becomes quite good at it, but it doesn't in any way deter him from wanting the doll. Finally, his grandmother, understanding exactly why a boy might want a doll, goes out and brings him just the one he wants. Then she explains to his father that playing with dolls is what turns little boys into good daddies when they grow up.
The illustrations look a tad on the dated side - the style of clothing, especially, is very 1970's, and the thin blue border around each page reminded of me an elementary school basal reader. But the message still stands strong - being who you are, whoever that is, and liking what you like, whatever that is, is a good thing.
I think the world is a lot more progressive these days, so maybe there aren't as many dads worrying about their sons playing with dolls, but I have no doubt there are still some, and this book does a nice job of both educating parents and validating the feelings of a child in that situation.
Charlotte Zolotow has written over 70 picture books, and from what Google tells me, it looks like she's still alive and approaching her 96th birthday this June! I think her books are starting to become less popular as time goes on, but I love them and would encourage readers to keep reading them!